Flame Resistant Fabrics

About Flame Resistant Workwear: What Employers Should Know

When outfitting employees, there can be a lot to know and remember as far as safety is concerned. It is always a good idea to hire a safety manager to ensure that all employees are following the guidelines and regulations to prevent fatalities. When it comes to wearing flame resistant workwear, there are some especially important regulations that you should know.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), at the request of OSHA, created a national consensus standard that establishes “best practices” for protection to avoid injuries and fatalities on the job from shock, electrocution, arc flash, and arc blasts. That standard is NFPA 70E, and you might already be familiar with it. Another important regulation that you have probably encountered in researching flame resistant workwear is NFPA 2112, which provides new standards for flash fire protection. In order to comply with these standards, employers must conduct both shock and flash hazard analysis to establish a flash protection boundary. This boundary allows employers to know what level of protection to provide for employees in flame resistant workwear. Employers should select the proper FR workwear and personal protective equipment (PPE) to be worn based on the incident energy associated with specific tasks. These will be determined by: flash hazard analysis, review of the requirements for the task from the PPE Matrix (see the NFPA 70E update table 130.7(C)(9)(a)), or using the simplified approach to selecting appropriate clothing based on whether the task requires “everyday work clothing,” or “electrical switching clothing” (see the NFPA 70E update Annex H).  In order to comply with NFPA 70E, there are three steps to follow as a guideline. (Remember, this blog post is a helpful information guide only, and not a guarantee for compliance.)

1. Conduct both shock and flash hazard analysis to determine incident energy potential within the flash protection boundary.

2. Determine PPE required based on incident energy associated with the specific task.

3. Select PPE matching the hazard to the arc rating of the garments.

Each of these steps will be discussed in greater detail in other blog posts. The important thing to remember as an employer is to be sure to comply with all safety rules and regulations. Bulwark flame resistant workwear is at the forefront of FR technology, and provides a wide variety of FR options for protecting your employees, but it’s important that you know the right level of protection and how to comply with rules and regulations. If you don’t have time to do the research, hiring a safety manager is really the best thing you can do to protect yourself and your employees. Check back for further information on our blog, but you can also check out these websites to find more helpful information.