What is Flame Resistant Clothing, and Why Do You Need It?

If you work in an industry where fire or electric arcs are a threat, you want to do everything you can to protect yourself. Flame resistant clothing (FR) was created to do just that. This solution to one of the most serious employee hazards is known as personal protective equipment (PPE)—and if you work at a job that carries this danger, your employer is required to provide it at no cost to you.

You may be curious about what conditions demand this protective gear or what qualifies as FR clothing. Or maybe you’re an employer wondering where to buy FR clothing near me. Here’s everything you need to know, from flame resistant coveralls to FR laws and regulations.

What Do Flame Resistant Coveralls Protect Workers From?

For workers in the electric power industry,  arc blasts or flash hazards can be hotter than the surface of the sun. Injuries can range from broken bones, blindness and hearing loss to minor or severe burns, memory loss, and even death. The flame resistant clothing you wear can make a huge difference in the severity of the injury.

What Qualifies as FR Clothing or Fire Retardant Coveralls?

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) FR clothing, such as flame resistant coveralls, are made from 100 percent wool or cotton and comply with the “269” standard. This means the materials will not ignite (and continue to burn) under the electric arc and flame conditions you’re exposed to. It’s crucial for you to care for your FR clothing exactly as instructed by the manufacturer. The employer is responsible for ensuring that laundering does not compromise the protective elements of the clothing, and any damages require special repairs.

Why and Where to Buy FR Clothing Near Me

If you’re an employer, developing a complete safety management program is the only way to effectively protect your team, thereby increasing productivity, profitability, and engagement.

OSHA requires that employees wear an outer layer of flame resistant clothing (except for certain head, hands and feet apparel) under any of the following conditions:

  • The employee is exposed to contact with energized circuit parts operating at more than 600 volts
  • An electric arc could ignite flammable material in the work area that, in turn, could ignite the employee’s clothing
  • Molten metal or electric arcs from faulted conductors in the work area could ignite the employee’s clothing
  • The incident heat energy estimate exceeds 2.0 cal/cm2

Unless your employer has sent you off with the company card to find and buy your own fire retardant coveralls, the employer will provide them directly. If you’re that employer searching “where to guy FR clothing near me” you’re taking the right steps, not only for safety of your employees, but for your bottom line, too. You can find FR apparel at your local outdoor sporting goods store such as Hesselson’s.