Flame resistant (FR) clothing is designed as a means or protection against potentially fatal flash fire and arc flash environments. The main source of fatal and serious burn injuries are usually due to the igniting of an individual’s clothing. Flame resistant clothing allows precious time for the person wearing the clothes and also helps to prevent clothing ignition. Keep in mind, no garment of fabric exists to provide 100% protection; however, high quality flame resistant clothing will lower the risk of injury and death.
The terminology behind personal protective clothing can become complicated when determining the differences. The term FR (Flame-Resistant) is fabric or garments that will actually self extinguish when the source of the ignition has been removed. Flame-Retardant on the other hand is a term associated with a chemical that imparts the flame-resistance of a fabric. The important part of the FR clothing is that it does not continue to burn in open air which reduces the length of time the victim is exposed to flame; therefore, the extent of an injury is lessened. Remember, most victims of arc flash and fire injuries are injured from clothing continuing to burn.
Because of the importance of Flame Resistant clothing, the NFPA has a high level of standards and specifications for garments. The NFPA is a third party organization which provides the template for decision makers to more easily comply with the terms set forth by the OSHA. We were recently asked, “What is the best FR fabric available?” This question does not have an exact answer. FR clothing allows the wearer time during a flash fire situation or arc flash but cannot take into account other variables. These other variables include body temperature, working distance from the heat source and humidity levels. What we can be sure of is that FR clothing provides comfort and can greatly reduce injury levels.
Many types of flame resistant clothing exist and it can be overwhelming to know how to pick the right clothing to fit your needs. The first step to take is identifying the potential hazard. Then, identify industry consensus standards for the exposure. Next, choose the fabric that will best suit your needs. Two main types of fabrics exist in FR resistant clothing. The first is a FR Cotton and Cotton Blend; this type of clothing can be a lot more comfortable because of increased breathability and low moisture. The downside of this fabric is in the length of garment life because cotton blend fabrics are more cost-effective. Aramid fibers are a type of fabric that is synthetic (man made), has an increased wearer life over cotton blends, but is less comfortable due to the texture.
The clothing we offer meets all requirements and specifications of the OSHA, but remember different levels of protection exist. Always choose FR clothing with protection levels commensurate with the level of risk and be sure to evaluate environment, temperature and application use. With dozens of blends and choices available, you should evaluate every aspect of your program and decide which particular item will provide you with the best overall value. All of the fabrics we use for manufacturing clothing provide a high level of protection, a high comfort level and an unbeatable price.
We were recently asked if there is a difference between Inherent and treated Flame-Resistant Fibers and fabrics. Flame-Resistant fibers/fabrics that are inherent comes as a result of the manufacturing process of synthetic textiles such as Nomex IIIA® and PBI Gold®. Treated fibers and fabrics have a flame-retardant chemical that is applied to the fabric resulting in the flame resistance. Both types have an equal durability.
Flame resistant clothing can be the difference between a minor burn and a life threatening injury. The applications of this clothing are widespread and include electrical, chemical, oil, gas, petrochemical, military, auto racing, and firefighting industries to name a few. We stand strongly behind our flame resistant clothing, and are confident it will provide a high level of protection along with a long lasting durability. We offer many sizes, colors and styles, all of which are manufactured in the U.S.A. We are proud to be your source for this line of flame resistant workwear. Each item will stand up to the high quality you deserve and expect from Texso Instruments.