The Importance of Flame Resistant Clothing Supplier Inventory and Service

September 19th, 2014

More than being legally or standards-compliant, the increasing significance of FR clothing in the workplace is due to the fundamental need to protect the life and safety of employees. Companies can take all the necessary precautions at the physical job site but without FR clothing, the employees remain vulnerable to hazards.

In the last several years, due to increasing demand for FR clothing, numerous suppliers for FR clothing and equipment have emerged. To get the best value, it is important to remember that not all suppliers are created equal so it is of utmost importance to choose suppliers wisely.
There are a number of factors that companies must consider when choosing FR suppliers. These factors include: price and performance of products, inventory, purchasing process, and service and support. Because there are many factors to be considered, a client must first determine the level of protection they need and start from there.

A good supplier will have superior products and ample inventory to cover the client’s needs or provide a reasonable lead time and deliver goods as promised. The supplier will also provide the client all the information they need and provide after-sales support to ensure that the client gets the best protection from the FR clothing purchased.

Do logos used on flame resistant clothing need to be flame resistant?

September 17th, 2014

To add further to this discussion concerning logos being attached to flame resistant clothing.

Companies may in fact have good reasons to label their clothing and that’s within their right. However, some of the labels may in fact have substances or materials that may have flammable features which may ignite when faced with ignition sources.
The introduction of non-flame resistant materials will increase the risk of ignition if presented in certain conditions.

If the risk of exposure is low then it should be perfectly fine to add logos however a good rule of thumb used by many manufacturers is to limit the size of the logo to the size of a credit card. It is also a good idea to not have too many of these logos on the garment.

Do logos used on flame resistant clothing need to be flame resistant?

September 11th, 2014

Work ClothesNomex ClothingFlame Resistant Cotton Clothing

The simple answer to this question would be NO. The decision to provide employees with FR clothing made entirely of flame resistant materials rests solely on company discretion as there is no rule or standard that explicitly requires the use of flame resistant logos on FR clothing.

However, one standard (ASTM 1506 x.1.2.5 [appendix section]) recommends keeping the size of the NFR logo to a minimum: “Logos, name tags, and other heraldry, such as flag patches and company award insignias, are used to identify the organization and individual. If these items are constructed of non-flame resistant materials (such as polyester or rayon), their overall area should be minimized on the garment. For example, large company logos across the back of the garment should not be applied. In addition, the use of several logos over the entire garment should be avoided.”

As best practice, flame resistant clothing should be made entirely of FR materials; but it is important to understand that companies have to find the right balance between safety, risk, comfort, feasibility and cost when choosing FR garments. For some businesses, the decision to use flame resistant logos boils down to cost. Although the increase in cost can only come to about $3 per garment, the expense can easily add up to a few thousand dollars if the company buying the protective clothing is procuring thousands of pieces of FR gear.

What Is the Difference Between Arc Rated Clothing and FR Clothing?

September 4th, 2014

Work ClothesNomex ClothingFlame Resistant Cotton Clothing

Flame Resistant and Arc-rated clothing can be a confusing topic and as a result there are many misconceptions among users of the two types of garments. The most common question users have is: What are the differences between AR and FR clothing?

The main difference between the two is that all arc rated clothing is flame resistant but not all flame resistant clothing are arc rated. The two have similarities as they are both resistant to ignition but the ones that are arc rated have been measured to test their resistance to arc flash through certified testing facilities.
This is what I believe you have to consider when selecting the safety clothing as your first priority is to protect yourself and your workers.

Therefore, an arc rating is a single number that states to the end user the threshold of the clothing to arc flash.
Selecting a garment that is both AR and FR may prove to be a better choice as you will be sure of added protection and have a measurable value to show what the level of protection you will get.

Reviewing the Most Common Flame-Resistant Clothing Fabrics

August 27th, 2014

Work ClothesNomex ClothingFlame Resistant Cotton Clothing

The term flame-resistant fabric alludes to infused textiles with chemical treatments and incombustible fibers resulting in the production of material that naturally burns slower. There is no denying the significance of this material; particularly in certain careers and programs. Let us review the more common ones in an effort to make for an easier selection process.

