Flame-Resistant Clothing: Everything You Need to Know


If you’ve ever seen someone in a high-visibility jacket, a hard hat, or a pair of heavy-duty gloves, you’ve seen a type of personal protective safety equipment (PPE) designed to protect workers from physical harm on the job. But did you know there’s a type of PPE specifically designed to protect workers from being exposed to extreme heat and flames? Flame-resistant (FR) clothing is an essential piece of equipment for many workers in high-risk industries involving combustible and flammable materials.

Safety should invariably be prioritized in any workplace, especially in the power industry, to prevent catastrophic incidents from becoming a haunting nightmare for individuals and organizations. This article will cover everything you need to know about FR clothing.

What Is Flame Resistant (FR) Clothing?

Flame-resistant clothing has been around for several decades and has been commonly used to protect workers in high-risk industries such as firefighting, oil and gas, and electrical utilities. The need for FR clothing is necessary to prevent tragic incidents from occurring in which workers may get severely injured or killed due to fire-related incidents. This type of clothing is specially designed so that it’s less likely to catch fire when exposed to combustion and high temperatures. FR clothing can come in many forms, including coveralls, jackets, shirts, and pants. The type of clothing needed depends on the job and the risks involved. FR clothing must be selected appropriately for the job to ensure maximum safety. There have been several advancements in FR clothing technology, which have improved the effectiveness and comfort of FR clothing. For example, introducing new materials, such as aramid fiber, has made FR clothing more durable and resistant to flames. Additionally, the development of moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics has made FR clothing more comfortable for extended periods.

FR clothing is regulated by various organizations, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association. These organizations set standards for using FR clothing in the workplace, including guidelines for materials used in the clothing, such as weave, color, weight, and texture. These factors are carefully considered about the amount of heat required to ignite a material so that workers can have the highest protection against firetraps.

How Does Flame Resistant Clothing Work?

Have you ever wondered how firefighters are able to stand so close to intense flames without their clothing catching on fire? It depends on how FR clothing functions.

The key to FR clothing is the materials it’s made of. These materials are engineered to resist flames and heat, preventing them from catching on fire or melting when exposed to high temperatures. Some common FR materials include aramids, such as Kevlar and Nomex®, and treated cotton and wool. When exposed to flames, the fibers in FR clothing will char and create a protective barrier between the wearer’s skin and the fire. This charred layer acts as insulation, reducing the heat that reaches the wearer’s skin and slowing down fire spread.

But it’s not just the materials themselves that make FR clothing effective. The design and construction of the clothing also play a crucial role. For example, FR clothing may have multiple layers to provide added insulation and protection or be treated with special chemicals to enhance its flame-resistant properties. The design and construction of FR clothing can also affect its fit and comfort. Too loose or tight clothing can be a safety hazard, as it can interfere with movement or trap heat against the skin. Adequately designed and constructed clothing can provide the necessary protection while allowing for freedom of movement and comfort.

The Importance of Flame Resistant (FR) Clothing

The importance of flame-resistant clothing cannot be overstated in industrial workwear. Industrial workers are often exposed to various hazards, such as fires and explosions, which can cause serious injuries or even death.

The primary use of FR clothing is to resist flames and prevent the spread of fire. This is achieved through specialized materials and construction techniques that make the clothing self-extinguishing. In other words, if a flame comes into contact with FR attires, the fabric won’t continue to burn and won’t melt onto your skin once the source of the flame is removed. This can be the difference between a minor burn and a life-threatening injury.

Other than that, FR clothing can provide insulation against heat. This is especially important for workers who are exposed to high temperatures or radiant heat sources. FR clothing will help protect your skin from burns and reduce the risk of heat stress and exhaustion.

Furthermore, FR clothing can provide a layer of protection between the skin and hazardous materials. This can prevent skin irritation or chemical burns that could occur if the skin comes into direct contact with these materials.

Types of Flame-Resistant Clothing

man-with-safety-equipment-side-view-carrying-ladder-close-uporange industrial uniform

man-with-safety-equipment-side-view-carrying-ladder-close-upThere is a range of personal protective equipment out there in the market and one of them includes flame protection clothing to protect you in your workplace. Fire retardant or flame-resistant protective clothing is available in various types and styles to suit different work environments and hazards. The most common types of FR clothing include:

FR Shirts

When exposed to fire or an explosion, a lot of fabrics will ignite and continue to burn.  That is why FR clothing can help reduce the severity of getting harmed and provide extra crucial seconds to escape the flash fire. FR clothing resists ignition and self-extinguishes once the source of the ignition is removed. This helps to prevent burns from both initial exposures to the flames and from residual heat transfer. You can choose between short and long sleeves FR shirts. Both provide excellent protection, and the choice is based on your workplace situation.

Short sleeve FR shirts are ideal for hot environments where you must stay cool and comfortable. They are designed to protect the upper body and arms while allowing air to circulate freely. On the other hand, long sleeve FR shirts are ideal for colder environments where you need to keep warm and protected. They provide full coverage to the upper body and arms, which is crucial in preventing thermal hazards from affecting your skin. Long sleeve FR shirts are also great for protecting your arms from sunburn, which can be a significant hazard for workers who spend a lot of time outdoors.

FR Pants

FR pants are designed to provide protection to the lower body against flash fires and electric arc flashes. One of the great things about FR pants is that they come in various styles, just like regular pants. Depending on your specific needs and preferences, you can choose from options such as jeans, cargo, and coveralls. Some FR pants even come with additional features such as reinforced knees or utility pockets, making them even more practical for work.

