Layering Guide for FR Clothing: The Outer Layer

Tyndale Insulated Duck Vest (K690T)

This is the third post in a series covering how to layer FR clothing during colder months. Previously, we covered inner FR layers and the cold stress hazards workers face during winter months. Next we will explore the final, or waterproof, layer of FR.

Today, advancements in cold weather FR apparel are making safety and compliance easier than ever. You might think that more clothing layers means that you’ll be warmer during the winter, but is this true?

We’ve covered tips on the inner layer of FR, or clothing that’s worn against the skin. Below we cover what to wear as the outer FR layer that will provide you not only warmth and insulation, but also an added layer of flame resistant protection.

How Best to Layer FR

Since the inner layer of FR clothing is meant to keep you dry, the outer layer should focus on added warmth and insulation against the cold. Dressing in removable layers helps in regulating your body temperature while doing physically stressful work. Loose layers provide insulation whereas tight outer layers on top of an inner layer can constrict blood circulation to your extremities.

As we touched on, wearing an FR outer layer over a non-FR inner layer (or vice versa) does not provide adequate protection. Wearing a bulky FR jacket over a non-FR shirt or bottom layer simply provides the wearer a false sense of security. Outerwear must be flame resistant since flammable outerwear can ignite and continue to burn, essentially eliminating the protection of flame resistant clothing worn underneath.

Outer Layer Option: FR Vests 

Progress has been made over the past few years related to worker comfort. In the minds of a wearer, insulation has a direct correlation to weight. Vests are a great example of a versatile FR garment that meet standards compliance but are an option to keep workers comfortable yet warm. FR vests provide significant flexibility on top of FR shirts/sweatshirts or under outerwear to combine comfort with protection throughout a cold day.

Management’s Responsibility

Using the right FR clothing in the right conditions ensures that you can do your job warmly and safely. However, promoting FR layering to a workforce does require safety professionals to educate their workers on the standards requirements for all layers to achieve compliance and to regularly monitor all the FR layers in a worker’s outfit.

More FR Outer Layer Options

Check back for information on wearing a final, waterproof layer of FR clothing or click here to see our previous post on inner FR layers. Stay tuned for more information on the Tyndale Chore Coat (K650T)!


  1. Dan says:

    Who does the testing to see what ATPV the layered garments provide?

    I didn’t believe Tyndale was a manufacturer; therefore who does the testing of layered garments?

    • tyndaleusa says:

      Hi Dan,
      As you point out, OSHA has made it clear that simply adding individual layer ratings is not adequate. Instead, the garment combination should be arc tested together to determine the layered arc rating. Layered arc tests are completed by certified third-party labs. Many manufacturers maintain layered arc testing data and can recommend tested garment combinations upon request. As both a manufacturer and a distributor, Tyndale has records of layered arc testing data as conducted by Tyndale, other customers or suppliers and data that is publicly available. However, there are hundreds of possible layering combinations in the marketplace; because of the costs associated with testing, no supplier will be able to offer data for every layered combination possible.

      In the absence of a layered arc test for the specific combination of FR garments you plan to wear: make sure all of your layers are FR and ensure at least one of your individual layers meets or exceeds the incident energy calculation for the task you plan to complete.

      Have a safe day!

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