Why You Should NOT Wear Athletic Shirts Underneath Your AR / FR Garments

It’s critical to wear arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing while working in energized environments. Equally important, however, is what not to wear underneath your protective clothing, specifically moisture-wicking athletic wear. Tune in to the video below as our Lead Corporate Safety and Technical Trainer, Jason Brozen explains why you should not wear athletic clothing underneath your AR / FR garments:

As mentioned in the video, moisture-wicking athletic wear is a meltable fabric. Wearing moisture-wicking athletic clothing beneath your AR / FR garments during an arc flash, where the incident energy level surpasses the arc rating of your AR / FR clothing, can result in the athletic shirt melting onto your skin, leading to severe third-degree burns.

Next, Jason describes a scenario in which a wearer is donning an AR / FR shirt that is unbuttoned, untucked, and has the sleeves rolled up with a non-FR athletic shirt underneath. The wearer is unprotected and vulnerable to a potential arc flash incident. Once left exposed to an oncoming arc flash, fire can get inside the wearer’s shirt, melting or burning anything left underneath the wearer’s AR /FR garments. Additionally, as the arc hits the wearer, the resulting fire creates a stove pipe effect, leading to serious respiratory damage and major burns to the face.

So, what can you wear underneath your protective gear? AR / FR base layers are the best solution for maximum comfort and protection against arc flash hazards, as these fabrics are becoming increasingly popular among those who work in the electrical industry.

Bottom line?

Wear your AR / FR clothing properly and do not wear moisture-wicking athletic clothing underneath your protective garments. Ensure that you’re equipped with the right AR / FR clothing overtop and underneath. It can mean the difference between returning home safely and suffering from a serious injury.

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