Flame-retardant fabrics offer a defense mechanism against injuries as a result of fire or electric outbursts. In an industrial settings, the importance of FR apparel increases manifold as the workers are frequently exposed to dangerous work conditions called workplace hazards. That is the reason that employers are advised to seek proper consultation and invest in adequate FR programs as part of workers’ protection and workplace safety requirements.
Furthermore, just as it happens with value-additions to a consumer product, the use of flame-retardant fabrics and implementing proper FR programs, has a trickle-down effect on many levels inside and outside of the workplace for an employer.
Reasons on an individual level
The most significant job for the flame retardant fabric is to save precious lives as it helps protect employees against short-term thermal exposures. The quality if the FR fabrics to self-extinguish is extremely useful in an industrial setting where most injuries happen as a result of a person catching on fire and continuing to burn because of wearing regular clothing. Normal fabrics such as non-FR cotton, polyester or nylon, does not offer any protection to the wearer as they continue to burn or melt resulting in burn injuries for the wearer.
Industrial history shows, as supports logic, that chances of survival can be significantly increased by reducing the area of body to fire exposures. By contrast, as the injury percentage reaches above 50 percent, the survival rate is known to drop critically, across all age groups.
An allied advantage connected to good quality, nicely fitting and attractively styled flame-retardant fabrics takes place on a psychological level. Workers usually feel good about having to wear a workwear that ‘looks’ cool which encourages them to comply by the rules. This is associated with e sense of style and aesthetic for individuals. Furthermore, wearing the same workwear within a department also creates a sense of connection and solidarity among the employees making them better team members and inculcating a habit of looking out for each other.
Reasons on organizational level
It may sound odd but flame-retardant clothing actually helps employers save huge amounts of money in the long run. So, to look at matters in a different light, FR programs can be viewed as an investment rather than an expense. Let us see how that works.
The use of FR workwear reduces the burn injuries to minimum in case of exposure to an industrial hazard, bringing the damage down. But in the absence of FR clothing, a single accident can result in the loss of hundreds of thousands of bucks that could otherwise be expended into paying costs in the way of medical fees, workers’ compensation, increased insurance premiums as well as lost work time. All of these costs often combine to even surpass the cost of an entire FR program.
Saves Further Damage to Organizational Assets
Apart from being a life-saving instrument, flame-retardant clothing also serves to minimize damage to the surroundings (machines and equipment) of an affected worker exposed to a hazard. As FR fabrics self-extinguish, they help reduce the spread of fire bringing the percentage of overall damage down as well.
Promotes Loyalty to Employer
In addition to above-mentioned benefits, there are other associated benefits that occur on an individual level as a result of ensuring worker’s safety at work. Knowing that the organization cares about employee safety and well-being, instills a sense of respect, trust and loyalty in the workers towards the employer leading to better productivity and efficiency from them. In this way, proper compliance with occupational safety requirements benefits everyone involved in the equation.
Reasons on industrial level
Investing in FR programs is not something merely advisable on a moral level, it is requirement by law. Many international workers safety organizations such as OSHA and NFPA, have extensive details outlining the protection requirements in industrial settings where short-term hazard exposures can result in bodily damage. So when an employer invests in a FR program, they actually follow the industry requirements and regulations for employees’ safety at work and avoid the chance for fines and citations.
This is one of those scenarios where a little goes a long way. Following the industry standards for employee protection programs and maintaining good compliance, helps promote a good name for the employer across industry as well as general public.
Although one cannot put a price on the sanctity of human life and that alone is a momentous reason for employers to invest in FR programs. But at the same time, other benefits attached to the use of flame-retardant work-wear cannot be ignored. To view the bigger picture, it is easy to conclude that proper compliance with safety standards and requirements by implementing FR programs benefits everyone involved from employees to the employer as well as organizational assets such as machinery and equipment.