Layered Protection: How Fire-Resistant Outerwear Enhances Workplace Safety
For firefighters, utility workers, and others who do dangerous work in hazardous environments, fire-resistant outerwear is an essential miracle. It allows them to handle emergencies and save lives with the necessary protection they need, and to be comfortable on the job as well.
To fully understand the role of this kind of clothing, it’s essential to know how it works. Several important concepts are used in flame-resistant outerwear to achieve complete workplace safety, and the use of layers is one of the most significant. What follows is a breakdown of layering as it is applied in FR outerwear, especially in clothing supplied by companies like MWG Apparel.
Understanding Fire-Resistant Outerwear
To put it simply, fire-resistant clothing is any kind of outerwear designed to extinguish and remove any sources of fire while working in a hazardous situation. The source may be an actual flame or an electrical arc, and the first goal of FR outerwear is to remove it, with a secondary goal of preventing potential injury from clothes that are worn against the wearer’s skin. At MWG Apparel, we specialize in high quality, comfortable fr clothing.
FR clothing used can be used in layers to provide temperature protection while delivering a measurable thermal energy value for the amount of heat required to cause a second-degree burn through the fabric. Based on that number, essential layers can then be used to provide a specific level of protection.
Advantages of Layered FR Outerwear
Layering provides several advantages in hazardous environments where exposure to flames and arcing is a basic concern related to workplace safety.
One of the biggest advantages is that wearers have choices for their preferred level of protection. Every piece of outerwear provided by companies like MWG Apparel comes with a specific protection rating, and these ratings can be used to combine multiple layers in the most effective way possible. In some instances, other types of fabrics can be used to increase the amount of protection.
To get an idea of how this works, let’s consider a specific example where we work from the outside in to get flame-resistant clothing layers. In a welding environment, for instance, the outer layer might start with a jacket or coveralls that contain heavy-duty materials that are flame resistant, with reinforced seams added for durability. This provides protection from common welding accidents like splatter.
The middle layer would consist of an FR shirt and pants. The goal of this layer is to add basic protection against the kinds of sparks, flames, and heat generated during welding. The base layer, meanwhile, would consist of an FR layer that also provides moisture wicking so that our welder can stay comfortable on the job.
Tips for Selecting and Layering FR Outerwear
The methodology for selecting effective FR outerwear varies according to the environment and the degree of protection desired, but there are certain elements that are common to the process.
- Select clothing based on a worst-case exposure for a given task, and specify the exact level of protection accordingly.
- All flame-resistant outerwear must be fully functional, and that includes fit. All garments should be fully fastened so that the specified level of protection is ensured.
- Outerwear must be flame resistant, and appropriate protection of different body areas like the neck, eyes, hands, and feet should be included as well.
- Undergarments worn against the skin should either be fire-resistant or consist of fibers that are 100 percent natural, e.g., cotton, wool, or silk.
To get an idea of the available products, Explore MWG Apparel's FR outerwear products.