Flame Resistant and High Visibility: Striping Options
You know you need flame resistant workwear, but in some cases you also need high visibility workwear. Bulwark makes several different options for high visibility workwear that will also meet the flame resistant requirements.
When you are working in an area with low visibility and traffic, you should take extra care to wear the right high visibility garments to avoid accidents. Especially in the case of electrical work, it’s important to choose flame resistant garments with high visibility. With Bulwark’s options, you can choose the flame resistant garments that you love, and add high visibility striping. It’s also important to know that the high visibility striping can also be made of flame resistant materials, since you never want to have anything on your flame resistant uniform that might compromise the flame resistant properties of the garment.
The process for finding and ordering a flame resistant uniform with high visibility striping is fairly simple. Most of Bulwark’s garments can have high visibility striping added to them, so you can either choose the garment that you already love, or look for flame resistant garments that will meet the requirements for your job. Coveralls are a popular option, and Continue reading
Flame Resistant Uniforms: Do You Need Them?
If you, or your crew, are working in area that is at risk from electric arcs, flash fires, or flames, you should consider supplying flame resistant protective garments. Many synthetic fabrics, and all untreated natural fibers are combustible. You should expect them to ignite and burn when exposed to fire. Most clothing is made from cotton, or cotton and polyester, making them a hazard should you, or your employee, be in an accident involving an electric arc or flash fire. Why is it so important that you have the proper protection on the job? Let’s look at what happens with normal fabrics, and with flame resistant fabrics, when exposed to ignition.
Normal Fabrics. If you are on the job, wearing your normal cotton jeans and a cotton/polyester t-shirt, when an accident happens, you will find that your garments will catch fire and burn. A flash fire or electric arc can ignite your clothing, and normal fabrics will burn away from the point of ignition, increasing in speed until the flames are extinguished, or the garment is consumed. Polyester is a synthetic material that will shrink wrap when exposed to such high heat, making it incredibly harmful to workers in a flash fire. Cotton contains oxygen filled fibers, giving fuel to the fire. So, normal fabrics are not going to protect you from burn injuries, and will contribute to spreading the fire across your garments, making your injuries worse.
Flame Resistant Fabrics. Flame resistant (FR) fabrics are designed to resist ignition, and self extinguish within seconds, preventing the fire from spreading on the garment. There are a variety of flame resistant fabrics used for protective garments. Treated cotton is a great choice for soft, comfortable clothing that can still protect you. The oxygen filled fibers are filled with a substance so that the garment will self extinguish. Other great fabrics for flame resistant fabrics include Nomex IIIA and ComforTouch. Wearing FR uniforms in an accident involving an electric arc or flash fire can save your life. Will it prevent burn injuries? Let’s look at that next.
FR Garments and Preventing Burns. FR garments are not fireproof, but they do provide protection against the spread of fire on the garment. While you may sustain burn injuries at the point of ignition, the garments will prevent your clothing from burning further and causing more injuries. Wearing FR garments on the job can mean the difference between minor burns and serious, life threatening injuries.
If you are unsure if you need flame resistant uniforms, determine the hazards at your job site. Talk to your safety manager to find out what sort of garments are recommended. If you are the safety manager and not sure, call in an independent third party to determine the nature of your hazard and what garments will best protect your employees. Wearing flame resistant fabrics can make a huge difference. The safety of your workers is vital to the success of your business, so make sure to offer the best protection you can from on the job hazards.
High Visibility Workwear Terms
Whether you know exactly what you need for high visibility workwear, or you are just starting to look into it, knowledge of the terms used can be helpful. High visibility workwear has to meet the standards set forth in the American National Standard for High-Visibility Safety Apparel and Headwear (ANSI/ISEA 107-2010). This standard, established by American National Standards Institute, is designed to protect workers who are routinely exposed to low visibility while on the job. This would include construction, utility, emergency responders, to name just a few. It can be helpful to understand the terms that are generally used in the standard, so keep reading for a quick look at a few.
Class. Class is a term that you will definitely need to understand, and it technically refers to the amount of reflective trim on the garment. High visibility garments are classified as Class 1, 2, 3, or E. Depending on the requirements for your job, you will need to meet one of those standards. Class 1 is the high visibility requirement for workers in areas where traffic does not exceed 25 mph, class 2 is the requirement for workers in areas where traffic exceeds 25 mph, and class 3 sets the standard for workers in areas where traffic exceeds 50 mph. Class E refers to garments like bib overalls, shorts, and pants, that meet the background and retro-reflective material standard, but do not fit within class 1, 2, or 3. Class E garments can be worn with garments that meet one class 2 or 3, and the resulting uniform will be considered class 3.
Background Material. The background material refers to the colored fluorescent material on workwear that is highly conspicuous, but does not meet the requirements for ANSI 107 standard for retro reflective material. This fabric is what you see for most high visibility uniforms, but surprisingly, this fluorescent material is not what makes it high visibility.
Retro-reflective Material. Retro-reflective material is a material that should reflect light back toward the direction from which it came. This material is extremely important for meeting the standards, the amount of light that it reflects back should be a high proportion. This material is the one that makes a difference, actually making a garment high visibility.
Compliance. Compliance refers to how well the item meets the standard. The garments should be manufactured with the proper background material and amount of retro-reflective materials to comply with the standard. Manufacturers must be able to provide proof of how the garment was made to meet the standard.
- Certify. This last term refers to how the company can certify that it meets the standards. The garment should certified by an independent third party accredited laboratory, or it can be self-certified through the use of Apparel and Headwear Compliance Certificate.
When you’re looking for high visibility workwear, check out the options available through Automotive Workwear. Our garments are manufactured by Red Kap, and meet the standards for different classes. If you can’t find what you’re looking for on our website, call a customer service representative to find exactly what you need to provide safe workwear for your employees.