How to Layer Fire-Resistant Clothing

At CarbonX, our flame-resistant clothing is highly protective on its own, but we know that some jobs require extra safety precautions. CarbonX knows a thing or two about flame-resistant clothing, so we created an FR clothing layering guide just for you.

Layering is a great way to maximize the effectiveness of FR clothing, but it also has other benefits. It makes it easier to switch between different tasks because you can simply add or remove an outer layer, such as a coverall, to meet the safety requirements. Layering also helps you stay cooler and more comfortable in the workplace because you will only have to wear the heaviest garments as needed, rather than at all times.

Understanding Arc Ratings When Layering FR Clothing

Arc ratings apply to fire-resistant clothing and measure the ability of various FR garments to protect you from second-degree burns. Any piece of FR equipment that has an arc rating has been tested for exposure to an arc flash. The higher the arc rating, the greater the protection.

From there, the arc rating can be compared to the incident energy, which is the amount of heat that hits a surface in the event of an arc flash. The incident energy number differs based on the equipment you are using and how you are using it. If the arc rating of your FR clothing is higher than the incident energy, you won’t get burned.

When you layer garments of different arc ratings, you increase your protection against arc flashes. However, you do not necessarily add the arc ratings of each piece of clothing to get the total arc rating of the layered clothing. Often, layered FR clothing will have a higher arc rating than the sum of the individual arc ratings because the layers of air between each layer further increase protection.

When selecting FR clothing to layer for your job, make sure you have an accurate understanding of the safety rules and compliance standards where you work.

Selecting a Base Layer

Your base layer of flame-resistant clothing should be non-melting, as this is the layer of clothing that sits directly on your skin. In the event of an arc flash or other high-heat situations, a non-melting base layer will help keep you safe.

For your own comfort, you’ll also want your base layer to be moisture-wicking. Staying dry under all those FR layers is key to proper temperature regulation.

Selecting an Outer Layer

It is crucial that your outer layer is flame resistant so that it can’t catch fire and counteract the effects of your other layers. You’ll also want to think about mobility, as woven outer layers can sometimes be stiff or bulky. Finally, consider the climate where you work. Outer layers can also help keep you warm and avoid cold stress if you work outside in the winter.

CarbonX specializes in fire-resistant clothing designed to keep you safe, dry and comfortable while on the job. We offer a wide range of products to fit your workplace safety needs, so you’ll never have to worry about whether you’re protected from hazards or up to code again.

Posted in Blog on Jun 08, 2021.