New Flame-Resistant PPE from Bulwark FR
Are heat, flash fires and arc fires possible in your workplace? If so, it’s important your employees have the proper flame-resistant personal protective equipment (PPE). Many companies require their workers to wear this type of protection on the job, but the current options for flame-resistant PPE are often heavy, itchy and hot. This is because […]
Are heat, flash fires and arc fires possible in your workplace? If so, it’s important your employees have the proper flame-resistant personal protective equipment (PPE).
Many companies require their workers to wear this type of protection on the job, but the current options for flame-resistant PPE are often heavy, itchy and hot. This is because to make clothing fire-resistant, a fabric—like cotton—often needs to be treated with special chemicals. These chemicals add weight to the material and can make it feel stiff. Other flame-resistant alternatives include natural materials like wool, which is heat resistant, but these options don’t provide as much protection from fires.
Soon, though, employers and employees will have new flame-resistant clothing options that will be significantly more comfortable. Bulwark FR, a company that’s been creating innovative flame-resistant clothing for 42 years, has developed a new line of flame-resistant products made from unique polyester blends. This new line, called the iQ Series, is the first to make polyester a viable option for workers at risk of heat and fire exposure in the workplace.
Technology Revolutionizes Polyester
Bulwark FR observed workers at oil, gas, electrical and manufacturing companies to see how they work and what a shirt needs to be able to do. Then Bulwark FR partnered with fabric maker Milliken to develop these new products, and the fabrics actually involve a new type of chemistry. Researchers at Milliken created a surface-bonding agent that prevents polyester from burning.
Polyester has grown in popularity in the larger clothing market, especially in performance wear such as athletic apparel. Now businesses and manufacturers can take advantage of the moisture-wicking properties this fabric has to offer. The new apparel will be soft, durable and breathable, too. (In fact, the new fabric is twice as breathable as a comparable flame-resistant knit fabric.) In the case of an emergency like a fire or arc flash, employees will not face the same amount of risk that they would if they were wearing traditional polyester, which could burn onto the skin.
The positive qualities of this new PPE will also make employees more likely to wear it. Oftentimes employees prefer not to wear flame-resistant clothing because it is uncomfortable, so they roll up their sleeves or adjust it in other ways that might risk their safety. Because comfort was a driving factor in the creation of the iQ Series, Bulwark FR’s new products may help reduce improper use of flame-resistant PPE.
Bulwark Shirts Offer Many New Features
The iQ Series offers many basic work shirts including short and long-sleeve tees, polos and button-down shirts for men. Long-sleeve polos and button-down shirts are also available for women. All the shirts come in a variety of colors, have received arc ratings ranging from ATPV 6.3 to 8.2 calories/cm2—meaning they’ll help keep employees safe should an arc flash occur—and can be easily washed in the washing machine at home. All products meet the NFPA 2112 Standard on Flame Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire as well, and these labels are sewn onto the garments’ sleeves for easy visibility.
Bulwark FR plans to have these new products available for purchase in stores in July and August, and prices will be comparable to those of currently available flame-resistant apparel. Given the price and the potential benefits of these new products, the iQ Series seems like it will be worth trying out in a variety of work environments.