For those of you new to PPE, starting a new job that holds you responsible for ordering must-have items of workwear, and those who may be concerned that the PPE you’ve been assigned isn’t fit for purpose, it’s essential that you understand the difference between flame resistant and flame-retardant clothing.
Although both of these terms sound similar, there are in fact several key differences that could prove to be critical to your safety in high-risk areas, so let’s take a look at both types before moving on to some of the reasons why these garments are so important.
By definition, the term ‘fire resistant’ means that the object or material in question will not be harmed or affected by flames. There are two naturally flame-resistant fibres that are often used in flame resistant garments called DuPont and Nomex. Due to the molecule structure of these un-flammable fibres, they resist the flame or heat source by swelling in size and providing a thicker, protective layer to cover the skin.
These two fibres also do not melt, burn or drop when exposed to flames, making them perfect for PPE where the risk of fire or flame is present.
Flame retardant fabrics work differently and seek to slow down and extinguish the spread of fire. However, these fabrics are not flame resistant and have a chemical treatment either added to the finished woven fabric or have a chemical added to the fibres during the textile process.
These chemicals react when introduced to flame and release gases that help to slow down and smother the flame by removing oxygen.
If you are an employer, it is your duty of care to protect your employees from the potential risk for fire and to provide them with suitable garments to protect them from burns that could be life-threatening or even fatal.
By carrying out a risk assessment on your workplace tasks, you can ascertain which protective clothing you require to ensure the safety and wellbeing of your workers.
With an extensive range of flame resistant and flame-retardant clothing available, Warewell is on hand to answer any queries or questions you might have about these ranges. We can offer expert advice on which garments will be best suited to your industry, so get in touch to ensure that your staff have everything they need to stay protected from flame risk.