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As Workrite sits poised to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2013, it’s hard not to think about what kind of heritage we’re creating. Anniversaries are an important and honorable milestone. Those milestones are only significant, however, when you can back up their value. What makes our 40th anniversary special?
Workrite recognizes the different complexities and unique situations companies face. We have compiled a comprehensive list of our most common questions and answers, but if there is anything that remains unclear or you have a question not listed here, do not hesitate to contact us at 1-800-521-1888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more detailed information, including our Evaluation Basics video, which outlines key parameters for assessing flame-resistant fabrics and suppliers, visit Workrite Interactive.
A: Workrite’s FR clothing is designed to protect against possible intermittent flame and thermal exposures. The key attribute of FR is that it self-extinguishes, which can significantly reduce burn injury and gives the wearer valuable escape time. This increases the chances of survival if caught in an electric arc, flash fire or other thermal hazard. Providing FR clothing also demonstrates management’s commitment to employee safety and well-being, and can therefore improve employee morale.
A: Primary protective clothing is designed to be worn for activities where significant exposure to molten substance splash, radiant heat and flame is likely to occur. An example of primary protective clothing is firefighter turnout gear or aluminized suits. Workrite garments are not designed for use as primary protective clothing. Secondary protective clothing is designed for continuous wear in designated locations where intermittent exposure to molten substance splash, radiant heat and flame is possible (as defined by ASTM Standard F1002). Workrite flame-resistant garments are designed for use as secondary protective clothing.
A: FR clothing programs are required in many industries by OSHA regulations, and fines are common when the companies fail to provide the proper safety equipment. FR clothing also serves as an insurance policy if an accident were to happen. Paying for one burn injury can far exceed the cost of an entire FR clothing program—and it only takes one accident.
A: The purpose of test methods and standards is to enable users to objectively evaluate materials and define minimum performance criteria for fabrics and garments across industries. Although conforming to these standards is generally voluntary, using FR products that meet these standards’ performance requirements is an effective way to ensure your employees are wearing acceptable and protective FR garments.
A: OSHA has a history of citing employers for not providing appropriate protective equipment, including FR clothing. Not complying with the laws can leave your company open to fines from OSHA and litigation from other sources.
A: 100% cotton is flammable—it will ignite and continue to burn after being exposed to an ignition source. Most people understand the burning and melting hazard of fibers such as nylon and polyester; however, cotton burns just as readily, if not even more quickly. Therefore, 100% cotton should not be used in applications that require or recommend FR clothing.
A: FR clothing is certainly priced higher than standard work clothing. However, some FR garments have a significantly longer wear life than basic workwear, decreasing replacement costs over time. Additionally, the cost of one serious burn injury can often pay for an entire FR clothing program, let alone one FR garment.
A: Often times the union considers FR clothing to be an added benefit. When people understand the purpose of FR clothing and are included in the decision-making process, most unions support providing FR clothing to their members. The union should see an FR program as a way to protect union members from the hazards of the workplace.
Because establishing FR programs can potentially be viewed as “forcing” people into uniforms, it is critical that the union be fully aware of the purpose of the program early in the decision-making process to ensure employee buy-in.
A: It is the responsibility of the employer to understand the hazards in the workplace and to define those areas that require protective equipment, including FR clothing. In some industries, such as electric utilities, the hazards can be calculated. In others, experts in the process or environment must assess the hazard potential. Some companies have “inside the gate” FR clothing policies, requiring anyone on the premises to wear FR clothing. Other companies provide FR clothing to certain employees for use when performing specific tasks.
A: A number of criteria should be evaluated when selecting an FR garment manufacturer, including their selection of multiple fabrics and styles, garment quality, price, delivery capabilities, customer service, quality control process, guarantees, focus on FR and the ability to provide technical expertise to help your company develop the optimal FR program to meet your unique needs and application.
Workrite prides itself on being solely dedicated to the development and manufacture of FR workwear and providing knowledgeable consultation, top-quality fabric, precise manufacturing, dedicated account executives, increased garment durability due to special construction techniques, professional garment appearance and excellent customer service. There may be other FR garment manufacturers that provide some of these advantages, but Workrite has 40 years of experience providing the full package to some of the largest corporations in North America.
A: No one fabric is the best, and each hazard is different. There are many FR fabrics available today that provide excellent FR protection in a number of environments. All FR products have a balance of properties, including protection, cost, comfort, appearance, color selection and wear life. Each company should select the product that provides the best protection for its specific workplace hazards. Workrite’s large product offering features multiple fabrics from the industry's top manufacturers. Download a chart outlining all of the fabric Workrite uses.
A: Only our customers know what specific hazards their employees face in the workplace. Understanding these hazards, and the corresponding protection level required, is the first step in developing an FR program. With that information, you can review Workrite’s large selection of workwear, which features a variety of different fabrics. Each selection has a unique set of properties as it relates to protection level, cost and longevity. However, all the fabrics we offer are branded products from industry-leading suppliers and are clearly labeled.
A: The FR performance of the products offered by Workrite is guaranteed for the life of the garment. For some products, the FR performance is inherent in the chemical composition of the fiber, and therefore the FR performance cannot be removed. For other products, the flame-retardant treatment has been applied to the fabric and is guaranteed for the life of the garment, provided that proper laundering procedures are followed.
