Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is any clothing item worn to protect against workplace hazards. PPE categories include respiratory, eye, hearing, hand, foot, head and skin protection, as well as equipment for working from heights. PPE protects against hazards such as impact, penetration, compression, chemicals, heat and cold, electricity, fire, radiation and biological contaminants. The levels of protection range from Category 1 to Category 4.
Today’s focus is on flame resistant PPE. As you shop for this type of workwear for yourself or your team, keep the following information in mind:
- FR stands for Flame Resistant, and FRC stands for Flame Resistant Clothing. Both acronyms indicate a material’s ability to self-extinguish once the ignition source is removed.
- Anyone who comes in contact with energized electrical equipment or works in an environment where electric arcs, flash fires or combustible dust explosions are possible should wear FR apparel.
- ATPV stands for Arc Thermal Performance Value, also referred to as an arc rating. Materials are labeled with an ATPV value that correlates with their performance when exposed to an electric arc discharge. The higher the rating, the greater the protection. You can find a clothing item’s arc rating on the label or by contacting your workwear supplier.
- The level of flame resistance needed for a job depends on the hazards found there. Consider that about 90 percent of electrical trade workers require Category 1 or 2 FRC. Category 1 has a minimum arc rating of 4, while Category 2 calls for an ATPV rating of 8 or higher.
- Various fabrics are used in FR clothing. Every product available in the safety market has earned the right to be there. Still, some fabrics may be preferred over others depending on the application.
- Because some FR garments can lose their flame resistant properties when repeatedly exposed to bleach, hydrogen peroxide and certain detergents, it’s best to leave washing to a professional industrial laundry service provider. This ensures all potentially flammable materials and soils are safely removed without harming the fabric’s FR treatment. (NOTE: Home laundering is less of a concern if you choose inherently flame resistant fabrics.)
Work-n-Wear offers a wide selection of PPE, including flame resistant workwear. Visit our Salem, Oregon store to browse our products and ask questions before you purchase protective clothing for yourself or your team. For more information, please contact us online or call (503) 364-3064.