Electrical workers and utility linemen everywhere know the importance of flame-resistant (FR) clothing. Injuries from arc flashes and arc blasts are all too common, which is why electrical contractors and utility linemen must always wear FR-rated clothing. Everyday clothing will continue to burn, resulting in catastrophic and unrecoverable injuries. That’s why MCR Safety has been expanding our FR lineup to include the new 70E clothing line, offering styles that workers want to wear while presenting unbeatable protection.
Electric Arc Blast
MCR Safety began manufacturing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) back in 1976. For over 40 years now, we’ve been expanding our footprint into multiple PPE categories, ensuring we’re protecting workers from head to toe. We started offering FR protection back in 2014, providing even more of the PPE solutions users demand. Since then, we've continued elevating our FR product offerings, applying unmatched patented technology.
In this article, we would like to highlight some important facets of FR protection and explain how it can protect the linemen and electricians who rely on it. We would also like to introduce these workers to our triple-vented arc flash protection gear.
MCR Safety is the only provider of FR clothing designed with triple vents, discussed more in-depth below.
Linemen, Substation Workers, and Electricians
When our homes blow fuses, when a devastating storm knocks out the power grid, when we need new electrical outlets, or when the power goes out unexpectedly, most people quickly realize the importance of electricity. If it’s not a widespread electrical outage, we likely call a professional to fix or upgrade the wiring. Linemen, Electrical Repair Workers, and Electricians are the individuals who keep our homes flowing with energy! Each has a different part to play in keeping the electrical infrastructure of a community up and running. Unfortunately, linemen and electricians face a lot of hazards in their work. Before we get into discussing the FR clothing options that best protect these workers, here is a quick description of each type of worker.
Electricians: install, maintain, and repair electrical wiring, equipment, and fixtures.
Electricians inspect electrical components, such as a breaker.
As any electrician knows, there is a constant risk for electrical burns and electrical shock. This makes ARC rated safety clothing and gloves essential PPE that must be worn.
Power Line Installers and Repair Workers: often referred to as “linemen”, these individuals install and repair the cables and wires used in electrical power distribution systems.
Lineman repairing overhead line
Lineman also can be found digging trenches to install underground lines, along with installing new meters.
Substation Electrical and Technician Workers: maintain electrical equipment in generating stations and substations.
Substations transform voltage from high to lower or the reverse. It’s a substation that sends electricity to buildings and homes.
Substation electrical workers and technicians are performing routine maintenance around the clock. Since there are exposed energized parts and equipment, these workers face, ARC flash events are always a threat. This ultimately means wearing 70E FR Clothing is a top priority. You can imagine, during hot summer months and working around hot equipment, heat stress is a concern. We discuss below more about our new 70E clothing made with triple vents, allowing airflow into a worker’s FR clothing.
NFPA 70E and Electric Arc Protection
When an electric current passes through the air between ungrounded and grounded conductors, an electric arc flash is the result. The heat from an arc flash can reach 35,000°F! The last thing any electrical worker wants is to be exposed to that kind of heat. That is why it is essential that credible and reliable standards guide FR clothing manufacturers and those wearing FR clothing.
MCR Safety’s FR clothing, powered by Summit Breeze, offers users Cat 2 PPE.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) spells out electrical safety requirements for employees in its document NFPA 70E, including how to prevent and reduce the risk of arc flash injuries. One such safety measure directs employees to wear personal protective equipment such as FR clothing. The latest version of the 70E gives four hazard risk categories (HRC) of PPE based on the potential for arc flash hazards. This is meant to help electricians know how much PPE they need to stay safe on a job.
Why wear FR clothing?
Potential injuries to electrical workers include electrical shocks, burns, falls, and cuts. Over 2,000 people are admitted to hospital burn centers each year needing treatment for severe arc flash burns. Most of these burns are not from the arc flash itself but from non-flame-resistant clothing igniting and burning.
While flame-resistant does not mean fireproof, FR clothing is, nevertheless, an important defense against burns. Here are some important reasons why FR clothing is worn:
• Does not ignite, melt, drip, or continue burning once the heat source has been extinguished;
• Increases one’s probability of surviving arc flashes;
• Insulates the wearer from heat;
• Maintains a barrier from flames; and
• Provides workers with escape time.
FR clothing doesn’t continue to burn, providing workers time to escape.
• Resists breaking apart;
• Reduces burn injuries;
FR clothing is proven to protect workers from arc flash burns and other electrical-related burns. You can save yourself a lot of pain, hospital bills, and even save your life by wearing proper PPE on the job.
Why is wearing comfortable FR clothing important?
At MCR Safety, we always want you dressed head-to-toe in the best PPE available on the market. Safety isn’t everything, however. We also want you to be comfortable on the job. Stiff, hot, clingy, or ill-fitting clothing makes manual tasks, like those in electrical work, difficult if not dangerous. Heat stress is a very real health risk.
Heat is a major concern for electrical workers who operate in the hot sun.
Since electrical work is very manual, a worker’s body needs to be able to dissipate heat and control moisture. Ultra-lightweight, breathable FR clothing is the best option for those who work around electricity. When electrical workers have comfortable FR clothing, they are more likely to wear their PPE and can do their jobs safely. In addition, breathable FR fabrics protect electrical workers from the heat of an arc flash or fire while allowing the body’s own heat to escape, keeping workers cooler and more comfortable.
However, comfort is nearly impossible to quantify. What’s comfortable to one electrician may not be comfortable to another. That’s why MCR Safety offers so many different styles of FR clothing - so everyone can find something to fit their needs.
