Hot. Heavy. Stiff. Itchy.
Anyone who has worn a flame-resistant (FR) garment might use the four adjectives above to describe the experience of wearing such apparel. However, for many workers throughout the oil and gas value chain, uncomfortable FR apparel is a necessary burden in order to protect oneself from flash fire hazards on the job.
“Most everyone at refineries must wear something for flash fire protection,” said Jan Newman, president of Rosedale, La.-based Medical/Professional Protective Clothing, Inc. (MED-PRO).
The extent of one’s FR garment coverage depends on one’s exposure to active plant units, she said. For instance, a craftsperson at greater risk of encountering a flammable event may wear coveralls and other protective gear while a supervisor might comply with safety regulations by wearing a FR shirt and pants, Newman explained.
“There are two major categories of FR fabrics used in the secondary FR protection market: natural fiber fabrics such as 100-percent cotton that are treated to be FR, and inherent fiber fabrics that are man-made to be FR in the fiber state and are then made into FR fabrics,” said Chris Holcombe, vice president and general manager of the FR garment maker Bulwark FR. “They both have their benefits and drawbacks. One must evaluate the fabrics’ cost, comfort and durability based on the job application to choose appropriately.” Read More