Many people think of sun protection only when headed to the beach or pool. But if you work outside, you don’t have that luxury. You’ve seen firsthand the effects of inadequate sun protection, and chances are you’ve made sun protection an important part of your safety routine. Do the arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) garments you wear to stay safe from arc flash and/or flash fire provide any further protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays?
Though very few AR / FR fabrics and garments have been tested for ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), AR / FR fabrics have substantially similar UPF ratings to their non-FR counterparts. Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical, explains:
In the world of non-FR fabrics:
- UPF is based on fabric composition and construction, as well as color. Tighter fabric constructions and darker colors typically provide more UV protection.
- Denim jeans are considered the ultimate in protection, blocking virtually all of the UV rays, while T-shirts block typically enough to prevent most people from being sunburned.
- UV protection provided by other fabrics tends to fall somewhere between T-shirts and jeans.
When it comes to AR / FR fabrics, it’s much the same. Start by considering:
- How much of your skin surface is covered by AR / FR? Of course, from a coverage standpoint, long sleeve garments provide more protection than short sleeves. Be sure to use appropriate sun protection measures for areas not covered by your AR / FR clothing – and be sure that any sunblock lotions you use while wearing PPE are not flammable.
- What fabric is covering your skin surface? AR / FR fabrics are typically made of very similar fabric constructions, styles, and weights to their non-FR counterparts – offering very similar UV protection.
- This has been clearly demonstrated in the cases where Tyndale and others have tested AR / FR garments for UPF. In fact, our USA-made Tyndale collections include more than six styles that have not only been UPF rated, but achieved the highest-possible UPF rating of 50+!
- Further, one of our fabric partners received a 50+ UPF rating on one of their lightest-weight fabrics. Since that fabric received the highest possible rating, and heavier fabrics block even more UV, it would be reasonable to expect fabrics from the same partner to achieve the same 50+ rating.
The bottom line: since AR / FR fabrics have similar construction, fabric composition and weight to non-FR clothing, your AR / FR provides very similar UV protection to its non-FR counterparts.
Working outdoors this summer? Make sure you’re protected from both arc flash/flash fire and other common seasonal hazards:
Contact a National Account Executive today to explore AR / FR clothing options that meet your company’s unique needs and challenges.