It’s clear that arc-rated flame resistant (FR) clothing – shirts, pants and outerwear – is necessary to protect against hazards on-the-job for those that risk exposure to arc flash or flash fire in their everyday work environments.
But what about what you wear underneath, what’s next to your skin? How important is that?
It’s vitally important! Here’s why:
The rules for what to wear under FRC prohibit meltable fibers and fabrics, but allow non-melting but flammable fabrics such as cotton, silk and wool¹. These fabrics eliminate half the problem (melting), but not the other half—potential ignition of a flammable underlayer. In the event the wearer is unexpectedly exposed to a thermal hazard that exceeds the level of protection afforded by the FR clothing, the base layer could come into play – with the potential, depending on the type of base layer, to impact overall protection. What’s best practice?
So, stay safe – wear FR or 100% natural fiber base layers to accompany your FR outerwear and daily wear!
¹From NFPA 70E, section 130.7 (C) (12) (a).
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