There’s a little bit of truth to every meme. Now hopefully you’ve never caught on fire while welding, but let’s face the facts, it’s a whole lot more of a possibility than most lines of work or hobbies. You’re not generally playing with heat hot enough to melt metal during golf or working in an office. Fire isn’t something that should be feared, but based on the very nature of welding, fire is something that should be respected and taken seriously. Because of this, it’s important to know: Is there just one type of flame-resistant clothing and when do you know if you’ve got adequate protection?
What is Flame Resistant?
Just because your gloves are flame resistant, doesn’t mean fire will simply bounce off. Flame-resistant clothing will still burn when it’s directly exposed to a flame. However, as soon as the clothing is removed from the fire, it should cease to burn. Flame-resistant clothing is generally made from self-extinguishing materials that don’t allow fire to continue to burn. This means a thick, flame-resistant jacket gives you ample time to remove yourself from a fire before any damage is done.
Flame Resistant Vs. Flame Retardant
Flame-Resistant clothing is often referred to as FR clothing. This can be somewhat misleading. FR clothing is mostly split into two main groups: Flame Resistant and Flame Retardant. Flame Resistant means the fabric of the clothing is literally made of resistant material. You couldn’t remove the flame-resistant aspect from the fabric if you tried. Flame-resistant clothing won’t lose its self-extinguishing properties no matter how many times you wear or wash it.
Fire-Retardant clothing is regular clothing covered in a coat of fire-resistant material. In essence, it functions just the same as flame-resistant clothing but the downside is that this resistant coating can be lost. High-quality clothing that’s fire retardant will keep its protective qualities for a long time, but if you go with cheap gear, you might find it’s no longer flame resistant in a matter of months.
Do You Need FR Clothing?
Alright, let’s be as straight forward as possible. If you don’t have darkened lenses to protect your eyes, you will be injured. That’s a guarantee. On the other hand, if you don’t wear FR clothing, you won’t immediately burst into flame. But you’re taking a risk.
Making sure you’re completely covered from harmful UV rays created by a welding arc is the first step. But the cost difference between a normal jacket and a FR welding jacket is nothing when compared to the benefits. You’re statistically going to have an accident at some point. Good protection with FR clothing means that accident doesn’t end up as a very expensive trip to the hospital.
For some jobs, OSHA requires certain levels of FA clothing protection. If you’re planning on working in the oil and drilling, chemical or explosive industries, you’ll have no choice but to be safe. Be aware that there are varying degrees of FA clothing so make sure the gear you’re buying is adequate before you purchase.
Finding reliable FA clothing is a challenge. Just because a brand is expensive doesn’t mean they’re putting that extra money into their product. It’s best to stick with companies you know you can trust like Black Stallion. For over 40 years, they’ve been supplying some of the best welding gear in the industry at an honest price.
For a limited time, you can get 15% off Black Stallion gear with code: REVCO15. Hurry though, this offer is almost up.