Many professionals who work in industries with hazardous conditions must wear the right clothes for their own protection. Whether they are working with chemicals or heavy machinery, wearing the proper garments is essential for maintaining safety.
People who work near or with fire on a consistent basis must wear flame-resistant clothing to keep themselves safe. Any occupation that involves contact with electrical materials or has a higher risk of an explosion or fire occurring requires workers to wear these types of clothes every day. Some of the professions that require flame-resistant (FR) clothing include electricians, pharmaceutical workers, food processing workers, oil refinery workers, paper and pulp manufacturers, and utility repair technicians.
Manufacturers make FR clothing from unique materials that protect people from burning. If you work in an industry with a higher risk of fire or know someone who does, then you need to pick up some FR clothing right away. With that in mind, here is how you stop, drop, and roll into FR clothing in 2022.
Learn How Flame-Resistant Clothing Puts Out Fire
The material in FR clothing puts out fires by extinguishing itself due to its inherent flame-resistant chemical properties. Traditional fabric materials can light and fuel a fire, but flame-resistant clothing puts flames out immediately.
Flame-resistant clothing prevents the fire from burning because it doesn’t allow oxygen in for the fabric to burn. Oxygen is one of the core elements of a successful fire, so by depriving the fire of that chemical, it quickly extinguishes itself.
Know Which Materials Resist Flames Naturally
Certain products on the market that resist flames naturally. Manufacturers don’t need to classify these products as FR clothing because they don’t resist flames by artificial means. Some natural materials can’t ignite and won’t melt, so they are great for resisting flames, but companies won’t classify them as FR garments.
Fibers such as silk or wool are some examples of natural FR clothing. Wool becomes more flame-resistant when it’s heavy or threaded tightly.
In addition, materials such as nylon and polyester are synthetic fibers, but they also possess naturally flame-resistant characteristics and can’t ignite easily. However, one of the downsides of these synthetic materials is that they melt if they catch fire.
Nonetheless, when the thread is weaved tighter, synthetic fabrics become more flame-resistant, just like natural ones such as wool. Naturally, flame-resistant clothing lasts for a very long time, which is one of the biggest advantages of seeking out these types of clothes.
You can wash and wear these clothes out as much as you like, but they won’t lose any of their fire protection abilities because their protection runs deep on the microscopic level. No matter how long you use them, flame-resistant clothes will retain their practicality, which makes them a valuable long-term investment if you work near fires daily.
Consider the Other Flame-Resistant Materials
Although certain natural fibers such as cotton or linen ignite quickly when they come into contact with flames, you can treat them with some chemicals that make them flame-resistant. However, the flames can spread rapidly if you leave them unabated, so make sure to have a fire extinguisher handy before testing out the chemical’s ability to resist flames.
Manufacturers treat their clothes with compounds that extinguish fires in the same way that natural materials do: by depriving the fire of the oxygen it needs to sustain itself. Unfortunately, unlike natural fabrics, clothing that manufacturers treat with a compound at the last stage of production will gradually lose their fire-resisting ability.
The compound will wear off the more you wash or use your clothes. Also, any abrasions or exposure to UV light will reduce the fire protection capability of the garment. Additional concerns revolve around the negative impact on the environment that FR chemical treatment plants have.
Treatment facilities that add FR chemicals to materials such as cotton sometimes produce waste or sewage during the production process that winds up in local waterways. This causes environmental pollution because it contaminates the water that citizens in the surrounding areas rely on for daily consumption.
Realize the Health Risks of Some Flame-Resistant Material
Many people worry about whether flame-resistant material is toxic or not, but the answer is not so simple. Some of the chemicals that manufacturers use to treat cotton and other fibers are hazardous and cause problems in the environment. Companies widely use brominated flame retardants (BFRs) because they are inexpensive and effective at reducing flames.
Nonetheless, around 75 BFRs are known to be toxic. Thankfully, most of these materials haven’t been sold in at least four decades after news stories broke about their dangerous potential—but some are still on the market today. One example of a banned BFR is Tris-BP, which manufacturers used to use for creating clothes for children until they found out how dangerous it was.
A few of the most prominent classes of BFRs that companies still use today are diphenyl ethers, brominated bisphenols, and cyclooctene, so be on the lookout for those when you’re shopping for FR work shirts or other protective gear. In other areas, companies use these BFR classes to produce computers, electronics, electrical gear, and as reactive compounds or additives to foam and epoxy resin.
How To Pick The Right FR Clothing for Your Needs
When you’re considering which FR clothing you want to buy, ask yourself the right questions before making your purchase. Now that you understand all the risks that come with certain materials and know which jobs require FR clothing, you can make the most informed decision once you answer these questions. If you are conscious of your budget, ask yourself how long this garment will last and how soon you’ll need to replace it.
Depending on your line of work, ask if the FR clothing you want will comply with the regulations and safety standards of your particular industry. Additionally, make sure that the clothing weight and style are suitable for your profession and whether it will be practical to wear each day.
Overall, you should have a better understanding of all the nuances and facts related to FR clothing. Now that you know how to stop, drop, and roll into FR clothing in 2022, you can make a satisfying purchase of a product that is essential for your well-being.