Did you know you can get FR coveralls that are insulated?
This type of FR clothing is great for employees who work outdoors - for example, oilfield workers. These employees face harsh working conditions on a daily basis. They’re surrounded by big equipment and lots of hazards. That’s no secret. But, there’s one hazard they face that you might not think of right away: winter weather. FR insulated coveralls is just one way to overcome that hazard.
Many workers in the oil and gas industry need to wear FR clothing. There are regulations in place that require it. In 2010, OSHA sent out a memo to the entire industry. The memo specifies when and where FR clothing is required for workers in the oil and gas industry.
A lot of companies provide FR clothing as standard uniforms. They realize that their workers often risk exposure to fire-related hazards. So they provide it as baseline protection. That way, there’s no excuse for employees not having it when they need it most.
Our blog post on FR Clothing Requirements for the Oil and Gas Industry will ensure your general understanding of what FR gear you need.
But, what about working in the winter? Employees are exposed to fire hazards and cold temperatures. That’s where FR insulated coveralls come into play.
Benefits of Insulated Coveralls
There are many benefits to wearing FR insulated coveralls. Not familiar with them? Here’s a rundown of why you should consider getting a pair for your employees.
Reduces the Risk of Hypothermia
Low temperatures can lead to hypothermia. Hypothermia is a serious condition where a person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Prevent it by wearing warm layers of clothing and staying dry. Insulated FR coveralls will help to reduce the risk of hypothermia.
Reduces the Risk of Frostbite
Exposure to cold can cause frostbite. Frostbite is when deep layers of the skin and tissue freeze. Cold temperatures and windy conditions can lead to frostbite. Protect workers by giving them warm, dry clothing. Coveralls will protect the wearer’s body. Accessories such as hats and neckwarmers will protect other exposed areas.
Protects Against Fire-Related Hazards
Remember, the benefits are two-fold - protection from the weather and protection from the work hazards. Those who work in the oil and gas industry often risk exposure to fire-related hazards. Such hazards include flash fires, sparks and slag from welding operations, and more.
The FR clothing protects workers from these situations. Flame-resistant clothing is not fire proof, so it will catch fire if ignited. But it’ll self-extinguish; the fire won’t spread throughout the surface of the garment.
Protects Against Arc Flash Hazards
Arc flash hazards are not the same as fire-related hazards. Arc flash is a specific situation that involves heat and energy. It’s the result of an electrical fault or failure. Workers exposed to this kind of hazard need an extra level of protection. They must wear AR clothing instead of FR clothing.
The good news is you can find FR insulated coveralls that are rated for arc-flash hazards. Check the label of your garments. If it’s AR rated, it’ll say so. This blog post will make sure you know the difference between AR and FR clothing.
Provides Comfort for Employees
Employees will appreciate the comfort that insulated clothing gives them. They are soft, warm, and easy to work in. Some coveralls come with a water-repellent outer shell. So, it helps them stay dry, too. Ask anyone who’s worn FR insulated coveralls - they’ll assure you how comfortable they are.
Popular Coverall Options
Most workers in the oil and gas industry want something that is heavy-duty. They want clothing to be durable so it can withstand the environment. And since oilfield work is often in cold, barren locations… it needs to be warm.
Carhartt has a popular option that meets those requirements. Pictured here are their Quilt-Lined FR Duck Coveralls. They have the warmth and durability that workers are looking for. They also have several pockets which makes them practical to use. They have an arc rating of 54.3 cal/cm².
If you’re looking for an overall bib instead, check out this option from Bulwark. The ComforTouch Deluxe Insulated Bib is another popular choice. Keep in mind that if your workers wear something like this instead, they will also need an FR jacket.
Other Ways to Stay Warm
Working in the bitter cold is difficult. It takes a toll on a person’s body. So, workers need to learn how to best protect themselves from cold stress hazards. We’ve already talked about the importance of wearing warm clothes. But, there’s more to it than just having the proper outerwear.
Wearing Base Layers
Layering your clothing is one of the best ways to stay warm and avoid cold stress illnesses. The base layer is something that many people will overlook. But, it’s a crucial component that should not be underestimated.
Workers should always wear a moisture-wicking garment for their base layer. They help to regulate body temperature. Hard working employees will sweat, even in cold temperatures. A lightweight base layer removes perspiration from the skin.
Cotton garments absorb moisture, and can contribute to too much cooling. The sweat gets trapped between the skin and clothing. That makes the employee’s body temperature drop… leading to hypothermia and other cold stress conditions. Find your ultimate guide to choosing FR base layers here.
You can even find long underwear that is FR rated. Check with your supplier to see what they have to offer.
Don't forget about things like gloves, hats, and neck warmers. A person's extremities are the first to develop frostbite. These extra little garments can make a big difference. Check with your supplier to see what accessories they have in FR options.
A person’s body has increased energy requirements when working in the cold. Make sure employees are eating wholesome foods like pasta, potatoes, and rice. They should be eating plenty of carbs and proteins. Meat and fish are other good examples of wholesome foods.
Make sure employees are limiting their caffeine intake. Caffeinated beverages like coffee and pop will only dehydrate you. Dehydration increases your chances of getting hypothermia.
Limit the coffee, but consume other warm beverages. Hot tea and cocoa can quickly warm a person’s body. It also gives them instant comfort and relief from the cold.
Sometimes it really is just too cold to work. Know when to stop work for extreme cold. Does your company have a policy like this in place?
What about taking breaks? It’s best if employees have someplace warm to go. If you don’t already have them, consider providing heated rest areas.
Train employees to remove their outer and middle layers during break time. It’ll prevent overheating, and will allow any dampness to evaporate. Workers should change into dry clothes whenever necessary.
Wrapping It Up
Keep your employees warm when working in cold winter weather. But don’t compromise on their safety. Provide them with FR insulated coveralls. They will have the comfort and warmth that they desire. And they will also be protected from fire-related hazards.
Want more information? Use this Quick Card Guide from OSHA. It offers additional information on how to prevent and treat cold stress illnesses.
For more information about FR clothing and FR insulated clothing, contact us at RMI today.