Fortunate Enough The Story of Chemical Safety Garments

Reusable chemical protective clothing

Ever been on fire? That’s a bad thing. Fire can scorch your skin, disrupt the interactions between different cells in your body, cause life-threatening burns, and put your system into cardiac arrest.

They say there are many things you can do if you’re on fire. You can stop, drop, and roll, as friction reduces the flames by providing a force that eliminates the effects the fire. And the fire itself. You can also douse yourself in a vat of water. This can stop the fire instantly, resulting in an under layer of mottled flesh.

Or you can do something more simple: buy a protective fire suit. Here’s why they’re important.

U.S. factories created $5.3 trillion worth of goods in 2016. That’s a third of the nation’s gross domestic product, more than any other sector. Petroleum refineries contributed $462 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015. In fact, the oil and natural gas industry employs about 2.6 million Americans.

While many consider fires to be a matter of cooking instruments gone wrong or some other issue involving home appliances or even electrical wire fritzing, there are those men and women who brave fire every day. They are involved in industries where fire is huge, often literally huge, like great big walls of fire caused by a disruption in an oil refinery.

For many of these men and women, a fire suit or a suit that protects against fire is a necessary piece of equipment for the job. These suits can be made out of certain material that retards fire, squelches it out in a sense, or deflects it. These materials can be used to protect areas of the body most important like the head or the heart or the hands.

The truth is though, no garment guarantees 100% safety. Even flame-resistant fabrics ignite and burn at the point of ignition, though they do prevent flames from spreading past the ignition point. There are many kinds of scientific terms to describe the effects these garments have on fire and the fire’s effects on garments.

Permeation, for instance, is one of those terms. Permeation is a process by which a chemical passes through a film, like a glove. Permeation data are presented as two values: breakthrough time and rate. These two values are of critical importance when analyzing when and what will happen if a flame passes through the film of the garment.

The resistance to breakthrough is related to the temperature of the equipment and the environment and the thickness of the material. A higher than normal temperature, such as 25 degrees Celsius, will result in a quicker breakthrough.

Thousands of workers are blinded each year from work-related injuries that could have been prevented with the proper use of eye and face protection. This includes those dealing with chemicals, fire, and other hazards that are detrimental to the health of the workers in those industries.

Chemical protective equipment comes in all shapes and sizes. There are chemical protective garments for instance, which cover the whole body from the disturbance of flames. A subset of chemical protective garments are the chemical protective bibs and the chemical protective coveralls. Each provides protection but in a specific portion of the body.

The type of chemical protective equipment depends on the type of industry the person is being involved in and also the threat that may target different areas of the body. Whereas in one situation a person may need just a bib and safety goggles, another person in another situation may need a full set of chemical protective garments.

It’s important to have specific safety equipment for the jobs in order to secure a safe workplace. Having the right chemical protective garments comes at an initial cost but can save a worker and the company from dealing with the financial struggle that comes from a workplace injury.

Also, in addition to chemical protective garments, an important part of the process of creating a safe workplace means putting in safety and health programs for each and every employee so that they understand the measures of the job that require being more aware of their health.

Chemical protective garments and safety and health programs combine together to form the correct strategy for dealing with workplace difficulties and hazards. They save workers from injuries.

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