Flame-resistant workwear is a form of personal protective equipment (PPE) that provides a barrier directly against harmful flames and thermal sources. Any garment that bears the designation of “FR” is capable of protection—in some designated level or degree—in work environments where flash fire or electric arc hazards are prevalent and commonly present.

A wide array of FR apparel options are available to these workers to meet health and safety concerns on the job site. In this clothing category, you will find a broad range of terminology that addresses their characteristics and suitability for standard safety and performance. Here is a quick guide to fire-resistant clothing terms.

FR Fabric: Flame-Retardant vs. Flame-Resistant

The first matter to note in our quick guide to fire-resistant clothing terms is that flame-resistant clothing is not synonymous with the term flame-retardant. Both can refer to fabrics that provide a barrier against hazards. However, FR refers to specifically designed and manufactured flame-resistant clothing covering the upper and lower body.

Workwear designed for FR usage avoids fibers that can melt, drip, or worsen harm to the wearer. Unlike flame-retardant products that are always chemically treated, FR materials are inherently flame-resistant and will self-extinguish upon contact.

General Environmental Hazards

FR clothing protects against several present hazards in a work environment. These hazards result from sudden electrical or fire flashes that may cause significant burn damage due to their high temperatures and intensity. Here are their definitions.

Arc Flash Hazards

An arc flash refers to an uncontrollable burst of energy release resulting from an electrical arc or explosion. This workplace hazard creates dangerous conditions of intense heat and light.

Flash Fire Hazards

A flash fire is a sudden, short release of hot flames that spread rapidly from a diffused fuel source. Intense fire and burning temperatures characterize this hazardous workplace condition.

Performance and Risk Exposure Standards

FR clothing must meet various standards from regulatory organizations that indicate their performance and safety levels. Here are some of the most common terms and ratings to know:

NFPA 70E and NFPA 2112: Set by the National Fire Protection Association, these standards relate to the protection against hazards with appropriate PPE and FR clothing. NFPA 70E refers to protection for electric arc flashes, while NFPA 2112 refers to protection for flash fires.

UL-Certified: As a third-party organization, UL certifies that FR garments meet or exceed the required minimum standards, including NFPA 2112.

HRC or CAT: These hazard or risk categories refer to the level of exposure a worker faces during a specific task or job. FR clothing ratings must meet the required minimum of protection.

ATPV: Arc Thermal Performance Value ratings measure the maximum incident energy FR garments can protect workers from.

L4 FR Clothing: First-Rate Safety

L4 FR is an FR clothing store, and our goal is to provide workers with quality protective gear and workwear. Our fire-resistant jeans meet NFPA70E, NFPA 2112, CAT2, and ATPV 20 compliance. Browse through our selection today, or reach out to our team with any product questions. We’re here to protect your working lifestyle so you can continue to be FR-eaking awesome!

Rachel Karagianes