PPE in High-Risk Work Environments: A Guide to Fire-Resistant Clothing

by Emilia Dudova, on Dec 14, 2023 10:31:42 AM

Oil & GAs

Fire-resistant clothing is crucial for safeguarding individuals who work in environments with high risks of fire or explosive hazards. This type of clothing is designed to resist ignition and prevent the spread of flames, providing vital protection to workers exposed to flammables.  Let's cover different types of fire-resistant clothing, their advantages and disadvantages, the importance of wearing them on worksites, and the responsibility of employers in providing this FR gear. 

Types of Fire-Resistant Clothing

1. Nomex® Garments:

Advantages: Nomex® is renowned for its excellent thermal, chemical, and radiation resistance. It's lightweight and comfortable, making it ideal for extended wear.

Disadvantages: It can be more expensive than other materials and might not provide the same level of comfort as cotton-based FR fabrics.

2. Proban®/FR Cotton:

Advantages: These are cotton fabrics treated with a fire-retardant chemical. They offer comfort similar to regular cotton and are more affordable than synthetic alternatives.

Disadvantages: The fire-retardant treatment can wash out over time, reducing its effectiveness. Also, it may not provide as high a level of protection as synthetic materials.

3. Modacrylic Fabrics:

Advantages: These offer excellent flame resistance and are often blended with other fibers for improved comfort and durability.

Disadvantages: They can be less breathable than natural fibers, and the cost can be higher compared to treated cotton fabrics.

4. Kevlar® Blends:

Advantages: Known for their high strength and heat resistance, Kevlar® blends are often used in applications requiring cut and abrasion resistance in addition to fire resistance.

Disadvantages: They can be more expensive and less comfortable due to their stiffness and weight.

Benefits of Wearing FR Clothing on a Worksite

The primary advantage of FR clothing is its ability to protect the wearer from severe burns and injuries caused by exposure to flames and heat. This is particularly crucial in industries such as oil and gas, petrochemicals, electrical, and welding, where the risk of flash fires and explosions is high.

FR clothing is also designed to withstand harsh conditions and repeated washing without losing its protective properties. This durability makes it a cost-effective option in the long run, despite the initial higher cost compared to regular workwear.

Modern FR clothing is designed to be as comfortable and versatile as regular workwear, ensuring that safety does not come at the cost of comfort or ease of movement.

Employer's Responsibility for PPE

Employers have a legal and ethical responsibility to ensure the safety of their workers. Failure to provide appropriate personal protective equipment can lead to severe legal consequences and can jeopardize the safety and well-being of the workforce.

Introducing Dragon Hooks

Screenshot 2023-12-14 at 10.23.07 AM

Irwin's Safety has recently brought an innovative addition to fire-resistant clothing for various industries. Our CSA Class 2 patented FR coveralls Dragon Hooks are equipped with unique loops on the shoulders attached to a built-in harness. These loops prove a quick and secure method of extracting unconscious workers and address safety challenges faced with traditional rescue methods equipped with regular FR clothing.

About IRWIN'S Safety

At Irwin’s Safety, “we’re powering the workforce for the future of energy”. Contact us today to identify the long-term value we can bring to your organization. More →

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