When employee safety is on the line in certain jobs, flame-resistant (FR) clothing can be the factor that separates a potential hazard from a disaster. FR work clothes are a key part of keeping employees safe, comfortable, and in FR clothing compliance with industry standards. Flame-resistant workwear is made with inherently fire-resistant fabric or flame-retardant-treated (FRT) fabrics that self-extinguish after the ignition source (electric arc, open flame, fumes, etc.) is removed. This prevents serious burns and injury that can occur when non-FR garments are worn.
Jobs that may expose employees to electric arc flash hazards, flash fires, and flammable materials absolutely demand FR garments as a means of employee protection. Let’s look at the jobs that require FR workwear and the types of clothing items each industry uses for full protection.Jobs That Require FR Clothing
It’s clear that flame-resistant workwear is an important factor in workplace safety, but who is required to wear FR clothing? Several jobs require FR protection, including oil and gas workers, electrical utility workers, welders and fabricators, firefighters, and construction workers. Any work setting where an employee might encounter electric arc flashes, flash fires, flammable materials, open flames, or sparks requires flame or arc protection.
These occupations are most commonly at risk for flames, electric arc flashes, sparks, and flammability/combustibility:
- Oil And Gas Industry Workers: Oil and gas (and their fumes) are highly combustible and flammable materials that can catch fire and continually burn. FR work clothes, including balaclavas, bib overalls, and utility pants, can self-extinguish flames from burning oil and gas, preventing employee injury.
- Electrical Utility Workers: The daily risk of dealing with live wires, conductors, high electrical currents, and potentially fatal arc flash makes FR workwear essential for electrical utility workers. Electricians may weld or deal with electrical fires in the line of duty, further underscoring the need for FR garments with an ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value) rating of 8 cal (CAT 2) or higher.
- Welders and Fabricators: Welders and fabricators work with electric arcs (arc welding), flammable gas (gas welding), molten metal, and hot sparks, making FR clothing with a minimum ATPV rating of 8 cal (CAT 2) essential for safety. Welding balaclavas and hoods, long-sleeve FR shirts, and insulated FR gloves are examples.
- Firefighters: Firefighters come into contact with open and uncontrolled flames on a regular basis, sometimes dealing with combustible and flammable materials onsite. FR workwear should meet NFPA 2112 flash fire standards and cover the entire body (FR shell jackets, utility pants, hi-vis coveralls, base layers, etc.) for complete protection.
- Construction Workers: Construction workers work around electrical wiring, combustible and flammable materials, and fire/explosion hazards on the job, making FR work clothes one element necessary to mitigate the risk of burns and serious injury. MWG high-visibility FR hard hat liners, FR utility shirts and pants, and FR base layers are all examples of construction work clothes with compliant protection.
Safety is paramount and making sure the supplied FR garments are durable and effective is also key to avoiding OHSA fines of $600,000 per incident.
Look for the following to ensure the highest quality in your FR workwear for employees:
- Inherent flame-resistant fabrics: Ideal in FR work clothes because they offer powerful performance, comfort, and enhanced durability for long-term wear. MWG Apparel offers several lines of inherent FR fabrics for superior comfort and performance.
- Third-party testing: Ensures garments, fabrics, and layered combinations are compliant with industry standards. All MWG Apparel products are tested by the textile research industry leader, Aitex.
- High-visibility: Essential for some industries, like firefighting, construction, and mining, to increase visibility with fluorescent orange, yellow, or red. MWG offers a wide range of high-vis orange FR options for increased protection.
- Comfortable wear: An important element of selecting FR workwear, as employee compliance may hinge on how comfortable and wearable a garment is. MWG products prioritize comfort, breathability, and moisture-wicking properties to keep workers comfortable and cool.
- Brand reliability: MWG Apparel is an established brand that meets or exceeds all industry PPE standards, has been around for nearly a century, and supplies organizations like the Canadian Department of National Defence. This affords your organization an added element of security and confidence in FR workwear quality.
MWG Apparel designs, manufactures, and distributes the highest quality CGSB-certified FR work clothes for tough working environments. Custom-order garments and workwear that meet your organization's needs with one or multiple standards using our simple online dashboard and deliver the best protection to your hard-working crew.Are you in search of the finest FR apparel available? Explore our extensive range of high-quality flame-resistant clothing, ideal for any occupational role.