At the 2019 Utility conference a presentation was put on concerning "Fire Retardant Clothing Relating to Utilities." It was quite informative, and good to hear the information again as a refresher. | would like to share some of the presentation with you as a refresher.
When is the best time to wear your Fire Retardant clothing at work?
Always, you don't know when there will be an arc flash. You also need to know the arc rating of your Fire Retardant Clothing. The arc rating of your clothing needs to be greater than that on which you are susceptible to. Layering your FR clothing increases your protection, but be aware that you are only receiving the arc flash protection of the least rated piece of clothing. You could wear two shirts and have a greater arc rating on the top of your body, but only a pair of 12 cal pants leaving your lower half vulnerable.
Do you know what cotton equals in arc flash? Fuel! Limit your exposure in the arc flash, wear FR under your shirts and pants. Wearing "performance" shirts and undergarments beneath your FR clothing is a big mistake. It will melt into your skin in an arc flash. So that "Under Armour" symbol will be permanently tattooed into your skin. Know how to care for your FR clothing. Also do not use any Oxi Clean on your Fire Retardant clothing.
Did you know that there are five to ten arc flash injuries a day in the United States? To have a fair chance of surviving an arc flash you need to be below the forty to fifty percent of your body burned mark. This is more important that the degree of burn. The shirt you wear has to be tucked in, buttoned up, with sleeves rolled down and buttoned to work to protect you.
Please take this information to heart. Put it to work for you. The most important job you have, no matter what it is you do, is to go home as healthy as you came to work!