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Think You Know FR Clothing? Think Again

FR clothingIf you think flame resistant (FR) clothing is by necessity thick, stiff and uncomfortable, think again. Today, innovations in fabric manufacturing has made FR clothes virtually indistinguishable from regular street clothes.

What is FR Clothing?

But before we get into how FR clothing has changed, let’s review what it is. Contrary to common belief, FR clothing isn’t flame proof. You can’t, for example, put on FR clothing and expect to emerge unscathed from a fire.

However, FR clothing is flame resistant, which means it won’t burn once a flame source is removed. This self-extinguishing property is important because most injuries from flash and arc fires result from the burning of clothing.

Changing Regulatory Environment

Over the past few years, a stricter regulatory environment has pushed manufacturers to develop new and improved fabrics and construction methods for fire resistant clothing.

For example, the initial phase of 29 CFR 1910 269 Electrical Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution standard took effect in July 2014. This standard requires utility employees to wear FR clothing when there’s a risk of garment ignition. This rule added to the growing market for comfortable, breathable fire resistant clothing—in this case to outfit a workforce accustomed (in some workplaces) to wearing short sleeves and denim jeans. (For more on this standard, see the article New OSHA Rule Could Fuel FR Growth.)

For more details on regulations, performance specifications and testing of FR clothing, see What You Need to Know About Flame-Resistant Clothing in ISHN.

FR Clothing Advancements

While we’ve seen many improvements, fire resistant clothing has advanced the most in three key areas:

  1. Comfort
  2. Durability
  3. Design.

Comfort

Comfort is important to maximize compliance. Even the most dedicated worker will hesitate to don fire resistant clothing if it makes his or her job more difficult.

Thankfully, fire resistant clothing today is lighter, softer, thinner and more breathable than ever before. Part of the increase in comfort is because the clothing has become specialized. Most is designed to protect against certain types of flame hazards, not all. This means that, as an employer, you have to conduct a workplace hazard assessment to understand what kinds of FR clothing your workers need.

Durability

FR clothing today is more durable than ever before. Not too many years ago, fire resistant clothing became less flame resistant with repeated laundering. Today, most clothing will last for years as long as care and laundering instructions are followed.

Design

The most obvious change to FR clothing has been design. Today, some styles are virtually indistinguishable from street wear. Style might seem like a minor point when it comes to protective clothing, but anything that improves compliance is a good thing.

FR Clothing at Select Safety Sales

At Select Safety Sales, we’re proud to carry FR clothing from two outstanding manufacturers: Rasco and Saf-Tech. Rasco FR clothing meets NFPA Standard 2112-2012 and remains compliant even after 100 washes. All Saf-Tech FR clothing meets and exceeds government standards and specifications, including NFPA, ASTM and OSHA. Much of our FR clothing ships for free, making it even more affordable.

If you’d like more information about our FR clothing, contact our safety experts at (866) 864-3495 or sales@selectsafetysales.com. Or try our online chat function!

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