We all know that FR clothing provides protection from arc flash and flash fire hazards. However, situations where your primary FR clothing may become heavily soaked in oil or covered in excessive dirt may cause unsafe conditions in which your primary FR clothing should no longer be worn. Disposable FR coveralls provide cost-effective protection that preserve the useful life of a worker’s primary FR. This ensures that the FRC will perform as expected in the event of an arc flash or flash fire incident.
Washing heavily soiled and dirtied garments simply isn’t practical in some cases and such garments are dangerous to wear if stains can’t be completely removed. Disposable FR coveralls are intended to be the first barrier against oil, grease, and dirt, covering primary FR garments worn underneath. FR disposable coveralls are useful in virtually any application – ranging from electric utilities (such as electric generation or linework) to oil and gas (including drilling, fracking, refining, and natural gas transmission) – where workers face arc flash or flash fire risks while simultaneously handling chemicals or flammable substances on the job.
NFPA 2113 is a standard for industrial personnel facing flash fire hazards that outlines care, use, storage, and maintenance of FR garments. In this standard, OSHA warns that “soiling can reduce the protective qualities” of a garment and may increase the risk of body burn (NFPA 2113 A.6.1.1). When primary PPE could become heavily soiled and difficult to clean, disposable FR coveralls can be worn and easily removed, ensuring workers’ primary FRC remains clean enough to continue protecting the wearer and compliant with industry regulations.
It’s important to remember that disposable FR coveralls are not intended to be worn as a single layer of protection. Disposables are meant to extend the wear life of your FR clothing by repelling soil and should always be worn over approved FR garments. If the layer under your disposable FR coverall is not approved FR as well, you are not in compliance or properly protected.
Additionally, using disposable coveralls, such as Tyvek, has been commonplace in the industry. However, Tyvek and most other disposable coveralls are highly flammable and can easily ignite and severely injure workers. Therefore, common disposable coveralls should never be used in a situation where there is potential for arc flash or flash fire.
A fabric’s ability to repel controlled substances such as water, alcohol, or oil is a reliable indication of the garment’s ability to repel industrial solvents, oils, fluids, greases, etc. This is an important consideration as not all FR is designed with repellency in mind. If oil or other flammable contaminants penetrate your PPE, the protective properties can be drastically compromised. A disposable FR coverall is engineered specifically to repel such substances and reduce penetration through to primary FR garments. If you are exposed to oils and other flammable hydrocarbons, you want to use an FR disposable to keep your FR clean.
In an oil repellency test, Lakeland’s Pyrolon Plus 2 disposable coverall scored a 5 out of 8 for oil repellency and a 7 out of 10 for alcohol repellency. In the same tests, a competing 100% wood-based Polyester coverall was penetrated immediately by the oil and alcohol, soaking through to the primary garment. In the event of a subsequent flash fire, the wearer of the penetrated FR garment is left vulnerable to a higher potential percentage of body burn (1).
Tyndale is pleased to offer disposable Pyrolon Coveralls, manufactured by Lakeland Apparel. This versatile coverall is available in Pyrolon Plus 2 and 4.9 oz Pyrolon CRFR.
The Pyrolon Plus 2 (X474Y) is best suited as a barrier to dirt, grease, and oil (as shown above).
The hooded Pyrolon CRFR (P470Y) is lightweight and provides the same protection as the Pyrolon Plus 2, with the addition of acting as a barrier to chemicals (as shown right).
References for this post were accessed in October 2014: