Welders work all day in an environment where hot sparks and molten metal are a way of life. Clothing ignition and burn injuries are one of the top concerns that welders have.
Are fire resistant jackets suitable for welding?
It must be understood that fire resistant fabrics will never eliminate all burn injuries. Fire resistant materials are designed so the clothing does not ignite and continue burning or melt and to minimize burn injury in the event of momentary ignition. This material by no means allows the wearer to be subjected to sustained fire such as might be expected by a fire fighter.
The definition of flame resistance as stated in ASTM, American Association of Testing Materials, standards makes no mention that fire resistant clothing will prevent burn injury. Fire resistant clothing was never designed to provide the primary protection to those involved in welding, just as there are special fabrics used in clothing produced for fire fighters there is also fabrics that have been designed for welding applications.
The manufacturers of fire resistant jackets often find themselves in odd situations as they do not know in what way their products will be used. To avoid potential confusion the manufacturers always include a warning label on their clothing that states the garment is not to be used where there is constant thermal exposure.
The purpose of fire resistant jackets in a welding application is its ability to resist ignition should it be accidently be exposed to sparks or weld spatter. Fire resistant jackets can play a role in providing protection to a welder but they must not be considered or thought of as primary protection.
There are specific fire resistant fabrics that have been designed for use in clothing worn by welders. Like everything else, there is always something which is purpose designed for the supplication.
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