The Inherent flame-resistant fabric has the resistance inculcated into their actual structure during production. When these particular materials come into contact with heat or flame, the infused fibers swell naturally and form a barrier of protection over the skin. The most-popular brand names that fall into this category are Nomex and PBI Gold-typically applied through flash fire, and GlenGuard and Comfort MP-whose application process consists of arc flash and flash fire. The consistent link in this material group is in its design; the resistance lies in its structure and no flame resistant substance is added after the weaving and production process. The result being that the protection it offers is fulsome and not easily worn out or compromised.

The Treated flame-resistant fabric is the opposite in this regard. Unlike the inherently flame-resistant textiles, the treated material is made flame resistant after production through the use of the required chemicals. This chemical, when exposed to fire, results in a reaction that fights the flame, causes it to self-extinguish and ultimately provides protection for the body. A few of the brand names that fall into this category are Ultrasoft, Phoenix FR and Amplitude. The disadvantage for this group is that its flame resistant properties are added after production; which minimizes its durability and increases the chance of being compromised with the application of chlorine bleach.

Pertinent in the selection of your flame-resistant fabric is the environment in which it will be used and the frequency with which the clothes will be worn.  Be thorough in your checks, bearing in mind that the decision will impact you, the team and their families. Be sure to consider the application process, the fabric weight and durability and how appropriately it will all fit in with your team or program.

High Visibility Clothing and Under Layers

August 19th, 2014

Work ClothesNomex ClothingFlame Resistant Cotton Clothing

From time to time users of flame-resistant (FR) clothing are left confused as to what to wear under their FR garments. One of the issues that many users may find in industries that require FR clothing, is that long sleeved shirts are required and it may become uncomfortable to wear under clothing especially in the warmer seasons. If you choose to wear under clothing below the high-vis clothing then they are some tips to keep in mind.

Something to consider is that materials that are polyester should not be worn under an arc rated FR shirt. It is a non-flammable natural fiber and should not be worn this way. If you want to remain compliant with standards, you should use a natural fiber t-shirt if you are not wearing something that is arc rated.

If polyester is worn this way it is liable to melt at lower temperatures than other materials and can cause burns. This rule is across the board and even applies to polyester blends. If you need to wear something an ANSI 107 hi-vis compliant t-shirt should be worn. There are many t-shirts that meet this standard and will be appropriate.

A t-shirt of this kind will keep you cool and add that additional protection that will be useful. The t-shirt does not have to have a specific rating as any one will work for the cause. Something important to mention though, is that if your industry requires wear that is hi-vis, no kind of cotton whether it is FR or non-FR, can meet the requirements of ANSI 107. This means that you would have to select a modacrylic blend that has an arc rating. Ideally these can be dyed to adapt to the hi-vis requirements. If your work requirement does not have to conform to any standards then a natural fiber t-shirt is fine.
In other words the cotton material cannot be dyed bright enough to meet the ANSI 107 high visibility requirements.

In whatever industry you work in, at times the mode of dressing may become uncomfortable but you must understand the nature of the job, the safety requirements and what you are allowed to do. There are times when comfort can be considered over safety and this may be okay in areas where the job is not high risk. However in high risk jobs, you cannot sacrifice your comfort for optimal safety. The best advice to follow is to find out the standards for your particular industry to see what can be done and how much flexibility you have.

For many work industries there may already be standards that govern their operation and may limit what you are able to do. Therefore, before actually taking any action it is wise to understand what is required of you and what is required to maintain the safety standard. These are things that have been researched and established so they are to be adhered to at all times.

FR Modacrylic     100% Cotton

As you can see the image son the left is made from a Flame-resistant, 8.75 oz. 70% Modacrylic / 15% FR Lenzing® / 15% Rayon blend and DOES meet the ANSI 107 standard for high visibility along with offering you the protective quality of being flame and arc resistant.
The image on the right is made from the 100% cotton fabric and as you can see the cotton cannot be dyed as deep of a high visibility color. The dyes fade out of the cotton in the process and there these do not meet the NSI 107 standard.

Terry Smeader
Safety Protection Warehouse
Ph 888-440-4668
www.coverallsale.com

How does Flame resistant clothing apply to the Welding industry?

