Flame resistant garments are a necessity for any employee who may be at risk of coming into contact with electric arc events, flash fires or combustible dust explosions to protect the skin against burns and minimise the risk of injury.
Burns are a common health & safety issue in some workplaces, especially those that work with naked flames, chemicals and high temperatures.
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 places a duty of care on employers to ensure the safety of their employees whilst working with heat and flame. It also states that when two layers are worn (for example an overall and base layer) both layers must be resistant to heat and flame and worn correctly.
But how do flame resistant garments work?
For a garment to be considered flame resistant, the item must be made of fabric that can withstand ignition or have the ability to quickly self-extinguish to protect the wearer.
PPE garments that have these flame-resistant qualities include the Arc & Flame Protective Clothing brand STRATA protection, which have been specifically created to endure potentially fatal hazards and challenging working conditions – a necessity for many industries.
Used in conjunction with flame resistant components such as buttons and zips that are non-conductive and will not melt on to the skin, these flame-resistant garments also provide thermal insulation that protects the skin from heat and safeguards against the fabric breaking open and exposing the skin of the wearer if exposure to heat or flame were to occur.
Not only must flame resistant garments safeguard against directly applied heat, but they must also protect against splashes of molten metals.
Maintaining your flame-resistant garments is essential to protect any employee that may come into contact with heat, flame or molten liquids. Although such garments are high quality and fit for purpose, unfortunately they do not last forever and will require repair or replacement from time to time.
It is important to select your garments carefully as not all flame-resistant clothing has inherent properties, meaning the flame-resistant treatment on the fabric would need to be re-applied after every wash. The Strata Protection range of clothing is inherent meaning the flame-resistant properties of the fabrics are active for the life time of the garment.
Repairing a flame-resistant garment must be done properly to maintain the integrity of the item and protect the wearer. Small patches of non-flame-resistant materials added to ‘patch’ holes or tears present a risk of burns, therefore, to ensure they are repaired correctly they should either be professionally repaired or a replacement provided as soon as they are noticed to protect employees.
Failure to maintain the garment won’t just place your employees at risk of burns, but you’ll also find yourselves on the wrong side of the law should you neglect to provide the appropriate flame-resistant PPE. Therefore, it is always best practice to have a good stock of flame resistant garments to hand in case of any damages.
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