Every day, thousands of workers across the U.S. put their safety on the line when they go to work. The most common risks to industrial workers are those that involve flame hazards and hot materials. On our FRC resource page, we highlight the dangers that most commonly wreak havoc on numerous industries, causing devastating injuries to employees.
Hazards That Require FR Clothing
While these jobs and their duties may be necessary to society, the risk of injury is lowered when workers wear proper PPE. Modern flame-resistant (FR) clothing does an excellent job of protecting employees from burns in all industries. Certified FR clothing protects against things like arc flashes, arc blasts, fires, explosions, and other job-related burns. While no clothing is fireproof, FR clothing increases your chances of surviving a fire hazard by insulating you from the heat, not catching fire, and not melting. This gives you a chance to escape with minimal injuries.
MCR Safety’s most recent lineup of FR clothing, powered by Summit Breeze® Technology, provides users with powerful FR performance and the lowest burn rate percentages available on the market today. Due to its triple-venting construction, users wearing our FR clothing are safer and find themselves enjoying the breathable, lightweight, functional, and appealing FR clothing.
Summit Breeze® Technology
A worker’s access to MCR Safety’s high-quality FR garments relies greatly on employers. Federal laws require employers to equip employees with the right FR clothing to ensure their safety, which is where FR managed uniform programs come in.
There is a variety of ways U.S. companies implement these programs to protect staff, and each has its pros and cons. Let’s explore what these FR managed uniform programs entail as you consider which might be the best option for your company.
What is an FR Managed Uniform Program?
An FR managed uniform program is the procedure a company follows to ensure employees have the flame-resistant clothing (FRC) required to do their jobs safely. Safety departments implement these programs due to workplace hazards like arc flash and flash fires. With today’s industry cutbacks, multiple sizes required, different employee requirements and wardrobe preferences, and a need to stay compliant with safety regulations at all times, these FR managed uniform programs become an actual lifesaver (no pun intended) to safety professionals. This is why we start off this article by making sure you're familiar with why these programs are important.
An FR clothing program is an ongoing project, involving both the procurement of the PPE and the maintenance required to keep FR uniforms functioning safely. It’s worth noting, too, that a company must have enough FR uniforms on hand, either purchased or rented, available in the right sizes and styles to fit all employees comfortably and safely. This task can become a major time filler and requires extra personnel to manage, which is why, once again, managed FR programs are preferred. Managed FR clothing programs help make the details of providing your company with FR gear easier, so you have less to worry about.
Here are some facets that make up a managed FR program:
- FR uniforms and gear need to be laundered and cared for appropriately to maintain their flame-resistant qualities. It’s a requirement by law! Damaged uniforms must be replaced promptly so that workers stay safe. Managed FR programs remove this headache of keeping track of laundering schedules and replacement pieces for purchasing and safety professionals.
- A program should balance the needs of the employees with the cost to the company. Ultimately, however, the goal is to avoid work injuries and OSHA citations.
- FR clothing management programs are a business expense that must be accounted for in the budget. The company accountant will be regularly reviewing the costs of the FR gear to make sure the company stays within their predetermined budget. Sticking to a budget may require some effort to recognize spending patterns, build relationships with vendors who can offer discounts on FR clothing services, and remind employees to take care of their gear. A managed program helps to do all of those things.
FR uniforms are a vital part of any job that involves the risk of flames and fire, and it is the company’s responsibility to protect workers from these risks as much as possible. Failure to do so can result in OSHA fines, insurance claims, and increased worker’s compensation costs. And, for those companies that are having trouble managing FR clothing, failure to provide adequate FR protection in functional condition can lead to the loss of a worker’s life.
Just remember, if you’re a company or safety professional needing to implement a uniform program, you have options in how to source FR clothing.
Types of FR Managed Programs
Have you ever heard the saying, “You’re not comparing apples to apples”? Just look at how each of the seven apples above is different. Each may be an apple, but they’re all different. When you’re comparing different types of PPE, this statement always applies, as there are so many variations on the market. And, with managed FR programs, the same applies, too: there are multiple programs available offering to meet your company’s FR clothing needs.
Every company has different needs when it comes to FR clothing, especially with so many product variations in the market. One company may require an FR balaclava, whereas another company may need only FR coveralls. One company has more temporary workers, compared to another which has more salaried workers. These different needs and situtations ultimately mean that you’ll find a variety of managed FR clothing programs to meet each of them.
Here are the most common types of managed FR programs:
Allotment Programs allow your company to predetermine a set amount of FR garments for each employee. Employees are free to select their preferred combination of approved garments within the specified allotment.
Allowance Programs are based on an established dollar amount or budget that each employee can spend on company-approved FR items. This gives employees the most flexibility and satisfaction in choosing their gear. It’s also the easiest way for companies to budget for the expense of FR equipment.
Combination Programs are just what they sound like--a combination of allotment and allowance programs. An experienced FR clothing supplier will help customize a program that meets both your employees’ and company’s needs. If this last one sounds too good to be true, just keep in mind there are pros and cons to any program.
Whatever program you select, you should read up on some best practices first. BIC Magazine’s article, “FR clothing programs: Best practices to ensure worker compliance, reduce costs,” provides some additional insight when you are considering which program is best for your company’s needs. Everyone can use some best practices before having to make tough decisions.