August 13th, 2014

The discussion about how flame resistant clothing related to the welding industry is an interesting one, from which numerous questions may arise. There are certain aspects that one needs to understand when looking into this area. Protection is a primary concern for welders as their job often includes some risks and possible flame/burn injuries. With this in mind, it is pertinent to review possible safety wear such as flame resistant clothing.

Can FR garments work for welders?

The fabrics used to make flame resistant garments have properties governed by the ASTM F2302 standards which defines the concept of flame resistance. It does not necessarily mean that total burn protection will be offered, but provides protection with material that is flame resistant and will prevent severe burns. The fabric mitigates against ignition and burning when exposed to a flame. This important element helps to minimize the possibility of burn injuries to the person wearing the garments.

With this in mind, people in the welding industry may opt for more specific fabrics tailored for that profession. Flame resistant clothing helps to resist direct ignition sources and exposure to sparks.

Additionally, most FR clothing are tailored with a printed warning inside that indicates that the clothing offers only  a certain level of protection and continuous exposure to open flames should be minimized. In welding, this may refer to the continuous exposure to sparks which may stay on the clothing for an extended period of time.

Welding Standards

The welding industry does have an established standard which also speaks of protective clothing. This is found in the ANSI Z49 standard which instructs users to select clothing to minimize the risk of ignition when exposed to the elements of the trade. It also specifies that the clothing should be made of appropriate materials that will curtail the risk of skin burns that are caused by sparks, spatter or radiation. In addition, it also discusses that an apron must be worn when extra protection is necessary. It is important to note that in the welding standards they also refer to minimizing burns and not total prevention.

Conclusion

The companies that make the FR clothing are aware of the fact that users in various industries will try to justify the use of their garments.  It is with this in mind that a label is normally inserted to indemnify them and puts the responsibility of choosing the correct application to the end user.

Having highlighted the various properties of FR fabrics, one can conclude that it does aid in the welding profession but cannot be deemed the primary protection for the user. It will be imperative that additional protective clothing be employed to minimize the possibility of ignition and burns while enjoying their craft. Be sure to choose the most appropriate protection for your industry and maintain safety standards.

Understanding “Arc Flash”

May 29th, 2014

A comprehensive guide in understanding Arc Flash released by the Workplace Safety Awareness Council under grant number SH-16615-07-60-F-12 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. It details many things about Arc Flash including what causes arc flash, factors that determine the severity of an arc flash injury, results from an arc flash, ways to protect the workers from an arc flash, understanding arc flash warning labels, employee obligations, etc.

“Because of the violent nature of an arc flash exposure when an employee is injured, the injury is serious – even resulting in death. It’s not uncommon for an injured employee to never regain their past quality of life. Extended medical care is often required, sometimes costing in excess of $1,000,000.” Learn more at https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/fy07/sh-16615-07/arc_flash_handout.pdf

For help maintaining your arc flash clothing requirements you can find what you need at http://www.coverallsale.com/shop/arc-flash-clothing-NFPA-70E-cid-99-1.html

OSHA to push for electronic injury reports

April 5th, 2014

“OSHA officials want to require electronic submission of illness and injury reports to the agency to improve tracking of the data. The proposal, announced Nov. 7, was spurred by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ annual Occupational Injuries and Illnesses report, which estimates that three million workers were injured on the job in 2012.”

Read more at:
http://www.plantengineering.com/single-article/osha-to-push-for-electronic-injury-reports/a242b642f58fd982a43a2998833627e0.html

Terry Smeader
Safety Protection Warehouse
Ph 888-440-4668
www.coverallsale.com

Failure to abate a previously cited error from OSHA

February 20th, 2014

Failure to abate means that the company failed to correct a previously cited error from OSHA including hazard, condition or practice that pose danger to its employees. Failure to abate notices bring $111,000 in penalties.

Don’t slip up on OSHA abatement

“Don’t let this happen to you. Whether they admit or not, in some way, OSHA often seeks rough Justice. rarely is an Area Office out to simply “get blood.” They are trying to match the penalty to the behavior, and you do not want to develop a reputation as the kind of employer who fails to abate. That moniker may be more damaging to your reputation than a “willful” citation.

So with this admonition in mind, I share today’s OSHA press release:”

Read more at:

http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=8d064466-b3ab-47de-9bf7-a583b2b97ae7

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