FR clothing is required in many professions such as electrical work and industries such as oil and gas, but what about petrochemical workplaces? In our guide, we take a closer look at FR clothing and what to wear at chemical plants.
Do I Need FR Clothing at a Chemical Plant?
While fire-resistant (FR) garments are required personal protective equipment (PPE) in many industrial settings, is it necessary for petrochemical plants? Yes, chemical plants that store and handle potentially dangerous and flammable liquids must provide PPE and FR clothing for their employees.
It’s an industry practice and OSHA regulation to require FR clothing where flash fires from accidental releases are possible. For these PPE requirements, OSHA uses the NFPA 2113 Standard on Selection, Care, Use and Maintenance of Flame-Resistant Garments for the Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire. If you work at a chemical plant with potentially flammable sources but don’t have sufficient PPE, your employer is violating OSHA standards.
What FR Clothing Should I Wear?
FR clothing is essential for working at a chemical plant with flammable liquids, but what clothing should I wear? OSHA requires employers to provide FR garments to employees in some way—typically with an FR uniform, but some employers will offer a voucher program where employees can pick and purchase their desired FR clothing from a supplier themselves.
FR garments come in all shapes and sizes, including:
- Long-sleeve shirts
- Bib overalls
- and more!
There are also more casual versions of FR clothing, such as FR denim jeans that look and feel like normal clothing but with self-extinguishing qualities.
What To Consider When Choosing FR Clothing
If you’re choosing FR clothing for yourself or your workers, there are a few things that you should consider.
While, in most cases, one layer of FR clothing is enough to offer sufficient protection in a chemical plant, some workers still prefer to add more layers to their PPE. As we mentioned, FR clothing has many options, and workers can add additional layers with FR undergarments, jackets, or coveralls.
If you feel a base layer of FR garments isn’t enough protection, inform your employer of your concerns and ask that additional PPE is offered.
The fit of FR clothing is also essential to the worker’s safety. If FR clothes or an FR uniform is too big or too small, it won’t provide the sufficient protection the worker requires.
FR clothing that’s too small clings to the wearer’s skin when there should be a comfortable air gap between skin and clothing for adequate protection. But if the clothing is too baggy, it becomes cumbersome for the wearer—making their job harder and more dangerous.