FR Coveralls

Wearing FR coveralls can be more practical than wearing separate FR shirts and FR pants because it provides full-body protection.  Moreover, they also eliminate the need to worry about matching different garment items or dealing with exposed gaps between the shirt and pants. It’s beneficial for a company to choose a fire retardant coverall to ensure a consistent and professional look among workers. This can help promote a sense of unity and teamwork, which can be especially important in hazardous work environments where everyone needs to be on the same page. This kind of industrial workwear also comes in various styles, such as insulated coveralls, bib overalls, and contractor coveralls.

FR Jackets and Outerwear

FR jackets and outerwear protect the upper body against any accidents involving the upper parts. They are typically made of fireproof fabrics and come in different styles, such as bomber jackets, parkas, and rain jackets. This kind of apparel is commonly available in insulated or waterproof materials, which can provide addtional warmth and comfort to workers while on the job.

FR Accessories

FR accessories are also additional safety products for workers. FR accessories are designed in consideration of the unique needs and vulnerabilities of body parts that are not covered by FR clothing. There are many types of FR accessories, including:

FR Gloves

FR gloves protect hands and wrists from any burns, cuts, and other injuries that can occur in the workplace.

FR Headwear

FR headwear, such as balaclavas, hoods, and skull caps, provide extra protection from the head to the neck.

FR Glasses 

FR glasses are usually made of specialized materials such as polycarbonate (can withstand high temperatures without melting or shattering), which can protect your eyes from heat or debris.

FR Boots

FR boots are typically constructed with features such as steel toes, slip-resistant soles, and metatarsal guards to offer maximum protection to the feet.

Signs You Need To Replace Your Old FR Clothing

First and foremost, it’s essential to understand that flame-resistant or even fire-retardant clothing is not indestructible. Over time, FR fabric can become damaged or worn out, compromising its ability to protect against fire hazards. As a general rule of thumb, it’s recommended that you replace your FR garments at least every two to three years, or sooner if it shows signs of damage or wear. So, what are some signs that your FR clothing may need to be replaced? Here are a few things to look out for:


Any tears, holes, or other damage to your FR clothing can compromise its effectiveness at protecting you from fire hazards. If your FR clothing has visible damage, it’s time to replace it.

Wear & Tear

FR clothing that has been worn and washed multiple times can become worn out and lose its protective properties. Signs of wear and tear include thinning fabric, fading colors, and fraying seams.

Exposure to Chemicals

FR clothing that has been exposed to certain chemicals can become damaged and lose its protective properties. If your FR clothing has been exposed to chemicals, it’s vital to scrutinize it for any signs of damage.


If your FR clothing no longer meets the relevant safety standards for your industry or job type, it’s time to replace it. Compliance with safety regulations is critical for workplace safety.

In addition to these signs, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the care and maintenance of your FR clothing. Proper cleaning and care can help extend the life of your FR clothing and ensure that it continues to provide adequate protection against fire hazards.

Differences between Flame Retardant & Flame Resistant


When talking about industrial attire designed for fire safety, there are two main types: flame retardant and flame resistant. While these terms are often used interchangeably, they refer to different clothing and materials properties.

Flame Retardant

Fire retardant or flame retardant workwear offers a greater degree of protection from flames and extreme heat. When compared to flame resistant clothing, which is just made to resist ignition and self-extinguish when the source of ignition is removed, flame retardant clothing protects you by slowing down or even preventing the spread of fire.

Flame retardant or fire retardant clothing is made from fabrics treated with chemicals to reduce flammability. Usually, this type of FR clothing is made of substances such as Phosphorus based compounds, Halogenated compounds, Nitrogen-based compounds, and Antimony Trioxide. These chemicals interrupt combustion or form a protective layer over the material.

Flame Resistant

Fire resistant or Flame-resistant garment is made from inherent flame resistant materials that do not require chemical treatment. These materials are designed to self-extinguish or not ignite at all, providing long-term protection against fire hazards. Examples of flame-resistant fabric are Nomex®, Kevlar, Modacrylic, and Wool. Fire-resistant clothing should always have a slightly baggy fitting. Skin-tight clothes can transfer heat more easily to the skin, and this can result in more severe burns and injuries.

Thus, by wearing flame-resistant clothing with a baggier fit, a layer of air is created between your skin and the coveralls, effectively insulating you from heat, increasing your protection. Manufacturers are required to indicate the arc rating of their clothings and most will list this crucial number on their labels. Wearing multiple layers of arc-rated clothing will enhance protection against heat or flames. The higher the arc rating, the more protection the piece of clothing will provide. An arc rating of 4 is suitable for the lowest risk task, while an arc rating of 40 or more will protect a wearer when carrying out the most severe risk tasks. Three or more layers are often required to keep you safe from the most hazardous tasks.

Ultimately, flame resistance and flame-retardant clothing are important in protecting workers from the risk of fire-related injuries and fatalities on the job. By understanding the differences between these two types of workwear, employers and workers can make more informed choices regarding fire safety.

Get FR Clothing For Your Workforce Today

Flame-resistant clothing is an essential investment for any worker who operates in hazardous environments involving flames, heat, and sparks. It’s crucial to choose the right type of clothing to ensure maximum protection and comply with regulatory standards. If you’re wondering where to buy flame resistant clothing that meets safety standards, several options are available. Many retailers specialize in safety gear and workwear, and they carry a wide selection of FR clothing designed to meet your needs.

If you’re looking for the right FR clothing, look no further than Star Merchandising. As a trusted company in Singapore, we offer a wide range of protective equipment and fire-retardant clothing that are designed to protect you in even the most hazardous work environments. From shirts and jackets to pants and coveralls, we have everything you need to stay safe and comfortable while you work. Our experienced team is committed to workplace safety, and we only offer fire-retardant attire that meets the industry’s highest safety standards. Invest in your FR clothing today!

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