Spring has almost sprung (although it may not seem like it in Wyoming). That’s right - the first day of spring technically falls on March 20th. So, that means new fashion styles, materials, and designs. We want you to stay up-to-date on the hottest trends of the season. So, consider this your comprehensive trend report.
No, you didn’t click on the wrong article. And don’t worry - we’re not going to spend the next thousand something words talking about crazy runway fashion faux pas. But, in all industries, one must take into consideration the onset of a new season. The arrival of spring (and eventually summer) means higher temperatures, and often more bugs and rain.
Are you an oil and gas worker, a lineman, or any other type of municipal or industrial worker?
If so, you likely have to start wearing different gear when the weather gets warmer. Your insulated fire-resistant (FR) coats and coveralls go back in the closet. They're replaced by lightweight, breathable FR clothing. There’s no doubt that the start of a new season has an impact on buyers and wearers of safety equipment and PPE.
Spring doesn’t just bring different climate conditions. It also typically leads to “spring cleaning”. You may not adopt an “out with the old, in with the new” mindset as the seasons change. But, it’s never a bad idea to take a look at the state of your FR equipment and apparel.
It’s obvious that your cold-weather gear won’t be of much use once temperatures start rising. But, there are plenty of other reasons your stock of fire-resistant clothing may need some updating.
If you’re in charge of purchasing FR gear for your workers, you know the challenge of finding the best gear. FR technologies have advanced leaps and bounds over the past few years. Not to mention, there are so many manufacturers out there. And don’t even get us started on the laundry list of considerations you have to make when selecting what gear is right for your specific workers.
With so many factors and variables to think about, how do you choose the best PPE to meet your workers’ needs?
That’s where trends come into play (see, it’s all coming full-circle). Looking at what’s ahead for FR technologies can help you make smart decisions now. You'll have greater understanding about what gear will best serve your crew.
It can also be useful to take a look into the past. We’re not talking more than a few years or so (but, if you’re interested in the history of FR clothing, check out this post). In fact, 2017 saw some pivotal improvements in fire-resistant apparel options. Manufacturers (ones you likely already know and love) work hard to develop more effective and comfortable PPE. 2017 was no exception.
You know the safety of your workers is top priority. So, when you choose FR clothing for your team, you want the leading protective gear. Standard options that only meet minimum compliance requirements won’t hit the mark. This list of the top FR picks for 2017 will make your buying decisions easier and your workers safer. It uses a forward-thinking approach to analyze the best tried-and-true gear from 2017.
When you have evidence that a piece of PPE is effective, you have assurance. This is also true when you understand the future advancements being made to fire-resistant clothing. You know your workers will be equipped with the most reliable, comfortable FR gear on the market.
So, here are the Top 5 Trend-Worthy FR Picks for 2017…
- Work-Dry® Lightweight Twill Shirt from Carhartt
To phrase it like the fashion gurus do, this work shirt is a great transitional piece. As the year goes on, the temperature goes up. This pick from Carhartt is lightweight and roomy enough for workers to move freely and easily. It features innovative Work-Dry® material, so sweat and grime wicks away. And don’t worry — it uses anti-odor technology to keep you cool and comfortable all day.
The FR clothing innovations from the past year show that lightweight gear is a huge need. This type of clothing has historically been bulky and heavy. This is not the ideal situation when there’s hard work to be done. That’s why the lightweight trend is one that’s here to stay. Manufacturers like Carhartt have major goals to make fire-resistant clothing as comfortable and efficient as possible. This twill shirt is just one example.
Further, the shirt’s blend of 88% cotton and 12% high-tenacity nylon provide its CAT 2 arc rating and its NFPA 70E and NFPA 2112 compliance. Easy, breezy FR apparel doesn’t have to mean that the gear won’t stand up to extreme conditions.
Easily transition into working in springtime weather with Carhartt’s field-tested lightweight 6-ounce twill work shirt.
- Flame-Resistant Relaxed-Fit Jeans from Carhartt
Putting on your work gear may seem like an annoyance if it’s stiff, uncomfortable, and downright unattractive. We get it - you’re tired of wearing rigid PPE (in terms of both material flexibility and design elements). The workforce is evolving as younger workers hit the scene. These men and women are looking for gear that’s compliant and modern.
