Disclosure: This blog post, originally published in 2020, was updated in 2023.
For your safety, it’s important to repair or replace your arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing when it develops noticeable damage. But how do you know when your AR / FR garment is worn out? Do a certain number of wash cycles degrade the AR / FR properties, or can age effect the protective qualities of the garment? Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, Scott Margolin, explains common warning signs when assessing if your AR / FR garment is beyond repair.
Let’s start with the positive news: every item Tyndale sells is flame resistant for the life of the garment. A five-year-old AR / FR garment is equally as protective as a comparable product that’s brand new, provided it does not have any unrepaired damage or display any of the wear indicators listed below.
Why should a garment be pulled from service?
We typically recommend a garment be pulled from service for two reasons:
- The AR / FR garment in question is either in poor condition and can no longer be repaired, or
- The AR / FR garment is soiled with flammable contaminants which cannot be removed by laundering, or is too stained to meet company image requirements.
Watch as Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, Scott Margolin explains what to look for on your FRC to recognize whether or not your garment should be pulled from service:
If you have a hole or tear in your AR / FR garment, you can generally repair that problem assuming you have the correct FR thread (or patch). Tyndale makes it easy to repair these garments at home. Simply contact Tyndale’s Customer Service Specialists and request a repair kit containing FR thread, buttons, and sewing needles. If sewing isn’t in your wheelhouse, you can send your garment back to Tyndale – free of charge – and we’ll repair the garment (if it’s repairable) and return to you, also free of charge!
That being said, there are some types of damage that require a garment to be removed from service for your safety, or to meet company image requirements:
- You might have frayed cuffs or collars which can impact garment performance and are difficult to adequately repair.
- If your garment has multiple holes, wearing a garment with patches may not be in keeping with your company’s Corporate requirements.
- If your garment has “thread-bare” areas or “high-wear points,” such as knees or elbows. These areas take the bulk of daily wear and tear and might be too weak to hold thread or a patch.
- If a rip is too large to be adequately repaired.
The last piece to remember is cleanliness. Aesthetically, each wearer will have a different tolerance for how “dirty” or stained a garment can be. For example, someone inside the fence at a plant may have few, if any image requirements than someone who has a very public-facing role. As long as this “dirt” isn’t a flammable contaminant, you are open to make your own decision about cleanliness. If that garment is covered in flammable contaminants, you cannot remove – and cover a significant portion of that garment – it’s time to immediately retire that garment.
View our safety resources page for a step-by-step guide showing when and how to retire AR / FR garments.
In conclusion, remember you don’t need to pull AR / FR garments from service due to their age or number of launderings. You should pull a garment from service if it is unable to be adequately repaired, or is soiled with flammable contaminants that cannot be removed by laundering before returning to service.
Have a garment you need to retire? Make sure you have the garments you need to stay safe on the job. Login to your managed program today, or visit our retail site, to order a replacement. Tyndale has great selection and inventory on most products.