The Difference Between Arc & Fire-Resistant Clothes

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The Difference Between Arc & Fire-Resistant Clothes

Protecting yourself while on the job is essential for your safety and others. On most worksites, wearing properly rated clothing will ensure you don’t expose yourself to unnecessary risks.

You should avoid sparks, arc flashes, and fires at all costs. However, knowing what to wear to protect yourself isn’t so straightforward. Here are the differences between arc & fire-resistant clothes.


The most significant difference between arc-rated (AR) and fire-resistant (FR) clothing is its function. FR clothing prevents burns when exposed to high heat, chemicals, or an open flame. FR clothing doesn’t melt, ensuring workers’ skin is safe if an incident occurs.

On the other hand, AR clothing is meant to prevent burns resulting from an arc flash or electrical burst. In both cases, the material dampens the heat transferred through the fabric, protecting the wearer from harm.


Another significant difference between the two types of industrial clothing is how manufacturers made them. AR clothing has been tested for arc-flash, while many fire-resistant fabrics have not. Conversely, most AR clothing has fire-resistant properties, making it an excellent choice for worksites.

Industrially-rated fabrics come in many forms, so it’s essential to understand their unique purpose. If your worksite poses the risk of fires and electric shock, you can get an FR-insulated jacket approved for arc flashes.


Understanding what your industrial clothing is capable of before entering a worksite is vital. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) tests and certifies standards proven to protect workers while on the job.

NFPA 70 is the national standard for electrical safety, while NFPA 2112 covers fire safety. Manufacturers must comply with these standards to sell their products as safety equipment. Ensure your FR clothing has the proper safety rating to protect you from the hazards you face daily.

Stay Safe While on the Job

A reliable pair of AR or FR clothing can mean the difference between injury and staying safe for many industrial workers. However, it’s essential to ensure you’re getting the appropriate, certified fabric for the hazards you’ll face.

Knowing the difference between arc & fire-resistant clothes will allow you to perform your tasks without exposure to unnecessary risk.

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