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Comfort = Safety + Compliance in FR Clothing

The comfort of flame-resistant workwear is significant in promoting safety compliance.

The Importance of Comfort

While safety is the most crucial factor in flame-resistant clothing, comfort is also a key factor to consider. Uncomfortable work uniforms are one of the reasons why workers might choose not to wear them. Some work uniforms are uncomfortable because they can feel hot in summer or stiff and hard to move in, in winter. Employees need to stay cool in the summer, warm in the winter, and need to be able to move freely to work safely.

Comfort Innovations

Recent innovations in making clothing more comfortable include better fitting and feeling FR Denim. FR Jeans are a suitable alternative to FR work pants and workers wear them both on and off work. Other innovations are fabrics made for breathability and moisture control. Innovations also include programs that give wearers the ability to measure their body sizes to purchase a better fitting uniform. Users have found that this cuts out the runaround to get the right fit. Uniforms are more comfortable to wear when the physical needs of the users are considered. New innovations in uniforms are oriented to the job functions of the users. For example, many uniforms are made using performance fabric technology built in.

The Psychology and Physiology of Comfort

The human nervous system is one of the body's fastest, most responsive systems. It instantly sends signals to our brain telling us what feels, tastes, smells, looks, and sounds right. Each individual is different, and we all have specific needs. This is especially true when it comes to a worker's uniform. Something as simple as clothing can affect the performance and output of any worker. The mindset of a worker is affected when they wear uncomfortable clothing. FR workwear should be comfortable, so employees won't be distracted from their jobs.

Data Analysis Tools

Tests have been developed to measure clothing fabric on various characteristics to determine if materials are scratchy or soft, too thick or thin, and to evaluate fabrics' breathability and wicking capabilities. One test is the Kawabata Evaluation System; this system uses special tools to assess the properties of any material. Another test is the Qmax Warm/Cool Touch Test, which rates the warmth and coolness of fabric when it makes skin contact. The Guarded Sweating Hot Plate Instrumentation is a test that evaluates the transfer of heat and moisture through the material in any controlled environment.
There have been many advances in assessing, measuring, and creating fabrics and clothing to make them more comfortable for any industrial worker. The goal of having workers wear proper workwear is to keep them safe while feeling comfortable enough to wear both on and off the clock. FR uniforms should work as hard as the people wearing them.

Other Factors to Consider

Employees' needs and wants are only one factor that comes into play when choosing FR workwear and outerwear. Other factors are the work environment and job requirements. Intense heat or cold on the job site requires different clothing than less extreme temperatures. Large companies often have concrete uniform policies. These policies may include particular pieces of clothing, such as FR jackets or FR shirts.

Ensuring Compliance

Ensuring the safety of employees is a top priority for all businesses. Not wearing PPE correctly can leave employees injured and underprepared in the event of a workplace emergency. The best way to ensure that employees wear safety clothing correctly is to strike a balance between the comfort and style of the workwear while making certain the uniforms meet all necessary safety certification requirements. Comfortable flame-resistant workwear will be worn correctly, which will help keep the wearer safe in a flash fire or arc flash event. By providing comfortable flame-resistant clothing that matches the needs of the employees and their job duties, workers will be at an increased level of preparedness for emergency situations.