Being in the oil and gas industry sure seems exciting, but it is not without its dangers and risks. Workers who work for oil and gas companies face an immense risk of fire and explosion due to many reasons. This is why research into fire-resistant (FR) clothing for people who work in oil fields is one area that is always active.
The Canada Labour Code requires oil and gas businesses to provide their workers with safety equipment and clothing. If companies fail to do so, they can face hefty fines and penalties. Moreover, without proper safety gear and FR clothing, the number of injuries and fatalities can significantly increase in the industry.
Below we will discuss what FR clothing is, how it protects people from fire and explosive hazards, and when an oil and gas worker should wear them.
How Can FR Clothing Protect People From Fire Hazards?
Oil and gas companies provide their employees with fire-resistant or FR clothing ( Personal Protective Equipment PPE) to protect them from fire and explosive hazards. These hazards can occur due to the ignition of flammable vapors or gasses released from oil wells, trucks, production equipment, surface equipment, and more.
FR clothing is of two types; Fire-resistant clothing and flame retardant clothing. Let's review how both of these types play their part in protecting people from fire and explosive hazards.
Fire Resistant Clothing
Fire-resistant clothing is made of a special material that is naturally resistant to fire and embers. This material makes FR clothing self-extinguishing, which means that it will not continue to burn once ignited by a flame or fire event. The self-extinguishing power of the material minimizes the extent of burn injuries in workers wearing FR clothing.
Flame Retardant Clothing
Flame retardant clothing is similar to FR clothing, which is why people often confuse the two. However, the difference lies in the kind of material used in their making.
Flame retardant clothes are made of a material that is not inherently resistant to fire but is chemically treated to self-extinguish. The original material used in their manufacturing process is usually cotton or cotton blend. However, it is worth noting that flame-retardant clothes will also self-extinguish after exposure to a flame or fire event.
Both types of FR clothing are suitable for PPE needs. However, most people usually prefer fire-resistant clothing over flame retardant clothing because of its inherent design and material composition.
It is also essential to keep in mind that Fire-resistant clothing is not the same as Arc-rated clothing. FR clothing protects against flash fires, flames, and embers whereas, arc-rated clothing protects workers from electrical arc hazards.
Importance Of FR Clothing For Workers
FR clothing plays a crucial role in the oil and gas field and in other places where a worker is exposed to workplace hazards. FR clothing protects people through the following features:
- They self-extinguish and resist ignition
- Unlike regular clothes, they do not melt on your skin
- They provide thermal insulation from heat
- They reduce burn injuries and increase chances of surviving a catastrophic event
- They do not break apart and risk exposing skin to fire
Importance Of FR Clothing For Employers
Apart from the advantages mentioned above, FR clothing also benefits oil and gas companies in various ways. Some of these benefits include:
- Improved safety and health of employees
- Reduced cost of injuries, fatalities, and accident claims
- Reduced downtime cost and lost time
- Avoidance of state fines and penalties
When Should Oil & Gas Workers Wear FR Clothing?
Employees working in the oil and gas industry need to wear FR clothing during certain production phases. These phases include:
- The drilling process, especially when it hits hydrocarbon zones
- Assessing or extracting oil from a well
- Servicing active wells
- Stimulating or capping inactive wells
- After drilling, when wells are placed into operation
- During product storage and delivery
About SFM Workwear
SFM Workwear offers Alberta's local community with top quality safety workwear products and services. For more information on fire-resistant clothing, visit our website or contact us for personalized service.