Flame-resistant clothing is essential in industries that utilize open flames or high heat in their production process. However, some aren’t fully aware of the differences between the different types of fire-related PPE.
Knowing the difference between treated and inherent flame-resistant clothing is essential for ensuring employee safety on the worksite. Here are some of the most important aspects to keep in mind.
Flame-resistant clothing consists of materials that are known to be flame resistant and help protect the wearer from injury. However, flame-resistant clothing doesn’t have to fully consist of these fibers. Professionals and manufacturers consider PPE clothing flame-resistant when it contains a certain amount of flame-resistant fibers.
Fabrics such as nylon and polyester contain fibers that are naturally resistant to fire, making them perfect for industrial PPE. Manufacturers design these types of clothing for comfort since the fabric is much lighter, but wearing lighter fabric also means the worker’s skin will be closer to the heat source.
Unlike inherently flame-resistant fabrics, treated fabrics undergo chemical treatments to make them more resistant and often consist of thicker fibers. Because these fabrics undergo an engineering process that exposes them to fire retardants, treated clothing is generally more cumbersome. Still, treated clothing provides a thicker barrier, which can be beneficial in environments that contain molten materials, open flames, and other hazards.
One major drawback of treated flame-resistant clothing is that they will eventually lose their fire-resistant properties. These fabrics have a limited shelf life because they are the result of an artificial manufacturing process rather than an inherently flame-resistant material.
Which Is Better?
The best type of flame-resistant clothing for your workforce depends on your situation. You must carefully consider the needs of your crew and create a PPE plan that best reflects the dangers they face during day-to-day operations.
A good pair of (men’s) fire-resistant work pants can last years longer than those treated alternatives. However, with less mass to protect from potential harm, you’ll want to weigh the decision carefully.
Know Your Equipment To Stay Safe
Accidents on the worksite can cause burns and other heat-related injuries, and some can even be potentially fatal. Clear policies outlining the difference between treated and inherent flame-resistant clothing will ensure nobody gets hurt.
Take the time to educate your employees on best practices, so they understand the risks and can prepare accordingly.