Why FR Clothing Is Important

Why FR Clothing Is Important

Oftentimes, workers, employees, and supervisors can be exposed to open flames, extreme heat, sparks, explosive materials, flammable materials, and combustible materials during the course of work. They can also experience something called “arc flash” or “arc fire” which can directly or indirectly cause a garment fire that could result in a serious injury or even death. During cases such as these, where worker safety should be first priority over any expenses or labor that could prevent such an event from happening, workers should be wearing FR clothing, or flame resistant clothing.  The most significant burns workers experience are usually not even caused by the original hazard itself, but by workers’ clothing igniting and continuing to burn while the fire is being put out. A majority of serious burns from industrial mishaps come from workers who were wearing normal work clothing and their clothes caught fire and burned the workers’ backs. Simply wearing FR clothing can prevent instances like this from happening. FR clothing does not ignite and it does not burn. Actually, even a SINGLE layer of FR clothing can significantly reduce the damage caused by any fire or explosion in the workplace.

In the event of a fire or explosion occurring, FR clothing acts as insurance for the wearer. Obviously, if you are caught in or near a fire, there is always the risk of burns or injuries, but by wearing FR clothes, the wearer will dramatically reduce the severity of their injuries. Also, because FR clothing doesn’t ignite or burn, the wearer will have more time than usual to escape the threat and save themselves from injury or even death. Many survivors of burns or explosions in the workplace consider the burn injury treatment to actually be worse than the burn itself. Treatment and recovery for burns is extremely painful and can take months and even years for a full recovery. Also, the costs of a serious burn can be staggering. Burn injury costs can include medical expenses, prolonged recovery and rehabilitation expenses, job retraining expenses, and possibly even disability expenses.

fr clothing

Unfortunately, some burn victims have been burned so badly that they will never live a normal life again. Don’t let one of your employees suffer such terrible consequences. The cost to implement an entire FR clothing program far outweighs the costs associated with burn victims and the effect it will have on your company’s morale and your company’s safety record. In fact, one SINGLE burn injury can cost more than a complete FR clothing program, so don’t skimp when it comes to protecting your employees. An electric utility company actually experienced this and found that one single burn injury WITHOUT FR clothing being worn can cost upwards of $2 million, while the same burn injury would only cost around $50,000 if the person had been wearing FR clothing. The same utility company actually had this happen to them with and without FR clothing. The employee who suffered burns without FR clothing never returned to work again. The employee that WAS wearing FR clothing missed minimal work time. So not only did the FR clothing save the company millions of dollars, but it also saved man labor.

Not only is FR clothing smart for both companies and employees alike, but it is also required by OSHA that workers be wearing flame resistant clothing when operating around identified threats such as arc flashes or flash fires. The OSHA general duty clause reads:

“Each employer (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

It should be noted that OSHA identifies arc flashes and flash fires as recognized hazards.

By now this should not even be a decision for you. FR clothing is imperative to the safety of your workers, employees, and supervisors. It is also extremely important in protecting your company’s safety record as well as its financial bottom line. Without an FR clothing program implemented, you are simply just asking for trouble. Not only that, just the fact that you would be putting the lives of your workers in danger without a FR clothing program is gross negligence of their safety. Don’t be one of those companies. Take action to protect your employees, the decision could prevent more injuries and save more lives than you realize.

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About The Author
Brett Gordon is a writer for Safety Partners, LTD.

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