How Flame-Resistant Clothing Protects Electrical Workers
Electrical workers are constantly putting themselves into harm’s way. The risk of an unexpected arc flash is just one of the hazards they face on a day-to-day basis, and having the right work apparel can mean the difference between life and death.
Flame-resistant clothing saves lives
Most electrical injuries are a result of arc-flash or flash fire, which can stem from any number of root causes. Injuries can occur as a result of the electrical worker not wearing flame-resistant clothing; if they are wearing non-flame-resistant apparel made of cotton or poly-cotton, their clothing could easily ignite and burn, causing severe burn injuries that are painful, disfiguring, and can result in loss of life. Flame-resistant workwear helps to protect electrical workers from these and other perils.
Some of the causes of arc-flash or flash fire include:
Working on energized areas that were supposed to be de-energized
Equipment should always be de-energized before repair work is performed on it – unless it has been deemed that it is infeasible to do so based on the design of the equipment, or when working de-energized may increase risk. For example, when performing electrical work in a hospital, it may be infeasible to de-energize because it would put patients at risk.
Energized work may be completely unnecessary in situations where the worker is ill-prepared, inexperienced, in a hurry, or if it will inconvenience operations – such as if it would halt production in a factory, for instance. In this case, it may cost the owner money to de-energize, but it may result in grievous injury from an electrical arc-flash.
Arc-flash creates a risk of explosion and flash fire
An electrical explosion can happen when working around electricity in industrial environments, or when working on electrical panels. This can happen because of dust, corrosion, wires being accidentally crossed, poorly installed wiring, poorly maintained electrical equipment, or for any number of reasons.
Wearing flame-resistant clothing is meant to protect the electrical worker in any situation, and can help to save lives, even when the worker is put in harm’s way through no fault of their own.
Electrical workers come in contact with these hazards every single day, but even the most safety-conscious of them will sometimes fail to protect themselves adequately. Properly worn, flame-resistant workwear can protect against arc-flash, flash fire, and all of the various open-flame perils that might otherwise stop them in their tracks.
Are you wearing your flame-resistant workwear properly?
Although there are legally-mandated safety standards for workers who are exposed to electrical hazards, many electrical workers still make these common mistakes:
- Wearing non-flame-resistant apparel over top of flame-resistant garments. Even if the under layer is flame-resistant, there is a risk of the top layer burning and causing unnecessary injury.
- Wearing non-flame-resistant apparel underneath flame-resistant garments. Some synthetic fabrics can actually melt and bond to the skin in high-heat situations. Wearing the appropriate flame-resistant undergarments give you an extra layer of protection.
- Rolling up sleeves, not tucking shirt-tails, or unzipping outerwear: any of these scenarios causes the skin to be exposed, creates inefficiencies in the garment’s protective design, and increases the potential for severe burning to occur. It’s always better to wear appropriately weighted and properly fitted flame-resistant apparel to be both comfortable and safe.
Flame-resistant clothing comes in all weights and a number of styles to suit just about any body type and protect from any hazardous work situation. Remember – burn injuries are among the most painful and expensive to recover from, and if you’re not properly clothed it may cost you your livelihood, or worse, your life.
Safety Workwear: committed to protecting electrical workers every day
Arc-flash and flash fires are often unexpected and can cause serious, sustained injury if the electrical worker is unprotected. Wearing flame-resistant clothing can help them to perform their jobs safely and comfortably, allowing them to focus on the task at hand. Browse our selection of flame-resistant workwear, and check this space often for more safety tips and information.