From welding and firefighting to race car driving to electrical engineering, plenty of jobs involve working around potential flame hazards. Although Fire Resistant or Fire Retardant (FR) clothing does not make a person immune to burns, it does substantially increase their chances of survival if they come in contact with a sudden burst of fire.
Facts about fire/burn injuries
According to the American Burn Association (ABA), 45,000 people are hospitalized for burn injuries per year, while 3,500 die from fire and burns. A 2005 report released by the ABA said approximately 90 percent of reported injuries resulted from accidents. Work-related injuries made up 17 percent of all cases, and 10,639 burn injuries occurred at industrial sites.
Anyone who has ever gotten a burn, even a small one, knows how painful they are and how long they can sometimes take to heal. The recovery process for larger burns can be excruciating and may keep a person out of work for quite a while. In addition, burns to a visible part of the body such as the face, hands, or arms may result in permanent scarring or disfigurement and leave a person in emotional distress.
Apart from damaging a person physically and emotionally, burn injuries also are extremely expensive to treat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fire and burn injuries cost $7.5 billion per year.
Features of FR clothing
A prevalent issue in burn cases is clothing that ignites and continues to burn quickly. While FR clothing decreases the chances of the wearer being burned, it also gives them a chance to escape. The clothing is made of materials that either resist fire altogether or burn extremely slow. Fabrics also are made so they do not melt on the skin if ablaze.
The clothing comes in many forms: shirts, pants, overalls, and lab coats to name a few. Although FR clothing is pricier than traditional clothing options, it is said to last longer. Garments are made to be well-fitted and lightweight to ensure safety and ease of movement.
Employers' requirements to provide FR clothing
Perhaps most important is the fact that companies are required to provide workers with FR clothing if they work around fire or chemical hazards that may cause injury. This is found under Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910.132(a) by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration.
Ultimately, regardless of whether a company or an individual spends the money on FR clothing, the feeling of safety and a saved life is worth every penny spent