Why Following Instructions Is Important with FR Clothes
Each piece of fireproof clothing you purchase comes with instructions for use, and it’s important to follow these instructions carefully in order to get full protection. If part of your job is purchasing FR clothing for workers at your company, simply passing along instructions for wear may not be sufficient. CarbonX explains why below.
Skirting Rules of PPE
Recently, Formula 1 racing officials discovered that some of the drivers in Australia were not conforming to the rules regarding how their fireproof clothing should be worn. This may have been an honest mistake on their part (if they were not fully informed of best practices), or it may have been a conscious choice.
Racecar driving is inherently dangerous, and to compete, drivers must believe that their skills, luck and other factors will combine to keep them safe during a race. Some may believe that these factors are powerful enough to overcome unnecessary risks.
Race scrutineers discovered upon inspection of the drivers that some were wearing unapproved underwear under their PPE while others were wearing jewelry. Both of these are banned and considered hazards.
Impediments to FR Clothing
Fire protective clothing is often worn in at least two layers — inners and outers. Not every job requires both. However, if you outfit your workers with inner FR clothes that are intended to protect the skin from burns and they put other clothing in between their PPE and their skin, they are reducing the effectiveness of the FR gear.
Likewise, jewelry can heat up and increase the severity of burns, as well as reduce the effectiveness of fireproof clothing. Additionally, jewelry can impede the quick removal of PPE and the subsequent treatment of a burn victim.
Educating Workers About Fireproof Clothes
Formula 1 racers must submit to inspections before racing and are subject to disqualification for not adhering to the rules. You may not have such stringent rules in place at your shop, but if you don’t, you may want to do all you can to ensure workers are wearing their flame-retardant garments properly.
Even though fireproof clothing can save lives on the job, many workers will not take the time to read the instructions for wearing and washing carefully. As horrible as accidents on the job can be, if protocols are being followed, they don’t happen often, and this may lull workers into a false sense of security.
As the person in charge of fire protective clothing at your workplace, it may fall to you to learn exactly how these garments should be worn and cared for. You may ask workers to sign for their PPE, indicating that they accept the responsibility to educate themselves about how to use and take care of it. This would offer you some protection from liability, but what may be better is to hold meetings at your shop to ensure workers understand how their fire-resistant clothing should be worn. By taking attendance at these meetings, you can be sure everyone has the information they need.
After that, if they choose to ignore the recommendations for wear and care of their work safety gear, then they are subject to the consequences.
Get CarbonX FR Gear for Peace of Mind
Undoubtedly one of the reasons Formula 1 has scrutineers is to avoid the bad press that can come with a serious injury or death due to burns. If you fear the same for your workplace, you may want to introduce inspections as well.
Posted in Blog on Jun 14, 2022.