Pros and Cons of FR Programs
Of course, as with anything in life, there are pros and cons to every FR clothing program. When selecting one, you’ll have to consider your company’s and employees’ needs to find a program that works for everyone. Here are some points to consider when making this difficult decision:
*Purchasing FR Clothing for employees is a simple way to ensure you get a variety of garments your employees need. Here is what you’ll need to consider:
- PRO - When you buy items, you know what you’re getting. There is no hidden agenda as might be the case in working with a rental program.
- CON - Purchasing directly sets a company up with the responsibility of proper care, which includes laundering and training. Also, ensuring there is proper gear available immediately for new employees can be a hassle that someone will have to spend time on.
*Renting FR garments is another option that has both pros and cons. In a rental program, you rent the uniforms you need from an industrial laundry supplier. They supply a set number of uniforms per employee, usually enough to wear throughout the week while the rest are being laundered. Here is what you’ll need to consider:
- PRO - This method ensures uniforms are cared for properly, and it’s easier to accommodate staffing fluctuations this way. You can also count on uniforms being upgraded periodically. The expense of renting is also much more predictable.
- CON – renting does require a commitment to a rental agreement, and the styles of uniforms are limited to what your supplier carries.
Examples of How the Service Works
While the above may be common ways to handle FR uniforms, these programs can look a little different depending on who the vendor is. Here are some examples of how managed FR clothing programs work with different providers.
Electrican wearing FR clothing with Summit Breeze Technology
- Arrow Uniform can combine rental, lease, or direct purchase programs to ensure your company and its employees all get what they need. Arrow helps you identify your employees’ PPE needs and keeps track of rented or leased apparel. Everything comes to you expertly cleaned and in good repair. For direct purchases, they offer a broad range of name-brand FR garments to choose from on custom-built company e-stores.
- Cintas rents out a variety of FR garments so everyone can find the style and size they need. Their expereinced rental uniform finder offers collections of gear that make it easy for your company to find what they need.
Welder wearing FR Coverall powered by Summit Breeze Technoloy
- FR Safety helps companies set up a custom online ordering webpage of their products so employees and administrators can easily log in to order company-approved FR clothing. Supply and order information updates quickly to make the process easy.
- Hudson Workwear helps you save money by handling individual employee accounts. They ensure employees stay within the budget allocated for FR clothing and purchase only company-approved products, so everyone gets the right arc or category ratings and nothing unsuitable for the job. All ordering and questions are handled between employees and Hudson Workwear, so you don’t have to be the middleman.
- Tyndale offers a direct-buy allowance, allotment, and managed industrial laundry programs that can be customized for your company’s needs when employees order from their catalog. They work directly with employees for ordering, delivery, and customer service.
Former football lineman, now welder, wearing a ripstop FR welding shirt powered by Summit Breeze Technology
- Unifirst offers custom full-service FR clothing rental and laundering programs. With uniforms suitable for multiple industries, every company can find what they need. Professional laundering and repairs keep uniforms clean and in good shape for the intended wear life of each garment.
FR Clothing – U.S. Company Rental List
The above highlights only some of the most recognized programs offered in the U.S. by leading FR distribution companies. There are numerous companies, however, that rent uniforms. MCR Safety doesn’t advocate for any specific rental company over another or for one company’s managed FR program over another’s program. We only highlight the above so we can accomplish what we do: protecting people with high-quality PPE.
We’re here and ready to help you with any FR clothing questions or to assist you in finding specific products, like our triple-vented Summit Breeze® products. If you prefer to work with one of the above companies but you want access to MCR Safety’s Summit Breeze® Technology, we can work with your preferred company to get you set up with our FR clothing lineup. You only need to let us know you’re interested!
MCR Safety Distributors
MCR Safety sells PPE to a vast network of industrial distributors. Some of the companies you’re already purchasing MRO products from, like nuts and bolts, can sell you MCR Safety products, too, including our FR clothing. We already have PPE programs in place with almost all leading industrial distributors, so getting MCR Safety’s FR clothing should never be a concern for anyone.
We also have a team of field representatives anxious to visit with any company looking for a complete review of their workplace hazards. Our 360° Protection Program is a free service offered by MCR Safety designed to review and assess your current safety gear. During this assessment, our team of dedicated professionals can assist with selecting our industry-leading FR clothing that will offer your workers increased protection on the job. They can also provide insight into other MCR Safety PPE, demonstrate our products, and provide onsite FR training. The team brings our FR clothing to the training to ensure we’ve got your workers fitted to the correct size!
Schedule having an MCR Safety local representative visit!
Don’t forget, we manufacture safety glasses, work gloves, and hi-vis garments, too! Our trained 360° professionals can discuss these products and help match you with the right PPE for the job.
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 numerous FR resources to stay up-to-date on all relevant PPE, standards, hazards, and much more.
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.
Managing FR Programs and FR Clothing
FR managed uniform programs in the U.S. are vital for helping companies keep their employees safe from the dangers of arc flash, flash fires, and flames while working on the job. Whatever FR managed uniform program you use, make sure the garments provided are top-quality products that are rated correctly for the risk of fire that your workers face every day.
Our new FR clothing powered by Summit Breeze® technology is a top-quality product we’ve highlighted above. If you have questions about appropriate FR garments for your industry, the professionals at MCR Safety can help.
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.