What to Consider Before Purchasing FR Clothing for Employees

Ensuring your employees are supplied with the proper flame-resistant clothing requires careful consideration and a clear understanding of the many types of FR apparel and protection levels available. We’ll show you the essential factors to consider when choosing FR clothing for your facility and help you make an informed decision that keeps your employees safe, compliant, and comfortable on the job.

5 Factors to Consider Before Purchasing FR Clothing for Employees

Purchasing FR clothing for workplace safety is a hefty responsibility that must consider several factors: clothing cost, quality, industry-specific needs, and more. Let’s look at 5 factors every facility should consider before purchasing bulk FR clothing.

1. Cost

Whether you’re looking at men’s FR clothing, FR clothing for women, or both, the cost is a major consideration for your facility. The cost varies widely between different bulk FR clothing suppliers, but here’s what you can expect to pay for quality flame-resistant clothing:

  • FR base layers: $40-$120
  • FR shirts: $60-$140
  • FR pants: $80-$340
  • FR outerwear: $120-$880
2. Clothing Quality

Purchasing the highest quality FR clothing for employees should be a priority. Always look for third-party-tested apparel that meets or exceeds national and industry standards, is designed with durable fabric that lasts, and is engineered for comfort and safety.

Does OSHA require employers to provide FR clothing? OSHA’s OSH Act requires employers to provide, pay, or issue a stipend for employee FR apparel, which is now considered personal protective equipment (PPE). The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) does not necessarily require employers to pay for FR clothing -- it must be provided, but that can be at a cost to the employee.

Are employers required to provide laundering services for flame-retardant clothing? No, but employers must train workers on proper FR clothing maintenance. The CCOHS states that workers should be trained on how to launder, decontaminate, or clean the apparel properly with clear laundering or dry-cleaning instructions provided in training manuals or procedures.

With that in mind, how do you know if clothes are fire-resistant? FR clothing will always be marked with special labels that indicate the performance level and fabric used. ASTM F1506 and CSA Z462 standards require the arc rating, fabric identifier, and tracking code to be clearly labeled on employee garments. You can’t purchase FR clothing just anywhere. Look for a company like MWG Apparel that specializes in manufacturing and supplying FR workwear.

3. Industry-Specific Needs

Your industry might require waterproof, ripstop, or cold-weather FR clothing for employees to work in enhanced safety, compliance, and comfort. Taking your industry-specific needs into account can help point you in the right direction when preparing to purchase flame-resistant clothing.

An incident energy or arc flash analysis, usually done by a trained engineer, will determine what category or level of FR or arc-rated (AR) protection employees need to work with certain equipment or on specific jobs. Consider the PPE categories 1-4, according to the needed Arc Thermal Protective Value (ATPV):

  • CAT 1: FR shirt + pant OR coverall (4+ cal/cm2)
  • CAT 2: FR shirt +pant OR coverall + hood OR face shield + balaclava (8+ cal/cm2)
  • CAT 3: FR shirt + pant OR coverall + FR hood (25+ cal/cm2)
  • CAT 4: FR shirt + pant OR coverall OR arc flash suit + FR hood (40+ cal/cm2)
4. Shipping Logistics

Shipping employee FR clothing to your facility is another consideration. Companies like MWG Apparel offer corporate programs that simplify standard-compliant design, ordering, and shipping processes for employee workwear and ship orders in just 4-7 business days, ensuring the apparel arrives quickly for employee use.

We recommend taking advantage of streamlined, full-service programs like the MWG Apparel Corporate Safety Apparel Program to handle the design and distribution of custom or industry-specific FR clothing with a single point of contact and a responsive design team that makes the process effortless.

5. Customer Experience

Dealing with FR clothing suppliers should be convenient and simple - with dedicated experts who can guide you through custom design, standard compliance, and workwear recommendations for your facility. It’s the ideal way to source men’s FR clothing, FR clothing for women, FR outerwear, and/or accessories for your facility.

Choose a company that offers a centralized dashboard where you can monitor each step of the custom design, ordering, and shipping process. This is precisely what MWG Apparel offers through the Corporate Safety Apparel Program. You’ll have our safety experts and skilled design team on hand to answer questions, offer suggestions, and help outfit your employees in safety-focused workwear that’s always in compliance.

Check out our comprehensive selection of FR clothing options offered at MWG Apparel, complete with our corporate program, and allow our team to assist you in finding the ideal solutions tailored to your specific requirements.
Back to blog