MCR Safety FR Clothing – Triple-Vented
To give linemen and electricians the breathability they need, MCR uses patented Summit Breeze® technology in our FR clothing. What’s special about this FR technology? Its mesh venting is incorporated onto the back and under the arms, allowing body heat to escape where it builds up the most.
Summit Breeze® technology provides better heat stress management for those working in a hot environment, those who are performing labor-intensive tasks, or a combination of the two. When working in an environment prone to heat stress, vented openings can be a lifesaver. MCR Safety is the only manufacturer providing FR clothing with three total FR mesh vent openings, allowing for exceptional airflow.
Summit Breeze® Technology
Sometimes it’s tempting to choose the cheapest clothing option and save a buck, but you risk putting yourself in danger when you do not select workwear that is both flame-resistant and designed to keep you cool and comfortable. The least-expensive garment that meets the minimum requirements of the standard may not be the best value in the long run.
5.5 oz. FR Workshirt powered by Summit Breeze®
Triple-Vented, Lightweight, and Durable with Ripstop Inherent Blend
Summit Breeze FR Work shirts
In addition to offering triple vents, MCR Safety utilizes comfortable moisture-wicking work fabrics that are lightweight without being clingy. At just 5.5 oz., our ripstop inherent blend material is one of the lightest-weight Category 2 fabrics available on the FR clothing market. Combined with Summit Breeze® triple-vent technology, our workshirts are breathable, moisture-wicking, and extremely durable.
You’ll find triple vents on all MCR Safety FR clothing powered by Summit Breeze® technology. MCR Safety is the only FR clothing manufacturer offering patented triple vents.
Breathable FR fabrics protect you from the heat of an arc flash or fire while allowing your body’s heat to escape. Moisture-wicking fabrics catch and dissipate your sweat so it isn’t dripping down your body. Check out our selection of FR clothing and choose from our variety of double-stitched ripstop shirts and triple-stitched ripstop coveralls for PPE that can stand up to any work hazard, whether that’s actual flames or working around the abrasive objects found on any industrial worksite.
Our Summit Breeze collection includes more than FR shirts. We offer FR coveralls and in a variety of materials and weights. Our next section will show you how to access all Summit Breeze FR clothing protection!
MCR Safety’s FR Clothing Resources
MCR Safety believes in offering high-quality products that provide superior protection. In addition to that, we are passionate about making sure you’re informed when making crucial PPE decisions. That is why we offer electrical workers links to numerous resources to stay up-to-date on all relevant PPE, standards, hazards, and much more.
We now carry a FR Balaclava made from CarbonX.
Here are the resources we’ve assembled to help you find the most appropriate FR clothing:
Summit Breeze® PDF on the left side; FR Online Catalog on the right side.
Questions answered on MCR Safety's FRC Knowledge Center
Below are some questions user typically have and that we address across our FR resource page and in our FR knowledge center:
- How to wash FR clothing? Discussed on our FR laundry page, found here.
- How do you dry FR clothing? Mentioned on our FR laundering page, found here.
- Can I use arm & hammer detergent of FR clothes? Highlighted on our FR laundry page, found here.
- What is FR Clothing made of? Heavily discussed on our FR Knowledge Center Section, found here.
- How do get oil out of FR clothing? Discussed in our FR laundering section, found here.
- Does FR clothing shrink? Most FRC materials do shrink some after initial the initial washing. More on laundering can be found here.
- Where to buy FR clothing near me? Discussed more in the final section below.
- How long does FR clothing last? Discussed in-depth on our FR laundering section, found here.
- What is the the FR clothing Tag? Discussed on our NFPA 2112 page, found here.
- What does FR stand for in clothing? Mentioned in our FR FAQ section, found here.
Lastly, as we highlight in our The ABCs of Leather Work Gloves resource blog, MCR Safety has been known for leather work gloves now for well over 40 years. So, you know we have ARC rated leather work gloves too, 6 styles! We have an entire section devoted to these gloves on our FRC page. We also highlight a survey, with some real-life feedback in how Lineman use FR leather work gloves.
Our MU3624FR was released in 2019. Made with Nomex, an inherent FR material known for being extremely comfortable and an excellent option for electrical workers.
Keep in mind, MCR Safety offers a wide variety of FR clothing, ranging from FR jackets, Hi-Vis FR safety vests, ARC-rated gloves, Hi-Vis FR jeans, FR classic work shirts, FR coveralls, and FR coveralls, so you can find something that suits your personal preferences. You’ll find all these FR options in our FR online catalog. Check it out!
Utility linemen, substation workers, and electrical workers across the country are now armed with one of the lightest, most comfortable FR products available on the market. Are you ready to try out MCR Safety’s FR clothing with Summit Breeze® technology?
If you are, we’re happy to pay the shipping to send you one of our FR products! We know you’ll be satisfied, but if you’re not quite as certain, we’re happy to issue a risk-free product trial period, too! Just leave us a comment here with your interest and we’ll be in touch.
Get your 70E FR Clothing with Summit Breeze technology on order today! We can either have your preferred distributor process the order or we can send one out via our Buy and Try website. Let us know what product you are interested in, and we will help get your risk-free trial order processed and shipped to you.
We are committed to protecting people and can provide all the safety equipment you need. No matter your industry or profession, for over 45 years, MCR Safety has proven to be a world-leader in gloves, glasses, and garments. Whether it’s on the shop floor, an oil rig, or a construction site, we are there providing solutions to workplace hazards. It’s all part of our commitment to protect people.
For more information, browse our website, request a catalog, find a distributor, or give us a call at 800-955-6887.