Flame Resistant Uniforms, Or Get Sued

By Sitex Corp   /    Thursday, October 7, 2010   /  

There are many professionals out there that work in hazardous environments, sometimes even life threatening environments. Even though these people are trained on worst case scenarios and safety procedures, there is still the risk of WHAT IF…

Just recently, OSHA set a new policy in place requiring certain industries to wear flame resistant garments (FRC garments). Under paragraph 5a1, the General Duty clause of the federal OSHA Act, it is the employer’s responsibility to identify risks and hazards in the workplace and seek out appropriate protective garments and equipment for the protection of workers.

In making this hazard assessment, the employer must consider the risks present and the most appropriate means of addressing those risks. Where ignition risks are present, flame-resistant protective garments can become a prudent part of an action plan to address these concerns.

You might ask the question:

How do I choose the correct Flame-Resistant Garments?

Any flame and thermal protective fabric must provide the wearer with the expected degree of protection for the useful life of the garment.  Garments are specified based on the employer’s evaluation of workplace hazards. Protective garments, which function as wearing apparel for normal work activities, must be comfortable and durable while achieving appearance that is acceptable to both the employer and the wearer. 

In addition to these general considerations, there may be other hazards present such as chemical or molten substance exposure. Finally, these multi-use garments must be able to withstand laundering to remove soils and flammable contaminants and be returned to service without excessive color loss, fuzzing/pilling (surface appearance change) or excessive shrinkage.

There have been numerous cases recently where OSHA has fined companies for not assessing their work environment and employees are not wearing FR garments. 

These fines aren’t for small amounts either…

So the big questions is…Do you take the risk of getting sued or pay the extra money to protect your employees?