What is Fire-Retardant Clothing?
Certain classes of workers are required wear fire retardant clothing in Australia. These can be divided into three categories based on their primary dangers.
- The electric arc category includes electricians and utility workers.
- The flash fire category includes pharmaceutical manufacturing, chemical processing, and oil refinery workers.
- The combustible dust category includes those who work in the food processing and paper-making industry.
Fire retardant workwear is usually labeled FR and is designed to give wearers a certain degree of protection in case they come in contact with fire or heat.
Of course, most fire-retardant clothing cannot protect wearers against full or prolonged exposure, but it is effective at preventing serious burns or injuries if an individual comes in contact with flames or heat.
This means that fire retardant workwear generally will not catch fire and will be able to smother and extinguish brief flames. This provides workers with time to escape sudden bursts of flame or heat, such as a flash fire or electric arc.
Is There a Difference Between Fire-Retardant and Flame-Resistant Clothing?
FR clothing can either be fire retardant or fire resistant. Both are quite similar, but there are some key differences. Fire retardant clothing are usually chemically treated and will be able to self-extinguish flames, but this property may fade with time.
In contrast, the fibers in flame resistant clothing do not ignite, meaning that the fire resistant properties of flame resistant clothing will last as long as the fibers themselves last.
How to Pick Fire-Retardant Clothing
The benefits of fire-retardant clothing are huge, especially in workplaces that are at risk of fires. Fire can start up and spread extremely quickly, so the extra minutes or seconds that fire-retardant clothing can provide you may very well save your life.
Choosing fire-retardant gear for your employees carefully will help you comply with the law while improving employee morale and reducing workplace injuries.
First, you must consider the fit of a fire resistant garment. Looser garments actually offer better protection due to space in between the garment and the wearer. In comparison, tight garments can put your skin in contact with flames much quicker.
Keep in mind that loose garments should still contour to the body and not be baggy, which comes with an added risk of snagging or pulling on switches or corners. Next, consider your budget and whether you can afford flame resistant workwear.
It may be more expensive, but it will provide a higher degree of protection and last much longer. Finally, make sure your flame resistant workwear choices comply with Australian laws. For reference, relevant laws include AS/NZS ISO 2801:2008, AS4967-2006, and AS4824-2006.
To protect your employees and promote a safe working environment, make sure that you can provide comfortable and effective workwear in Melbourne.