I was recently asked a question by a reader that I thought would be great to share.

Steven Y. asked: “When properly laundered, how long will FR uniforms retain their arc flash protection?”

His question was a great one, but it does need a bit of explanation.
Workrite uses only branded fabrics whose flame-resistant properties are guaranteed for the life of the garment when laundered according the instructions. This means they will continue to be flame-resistant until they are retired. Relative to arc rating, the test information I’ve heard from Hugh Hoagland indicates the arc ratings of garments do diminish over the life of a garment, but typically very little. All fabrics loose fibers/mass over time due to wear and laundering, but they also shrink to some degree which actually tends to improve their arc performance. The amount of decrease in arc protection over multiple launderings (100 or so) appears to be relatively insignificant based on testing by Hugh (typically within the variation allowed in the standard). And because the area of arc impact on the wearer is a relatively small one. An injury due to a decrease of the arc rating by .5 to 1 calorie is pretty minor.

It is important to always launder your garments according to the instructions and to make sure that your garment is not worn or soiled in a way that would affect its flame-resistant performance.

Questions like this are great and I will be more than happy to answer any more. Keep them coming!

Mark Saner