Flame Resistant Workwear: What You Should Know Before Ordering

If you are even thinking about buying flame resistant (FR) workwear for yourself or your crew, there’s a good chance that you are required to have, or provide, it. The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) helps employers reduce injuries and deaths on the job by providing guidelines and standards for safety. Before buying flame resistant workwear, you should check out the standards that OSHA sets. There are a number of other rules and regulations, such as NFPA 2112 and NFPA 70E, that you might need to adhere to. NFPA stands for National Fire Protection Association, which is another organization that gives guidelines for fire safety. The bottom line is: always be aware of any safety rules and regulations that apply to your job. If you know that you work around fire hazards, such as electrical utilities, gas and fuel, or combustible dust, you will most likely need fire resistant workwear. So, what do you need to know about flame resistant workwear? Let’s look at three things you should know before ordering.

ATPV Rating. The ATPV rating is required by law to be stated on each garment. ATPV stands for “Arc Thermal Protective Value,” and basically means the amount of heat calories that the garment can withstand. If you work in a job at risk from electrical arcs, this is a rating that you are probably familiar with. However, before ordering any FR garments, you will need to know either the ATPV rating that you need, or the HRC level. If you don’t know the ATPV rating that you need, check with your safety manager to find out.
Hazard Risk Category (HRC) Level. Before ordering flame resistant workwear you need to know either the ATPV rating, or the HRC level. HRC stands for “Hazard Risk Category,” and there are four levels. Hazard Risk Category gives the level of protective clothing you must wear to protect against a minimum level of incident energy measured in calories per centimeter squared, the ATPV rating. For example, HRC level 2 requires a total ATPV rating of 8. That means your garments must equal an ATPV of 8 or higher. Sometimes you will need to add layers to reach the required amount of protection, depending on your HRC level and the FR clothing you are considering. You might choose flame resistant jeans and shirt, but need a total ATPV rating of 25 to comply with the HRC level 3. You can add flame resistant coveralls to get a higher ATPV rating. Of course, keep in mind that all flame resistant workwear needs to be worn properly (i.e. fully zipped, buttoned, etc.) to provide the protection it guarantees.
Fabrics. Lastly, you will want to know a little bit about the flame resistant fabric options you have. As a leader in the flame resistant industry, Bulwark uses the best fabrics, both treated and inherent, to make their FR clothing. Treated cotton is 100 percent cotton, treated so that it will self extinguish within seconds. The way that it is treated allows the fabric to retain its softness and breathability. If you’re looking for lightweight options to stay cool in coveralls, you will probably be interested in the Cool Touch 2 fabric. Bulwark also uses Nomex IIIA, an extremely durable, inherently flame resistant fabric, and ComforTouch, a cotton/nylon blend that makes for long lasting FR workwear.

If you are considering flame resistant workwear, check out the safety rules that apply to your job. Check with your safety manager to find out what you need. Before ordering, you should know your HRC level, or the ATPV rating that you need from your FR garments. Determine which fabrics will work best for your job. You can always call a customer service representative, or check out our website, to get more information regarding flame resistant workwear.