FLAME RESISTANT CLOTHING SAVES LIVES
People working in any industry that are at risk of clothes igniting should wear flame resistant garments. The bottom line is that FR clothing saves lives. Most serious burns from industrial accidents are caused by regular work clothing igniting and burning the wearer. Thousands of clothing-related injuries due to fire occur each year. The most severe burns are often not caused by the original hazard, but rather are the secondary result of clothing igniting. This is why FR clothing is so important because FR fabric does not ignite and continue to burn.
FR clothing is essentially worn as insurance, but in the unlikely event of a flash fire or other catastrophe, FR clothing reduces burn injury, provides escape time, and increases chances of survival. Even though a person caught in a flash fire will likely have some injuries, FR clothing can dramatically reduce the severity, which can mean the difference between life and death.
FR CLOTHING CAN SAVE MONEY
Flame resistant clothing costs more to buy than everyday work clothing. However, FR clothing can be a great investment that saves money in the long run. All of our FR fabrics last considerably longer than standard work clothing, helping to offset a higher purchase price. Often, the cost of a single burn injury can exceed the cost of a complete FR clothing program.
The cost of a serious burn injury can be staggering. Direct costs include medical (including expensive burn units), prolonged recovery and rehabilitation, disability, and job retraining. Indirect costs include workers compensation, lost work time, increased insurance premiums and potential liability. Several companies have reported that the total cost of a single burn injury before FR clothing at over $2 million, and after FR clothing at less than $50,000 for a comparable exposure. In the first incident before an FR clothing program, the employee never returned to work. In the second incident, after an FR clothing program was implemented, the employee lost minimal work time.
COMPLY WITH OSHA LAWS AND STANDARDS
FR clothing programs help protect employees from injury and death, as well as protect the company. State and federal OSHA organizations require employers to protect employees from hazards in the workplace. OSHA has cited and fined numerous companies for not providing FR clothing under "Occupational Safety and Health Standards: Personal Protective Equipment."
In addition to laws, numerous voluntary consensus standards address the need for FR clothing in a variety of environments and industries. Standards are published by such well-respected organizations as American Society for Testing of Materials (ASTM) and National Fire Protection Associations (NFPA). While compliance is voluntary, OSHA considers a good-faith attempt to comply with standards as being evidence of an employer trying to protect its employees. Further, OSHA bases future laws in part on published standards, so what's voluntary today can become law tomorrow.
Often, industry practice is the best guide for companies considering a FR clothing program. For many industries, FR clothing has become the norm, just like safety glasses and hard hats. A company can experience many benefits by following industry practice which include: improved employee morale, better protected employees, reduced liability and complying with OSHA standards to avoid fines and citations.