Selecting Appropriate FR Clothing: Clothing made from 100% cotton or wool may be acceptable if its weight is appropriate for the flame and electric arc conditions to which a worker could be exposed. As heat levels increase, these materials will not melt, but they can ignite and continue to burn.
The amount of heat required to ignite these materials is dependent upon a number of factors, including the weight, texture, weave, and color of the material. This type of clothing does not comply with the standard if it can ignite (and continue to burn) under the electric arc and flame exposure conditions found at the workplace.
Flame-resistant (FR) clothing can be expensive to replace, so keeping it in service as long as possible — without significantly sacrificing protection — is a desirable goal. In addition to protection, other considerations for FR workwear include appearance and comfort.
At some point during the life of any FR garment, it is necessary to consider removing it from service due to basic wear and tear.
Although most recognized brands of FR fabric are made to maintain their flame resistance for the life of the garment, physical damage may also dictate the need to remove them from service. For most practical purposes, garments may be removed from service based on subjective evaluation if, after regular inspections, the garment is found incapable of effectively protecting the wearer. Ultimately, it is the end user’s responsibility to retire FR clothing.