When it comes to flame resistant (FR) rainwear, the risks are real;
- Ineffective rainwear can make your workers uncomfortable – reducing productivity – while putting them at risk for heat stress or cold stress.
- Critically, for workers who face arc flash or flash fire hazards as part of their outdoor work environment, using non-FR or insufficient rainwear can lead to costly compliance issues for your company and – worse! – burn injury in the event of an incident.
Luckily, selecting the right rainwear is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
- Identify hazard
Identifying the right hazard is an important first step in the rainwear procurement process and directly impacts your employees’ safety. Whether you work in a utility setting, an oil and gas setting, or in another sector, existing consensus standards agree: a hazard assessment should be conducted to determine the risks your workers face.
Do your employees face arc flash hazards in their work environment? Or, do they face a flash fire hazard? In some applications, workers may be faced with arc flash and flash fire hazards.
- Arc flash rainwear is governed by ASTM F1891, Standard Specification for Arc and Flame Resistant Rainwear
- Flash fire rainwear is governed by ASTM 2733, Standard Specification for Flame Resistant Rainwear for Protection Against Flame Hazards
- Dual hazard rainwear complies with both ASTM F1891 and ASTM F2733.
Not all flame resistant rainwear is arc-rated! While both ASTM 1891 and 2733 reference the vertical flame test (ASTM D6413) to establish flame resistance, ASTM 1891 requires arc thermal performance testing (ASTM F1959) while ASTM 2733 instead requires flash fire testing – the “manikin” test – in accordance with ASTM F1930. As a result, specifying rainwear that only complies with ASTM F2733 has not been tested to protect against arc flash hazards, and rainwear that complies only with ASTM F1981 has not been tested for flash fire protection. As you can see, this step is the most critical to employee safety and compliance!
Both ASTM F1891 and ASTM F2733 contain suggested purchasing information that may be helpful as you prepare to buy FR rainwear.
Beware of rainwear simply labeled to meet ASTM F2302, Standard Performance Specification for Labeling Protective Clothing as Heat and Flame Resistant, as this is a clothing standard meant to be used in combination with ASTM F1506 or NFPA 2112. Accordingly, rainwear labeled to comply only with ASTM F2302 compliant is not likely to provide proper protection.
The next step is to analyze weather conditions in your workers’ environment.
Do you live in an environment where it rains constantly? If so, FR rainwear will likely be used heavily—or even daily—by your employees. Accordingly, your company may want to invest in rainwear made with advanced fabric technology to provide the industry’s most weather-effective protective rainwear. And, you may want to consider providing employees with more than one set of rainwear.
On the other hand, if rain is rare in your environment, rainwear will likely rarely be utilized. As a result, you may want to select the most basic rainwear available that provides sufficient arc flash and/or flash fire protection as required by your hazard analysis.
Similarly, think about the frequency and severity of other types of extreme weather conditions your workers may face—such as snow, wind, and temperature. As you prepare to purchase FR rainwear, consider:
- Some rainwear include options for removable liners for extra warmth, and can be layered with other FR clothing for additional warmth.
- Breathability and moisture management are important in hot environments, both for comfort and to manage risks of heat stress.
- Moisture management is also key in cold climates, as underlayers soaked with sweat can increase risks of cold stress.
- Do you need rainwear that also serves as a wind-breaker?
- Identify Budget
Your analysis in step two will play a key role in creating your FR rainwear budget, in terms of fabric technology that is necessary in your work environment and the amount of rainwear workers will typically need.
FR rainsuits generally range in price from $300 to $1,300 per suit (jacket and bib). Suits at the lower end of the range meet safety standards and provide shelter from the elements—particularly during shorter exposures, but if you employees work in frequent and/or sustained precipitation, the premium suits are a worthwhile investment.
Now that you’ve considered the type and quantity of protective rainwear your employees require, it’s time to set a budget. With Tyndale’s allowance programs, total spend is simply calculated as the number of employees multiplied either by the price of your chosen rainsuit, or by the per-employee rainwear allowance amount you set. All services are included within Tyndale’s quote at no additional charge—taking the guesswork out of budgeting for FR rainwear.
And, once you’ve established your budget, allowance-based programs like Tyndale’s ensure your per-employee spend is strictly enforced, while delivering the direct-to-user tracking, reporting, and service you know and trust with your flame resistant dailywear program. Simply:
- Include an assortment of rainwear alongside FRC in your company’s catalog, and appropriately increase employee allowances OR
- Add a separate allowance or allotment just for FR rainwear; employees simply select between the FR rainwear and FR daily wear programs in their online accounts.
Both program types allow the flexibility to offer employee-level choice between multiple company-approved rainwear options. This places a hard cap on maximum total spend while ensuring employees have access to the protective rainwear they need and the comfort they want. Safety, comfort, and compliance made easy!
Get Started Today
Learn more about:
- ASTM standards governing arc flash and flash fire protective rainwear
- Tyndale’s selection of quality, price-competitive FR rainwear options vetted for compliance with industry standards
- What other purchases can I consolidate with Tyndale?
Contact your Tyndale Account Executive or call Tyndale at 800-356-3433 for an FR rainwear catalog and quick start-up information!