A: Unfortunately, there is no way of testing the FR performance of a garment in the field without destroying the garment in the process. Furthermore, test results from one garment are not necessarily indicative of the performance of other garments in the program. Therefore, we recommend using only FR products from which the fabric manufacturer guarantees the protection lasts for the life of the garment.
A: FR clothing is a safety item for personnel working in environments with a hazard that could ignite their clothing, and some fabrics are at heavier weights than you might find in everyday street clothing. And FR clothing is designed to cover your arms and legs. A variety of FR fabrics are available today, some of which are perceived as being more comfortable than others. Workrite supports wear trials, and our sales team will work with you and your employees to find the garments that protect against your hazard and are comfortable to wear.
Workrite understands that workers are more likely to wear garments that are comfortable and attractive, so we work with fabric suppliers to utilize fabrics that maximize both protection and comfort, such as lighter-weight Nomex® fabrics. We also implement special construction techniques that allow for more ease of movement and functionality on the job (e.g., longer shirt tails that won’t come out of pants when reaching overhead).
A: The looser fitting the FR garments, the more thermal protection the clothing system will provide. Air is a very effective insulator; therefore, maintaining an air gap between the clothing and skin will improve thermal protection. However, a loose fit must be balanced against the hazard of clothing being caught in moving equipment. Most FR products will shrink and should be sized accordingly. Shrinkage of more than 5% actually takes the garment down by one full size.
A: FR garments should be worn over non-melting fabrics or other FR materials such as 100% cotton, wool or silk. For example, one recommended combination is wearing a Nomex® IIIA coverall over an FR t-shirt. Layering garments in this manner increases the thermal protection of the clothing system by adding "air gaps" that provide excellent thermal insulation, as well as adding an extra layer of FR protection.
A: Because DEET-containing insect repellants contain flammable chemicals, applying them topically to FR garments may be detrimental to the FR garment’s ability to protect the wearer. Testing has shown that applying insect repellant containing DEET to the garment itself increases the duration of the surface flame when exposed to a fire hazard. Therefore, Workrite recommends applying insect repellant directly to the skin and not to the garment itself.
A: Heat stress occurs when the body is unable to release the heat being generated quickly enough. This generally takes place while doing physical labor in hot, humid conditions. Because the body releases most of its heat by radiating it from the skin, anything that inhibits that release has the potential to contribute to the onset of heat stress. The most effective ways to reduce the potential for heat stress are to take regular rest breaks, drink plenty of water and take advantage of shade whenever possible. Although the type of garment or fabric can contribute to the problem, research indicates that typical work garment styles and fabrics play a relatively minor role. If the fabric allows heat to radiate off the body by not trapping it, and if it can move sweat off the skin and onto the surface of the fabric (wicking) where it can evaporate, that can be of some help. Therefore, FR fabrics that are lighter weight, are more air permeable and that wick moisture are preferable.
A: Most FR garments can be laundered at home using "normal" detergents and procedures. Most FR garments prohibit the use of chlorine bleach for a variety of reasons and should be laundered separately. Fabric softeners are discouraged. Many FR products can also be industrially laundered. Each Workrite garment contains a label with home laundering instructions, and Workrite can provide industrial laundering instructions upon request. Laundering instructions vary by FR fabric, so please check labels carefully before laundering.
A: FR garments should be repaired with FR materials and components consistent with the original materials in the garment. Repairing FR garments with non-FR thread or fabric can compromise the thermal performance of the garment. Workrite can do repairs or provide the appropriate materials upon request.
A: The wear life of FR clothing is dependent on the type of fabric used and the quality of the garment construction. Some types of garments can last more than five years while other types may last 9 to 18 months. Garments should be replaced when they are beyond repair, contaminated, or aesthetically unacceptable. Workrite prides itself on the long wear life of our garments, born out of durability and special construction techniques that have been honed after 40 years of creating FR garments.
A: Garments should be removed from service when they have holes or tears that cannot be repaired, or when the fabric has thinned and become "threadbare." Garments contaminated with flammable substances should be removed from service immediately if the garment cannot be adequately decontaminated. Workrite is always available to answer any specific questions about a garment’s future use.
Stitch Per Inch (SPI) Count: Workrite uses a high count of 8 to 10 SPI versus industry trends of 6 to 8 SPI.1 2 3 4 5 6
Double and Triple Feld Seams: Workrite makes extensive use of double and triple feld seams as well as five-thread overlock, all contributing to stronger, more durable seams.1 2 3 4 5 6
Double-needle Lock Stitch: Workrite consistently attaches zippers with double-needle lock stitching or a combination of double- and single-needle lock stitching, fortifying this common weak spot.1 2 3 4 5 6
Higher Stitch Bar Tacks: The higher the number, the more durable the garment. High-stress areas (pockets, zippers, crotch seams, belt loops, etc.) are strengthened with higher-stitch bar tacks on all Workrite garments.1 2 3 4 5 6
Reinforced Pockets: Workrite reinforces many pockets by adding fabric and/or double stitching the inset pockets twice—both inside out and right side out.1 2 3 4 5 6
© 2013 All Rights Reserved | Workrite Uniform Company | An Affiliate of Williamson-Dickie Mfg. Co.
40 years of trusted experience in flame-resistant garments
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1701 N. Lombard Street, Suite 200
Oxnard, CA 93030