Manufacturers are starting to take note of this trend, as well. For example, check out Carhartt’s FR relaxed-fit jeans. They look just like the denim you’d find at any retail store. But, they have a CAT 2 arc rating and are NFPA 70E and NFPA 2112 compliant. These jeans are garment washed for a soft finish. They sit slightly below the waist and feature a relaxed-fitting seat and thigh. They’re just like the pair you have in your closet at home, just much more protective.
It’s easy to see that Carhartt is making moves to incorporate today’s FR trends into their tried-and-true technologies. They’re filling in the gaps of the fire-resistant clothing industry. To prove it, they’ve also developed relaxed-fit FR jeans for women. Now, the women on your team can work comfortably in PPE designed especially for them.
- Exxtreme™ Jacket from Dragon Wear
Dragon Wear is starting to take note of the more diverse workforce, too. That’s why they’ve manufactured their top-rated Exxtreme™ FR Jacket for men and women. Both options cater specifically to the different builds of men and women. Plus, they're available in nearly ten sizes. Now, your workers won’t have to miss out on top quality gear that fits properly and comfortably.
Both jacket styles also incorporate a few other FR trends that make work safer and easier. They’re crafted from high-quality engineered Polartec® Nomex® IIIA Thermal material. Dragon Wear knows that fire and arc flash hazards are nothing to mess around with. So, they’ve amped up the quality and innovation with this product.
These Exxtreme™ jackets also offer multiple functionalities. Their thermal FR design provides major warmth on chilly days. But, they’re also lightweight and breathable. This is important because these garments can help regulate body temperature and prevent hypothermia and other serious health problems. Further, their fire-resistance is accompanied by wind-resistance and water-repellency.
- EXCEL FR® ComforTouch® Vest Jacket Liner from Bulwark
If your current outdoor work has weird weather patterns, this jacket liner may be a good addition to your PPE supply. You know, that annoying mix of being freezing in the morning and warm once the sun comes out. Its vest-like design can help keep you cool as temperatures start to rise. But, its fire-resistant insulation effectively retains warmth if it’s still chilly in your neck of the woods. Snap it into Bulwark’s EXCEL FR® ComforTouch® Brown Duck-Lined Bomber Jacket for even more protection from the cold.
This piece also emphasizes the well-loved trends of high-quality and multiple functionality. Its 11-ounce, 88% cotton/12% nylon UltraSoft® shell doesn’t skimp on toughness; it has a 57 cal/cm², CAT 4 arc rating. Its fire-resistance is matched by water-repellency, too, making it a multi-talented pick.
- EXCEL FR® ComforTouch® Brown Duck Insulated Bib Overalls from Bulwark
Are you finding that your insulated coveralls are a bit too warm for your current work situation? If so, Bulwark’s bib overalls may be the answer. Another great option as the seasons start shifting, these overalls are insulated. But, they don’t provide the same serious warmth as coveralls and other cold-weather gear.
This PPE has a CAT 2 arc rating. But, it still retains its comfortability. Its water-repellent 2-layer quilted modacrylic material makes it easy to work and move around in.
Bulwark really took all the thinking out of effective fire-resistant clothing. These overalls feature elasticized shoulder straps with non-conductive adjustable hardware. They have a large front bib pocket with pencil stall, two set-in front swing pockets, a watch pocket, and two large hip pockets. They're also built with a tool loop, hammer loop, and reinforced double knees. We could go on and on. There’s no wonder this protective piece is one of the top FR picks of 2017.
What makes good FR clothing?
We think it’s a combination of proven protection, plus a trend-forward approach. It's reliable gear that fills in the gaps in the fire-resistant apparel market. For effective FR PPE, you need them to be trustworthy and innovative.
You may be switching up your gear to match the warmer weather. Or, maybe you just want to do some spring cleaning. Either way, this list will help you equip your workers with the industry’s best gear. Only the highest-rated picks will ensure your crew is protected, compliant, comfortable, and happy.