For industrial workers in utilities, electrical, and oil and gas, exposure to excessive heat and open flames creates a real need for heat protection and flame resistant (FR) clothing. To suit the needs of safety standards in harsh and dangerous environments, flame retardant work clothes are made of different materials, have different safety grades, and can be layered for multidimensional protection.
Upper Body FR Clothing
Shirts: FR shirts are generally used as secondary flame resistance protection, usually worn under a jacket or coveralls. FR shirts are generally made of cotton for breathability and comfort. The cotton is treated with a flame-resistant coating, which will last through several dozen washings. Shirts come in different cuts, including short- and long-sleeve varieties.
Jackets: Possibly the most utilitarian form of fire protection, jackets come in a wide range of protection from treated 9oz cotton to full leather. Even “hybrid” jackets are available, mainly for welding. These feature a treated cotton vest for comfort and leather sleeves for intense head and abrasion protection.
Safety Vests: FR safety vests offer some flame resistance. They also feature a tear-away construction for easy and fast removal in case it catches fire.
Sleeves: FR sleeves and cape sleeves (for arm, shoulder, and upper chest protection) protect welders and other industrial workers from excessive heat, flames, and burning material. Sleeves can be made from either leather or treated cotton. Often they are used together with aprons during warmer weather.
Full Body & Lower Body FR Garments
Pants: Like FR shirts, flame resistant pants are typically treated cotton, either denim or canvas. They generally have a relaxed fit that is comfortable for long work hours. Some pants, especially ones with a higher Hazard Risk Category (HRC), will have zippers or snaps up the side of each leg for quick removal in case burning material clings to the fabric.
Aprons/Bibs: For craftsmen and other workers in more controlled environments, FR aprons and bibs are a popular solution, giving complete frontal protection without any gaps. They are also well-suited for indoor or warm weather use. Aprons may be either leather or treated cotton. Bibs may be designed to snap or button onto cape sleeves for upper and lower body protection.
Coveralls: Coveralls offer full body protection from fire hazards. Typically, they are treated cotton for increased mobility. FR coveralls also come in disposable varieties to protect against dust and liquid splashes. In this case, they would be worn over the primary flame protection.
Rainwear: FR rainwear has to protect utility workers who are potentially exposed to multiple extremes at the same time. FR rainwear has to pass 2 tests, one for arc flash and one for flash fires. These tests simulate an electric arc as well as extreme flame exposure to test for how well the rainwear holds up under these conditions.