There are many hazardous jobs requiring specialized Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In this article, we’ll be providing a detailed discussion on jobs that require FR clothing. Flame resistant or flame retardant materials will prevent the clothing from combusting when exposed to a flame or electric arc.
I’m sure most folks think of firemen when the topic of FR clothing in the workplace arises. Sure, this is probably the most extreme case where workers need to make full use of fire PPE. Heading into a blazing building is not what everyone expects during the average workday.
While fire fighters are possibly top on the list of jobs that require Flame Resistant clothing, there are many more common jobs where employees are at risk from flash fires, explosions, and electrical arcs. These jobs will require various types of FR clothing, like FR pants, FR overalls, shirts, and gloves.
The US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued several memorandums instructing employers on the correct fire resistant clothing requirements for various industries.
The identified risks are:
The Top Jobs Where FR Clothing is Required
While there are many professions that may require flame resistant clothing occasionally or on a more regular basis, we’ll be discussing the most common working environments where workers are required to wear FR clothing.
Working with electricity has many hazards, least of which is the risk of an electrical arc. When a high amperage current passes between two open points an arc flash can occur. The temperature of an electric arc is so high that it can not be measured. It can melt the hardest metals in an instant.
Electricians and workers in power generation plants should wear FR clothing that is also arc-resistant.
Electric Utility Line Workers
Working on high-voltage electric utility lines is one of the most dangerous jobs there is. Only the bravest amongst us will venture up into the air to work lines that are potentially deadly. They get paid well for this and deserve this.
Apart from the dangers of working at extreme heights and the risk of electrocution and arcing, utility line workers also need work in any type of weather. When the power goes down, these guys are the ones that get it working again. This can often happen during a storm, increasing the risk of a lighting strike, which is yet another fire hazard.
Working in a mine is fraught with danger, accidents can happen in an instant without warning. Mining often requires the use of explosives which is obviously a hazard. Flash fires are one of the dangers faced mine workers. In order to be prepared for these dangers, flame resistant clothing is vital.
Pharmaceutical Plant Workers
People working in the pharmaceutical industry are exposed to many hazards because of the materials they work with. The risk of a flash fire makes FR clothing an essential part of the PPE required for pharmaceutical plant workers.
Chemical Plant Workers
Working with hazardous chemicals can result in chemical burns and respiratory disorders. These are but a few of the potential risks. Since many chemicals are highly flammable, workers may be exposed to a flash fire or explosion from accidents in the workplace. It is quite obvious that FR clothing is important for these jobs.
Oil and Gas Industry
Whether it’s working on an oil rig or constructing and repairing oil and gas pipelines, the risk of flash fires and electric arcs are a constant danger in the oil and gas industry. There is a myriad of PPE requirements for workers in these industries, including flame resistant clothing.
Pulp and Paper Industry
This may seem like a light-duty, low-risk job. What could possibly go wrong making paper? In fact, workers in the Pulp and paper industry have to face real dangers every day. Wood and paper are highly flammable and there’s also the risk of combustible dust explosions.
Like so many other high-risk jobs, workers in the pulp and paper industry need to be prepared for the occurrence of flash fire. These workers will be required to wear fore resistant clothing.
Form welders to people working in a metal foundry, metalworkers need to be constantly aware of fire hazards. Molten metal can cause a lot of harm, burning anything comes into contact with. Cutting metal with grinding equipment produces sparks that cause a fie easily. Welders and plasma cutters produce an arc that is equally dangerous. Injuries from burns and fire are a serious consideration for anyone smelting, cutting, or welding metal.
Of all the hazardous jobs, metal workers are probably the people who face the risk of fire most often. There are so many scenarios that can cause a fire when working with metal. Not to mention the danger of burns that can result from handling hot metal. Few jobs require as much FR clothing as the metalworking industry. It is an essential requirement for the job.
While this article has listed and described some of the most common jobs that require FR clothing, there are other less-common professions that may require some degree of fire protection.
If you’re considering a career in profession that poses a risk to your safety, do thorough research into the PPE requirements for that job. Fire resistant clothing may be only one of many types of PPE that you’ll need. Safety boots, masks, protective head gear, and eye protection are very common, often essential PPE.
If you intend buying fire resistant clothing for your job, you need to fully understand what this entails. Take some time to find out what types of materials are used for FR clothing as they are not all the same. Do you have other special requirements? You may need that FR clothing that can withstand chemicals or arc resistant fire resistant clothing.
Since you’ll be wearing your FR clothing for long hours on the job, make sure that you buy clothing that fits comfortably. You may also want to consider how hot your working environment is. Protective workwear can often be uncomfortably hot, and some offer cooling vents or insulation.
In the end, your FR clothing may well save your life someday. Make sure that you get all the facts before deciding which fire resistant clothing will work best for the job that you do.
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