Arc-rated flame resistant (FR) clothing works as “the last line of defense” in the event of an arc flash or flash fire, there to protect you from injury when all other safety measures and precautions have been unsuccessful in preventing an incident.
FR clothing is critical because, believe it or not, it’s rarely or never the momentary thermal hazard – the arc flash or flash fire – that causes the most catastrophic injuries and deaths.
Instead, most catastrophic injuries and deaths are actually caused by flammable (non-FR) clothing igniting and continuing to burn against the skin. Workers who survive in these scenarios are faced with excruciating burn injuries over a large surface area of the body that are highly susceptible to deadly infections.
Luckily, there is an alternative with a drastically different outcome! We can significantly reduce or eliminate burn injuries from the equation by replacing flammable clothing with FR clothing. Unlike flammable clothing, FR clothing will not ignite and continue to burn when the arc flash or flash fire is over. By not igniting and burning, FR clothing saves lives; it can dramatically reduce or eliminate burn injury because it insulates you from the hazard.
Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical, explains:
FR works, and this has been proven time and time again! Survivors who wear FR and wear it properly often walk away miraculously unharmed, returning home to their families and resuming full quality of life after an arc or flash fire incident that would have otherwise been fatal.
Even better, FR clothing styles have come a long way in the last few years. In fact, the FR of today is nearly indistinguishable in terms of style, weight, comfort, and wash-ability from the clothing you wear off the clock. And, OSHA clarified its stance in recent years that employers are required to provide – at their expense – and ensure proper maintenance of sufficient FR clothing matched to the hazard.
With comfortable FR readily available and your life on the line, wear it and wear it well!