Is flame-resistant (FR) clothing considered PPE by OSHA? If you have employees that work in potentially hazardous situations, you need to know the answer to that question. Our explainer answers that question and more about FR garments!
Does PPE Include FR Clothing?
Yes! Flame-resistant clothing is considered PPE for workers who face severe hazards on the worksite: fire, heat, and electrical dangers. Any worksite with any or all of these hazards must provide FR clothing as part of PPE to workers at no cost to employees.
Many occupations are rife with these hazards and require FR clothing as part of worker PPE, like:
- Electric utility line workers
- Pulp & paper industry workers
- Oil & gas industry workers
- Metal processing workers
These are just a few common examples of professions where FR clothing is prevalent PPE, but there are many more.
Are Flame-Resistant and Flame-Retardant Clothing the Same?
The FR in FR clothing can stand for flame-resistant or flame-retardant—and you’ll often hear them used interchangeably. Is there a difference between these two garments regarding protection or material?
Yes, but the difference between resistant and retardant clothing is subtle. Flame-resistant garments are made of materials (Kevlar, Nomex, modacrylic) that are inherently resistant and naturally self-extinguish. Flame-retardant clothing also has self-extinguishing properties, but they’re achieved by treating the garments with certain chemicals.
While the means may be different, flame-resistant and flame-retardant garments offer sufficient protection to workers facing electrical and fire hazards.
How Much FR Clothing Do Workers Need?
Employees facing electrical and fire hazards need FR clothing for their PPE. You may wonder how much clothing is required to stay safe. That depends on the risks present in the workplace and the severity of the dangers.
OSHA requires worksites to follow the NFPA standards for outfitting workers with FR clothing based on the hazard risk level. There are four categories of the standard, with category 1 (the lowest risk) requiring one layer of FR clothing (FR shirt and pants or FR bib overalls) and category 4 requiring three or more layers of protection.
Now you know more about FR clothing, PPE, and how they protect workers. If you ever need to find high-quality FR clothing for your employees or yourself, check out the wide collection of garments available at FR Outlet.