FR protective clothing was a HOT topic in 2018 – from how to wear it during extreme heat and extreme cold, to what private industry can all learn from the Navy’s FR program. A back-of-the-hand protection standard for work gloves, how work boots are getting lighter (but staying strong) and the need to protect first responders from fentanyl exposure were among the top PPE stories of 2018:

FR clothing handles heat & flame — even the cold

Fire and ice

Mark Saner

December 18, 2018

When you’re shivering in the snow, the dangers of heat and flame probably aren’t the first things that come to mind. But even in cold weather, thermal hazards such as arc flash and flash fire pose a serious concern. In fact, when winter brings dry air and strong winds, it can literally help fan the flames.

A+A 2019: The course is set for the world’s biggest trade forum for corporate health and safety

Interview with Wolfram N. Diener, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH

December 11, 2018

Wolfram Diener (54) started his job as operational manager of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH on 1 October 2018. Being responsible for A+A, he handles the world’s biggest trade forum for personal protection, operational safety and health at work. A+A was first launched in 1954 and helps to increase worldwide attention to the issues of occupational health and safety and corporate health management.

Employer must bargain over FR clothing rule

December 6, 2018

The National Labor Relations Board found that an employer violated the National Labor Relations Act when it implemented a rule requiring employees to wear flame-resistant clothing at all times without providing notice or an opportunity to bargain to the union.

Arc flash protection market to expand through 2025

December 6, 2018

A market study report entitled “Global Arc Flash Protection System Market 2018 Industry Research Report” was recently published on QY Market Research. The base year of Arc Flash Protection System market study report is 2017, which gives statistical research data status (2013-2017) and forecast (2018-2025) and also categorizes the Arc Flash Protection System market into the key region, manufacturers, type (Arc Flash Detection & Control System, Personal Protective Equipment, Arc Flash Protection System), and application (Utilities, Manufacturing & Processing Industries, Oil & Gas, Transportation & Infrastructure).

Arc-rated rubber, protector gloves coming soon via ASTM and IEC

December 6, 2018

ASTM F18 voted by 92 percent to allow testing of ASTM D120 and ASTM F696 gloves for arc ratings. Many had been tested, but few manufacturers would label the gloves because the committee had included a statement in the scope to exclude D120 and F696 gloves from arc testing.

4 steps for building an AR/FR winter layering system

Start with the basics

Scott Francis

December 6, 2018

Creating a safe work environment is the sum total of many different parts. Elements such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety procedures must be viewed through the lens of environmental considerations to ensure workers are safe on a jobsite.

How to overcome ergonomic challenges of manual welding guns

Take a Load Off

Remus Hotca

December 4, 2018

Thanks to low operating costs, intrinsic mechanical properties, and the increased production of light vehicles, the global welding products market is set to surge, climbing from $11.82 billion in 2015 to $19.76 billion by 2025. 

When you can’t see, smell or hear hazards

Here’s how to improve your arc flash & electrical safety training

Jim Schuster

December 4, 2018

Working on electrical equipment exposes a worker to electric shock and arc flash hazards. Unlike many safety concerns, these hazards simply can’t be eliminated or avoided as working on or around energized equipment is often required for some tasks, such as using a meter to test for voltage or rack a breaker.

Personal Protective Equipment market to exceed USD 70 billion by 2024

November 28, 2018

According to a new research report by Global Market Insights, Inc. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Market is projected to reach USD 70 billion by 2024. Personal protective equipment is used to protect body from infection, injury, and accidental hazards along with workplace safety to the employees. It includes protective helmets, clothing, goggles, gloves, respiratory protection, and footwear.

Man overboard!

Commercial fishing even more dangerous without PFDs

November 7, 2018

Personal flotation devices (PFDs) save lives – especially in the commercial fishing industry, one of the most dangerous occupations, with a fatality rate in the U.S. 29 times higher than the national average.

Don’t overlook storage, care & use of PAPR batteries

A matter of life-saving maintenance

Maureen Paraventi

November 4, 2018

Although it’s an intricate piece of equipment with a number of components — including a facepiece, a breathing tube and a blower that passes contaminated air through a HEPA filter — a powered air purifying respirator (PAPR) depends heavily on something fairly ordinary in order to function well: a battery.

L.A. firefighters sue over occupational exposure to hazmat

October 29, 2018

Twenty-nine Los Angeles firefighters have filed a lawsuit against Southern California Gas Co., alleging that the utility lied to them about the chemical hazards of a well blowout they responded to in October 2015, resulting in health problems from their exposure to toxins.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

Three tips for choosing the right hearing protector

Capt. David C. Byrne PhD, CCC Chucri Kardous MS, PE Capt. William Murphy PhD Christa L. Themann MA, CCC-A

October 25, 2018

We live in a noisy world. Some noises can damage our hearing, leading to hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and difficulty communicating especially in background noise. Permanent noise-induced hearing damage is incurable.

Following fatal burn injuries, company cited for lack of PPE

October 25, 2018

An OSHA investigation into a fatal incident at an Ohio company has resulted in citations and fines against the company, Globe Metallurgical Inc. OSHA inspectors determined that the employee suffered fatal burns after an explosion from a molten silicon spill.

No fall protection

Construction worker falls to his death in Florida

October 22, 2018

An employee of a Florida roofing company was not wearing fall protection when he plunged to his death at a Maitland worksite. That’s the determination of an OSHA investigation, which found multiple fall-protection violations being committed by the man’s employee, Kasper Roofing & Construction.

Not your father’s bulky, heavy work boots

Footwear sheds weight

Sally J. Smart

October 18, 2018

With more options than ever before, safety footwear is anything but a one-size-fits-all purchase. As you evaluate your footwear program, there are many things to think about, such as job-site hazards, seasonal weather exposure and material durability.

Watch out for eye dangers on the job

October 16, 2018

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 20,000 workplace eye injuries happen each year. Injuries on the job often require one or more missed work days for recovery. OSHA reports that workplace eye injuries cost an estimated $300 million a year in lost productivity, medical treatment and worker compensation.

Four essentials for eye protection at work

October 16, 2018

Know the eye safety dangers at your work. Eliminate hazards before starting work by using machine guards, work screens or other engineering controls. Use proper eye protection.

Back of hand protection market explodes

October 12, 2018

The bones and soft tissues in the back of your hand are all vulnerable to impact injuries. These injuries can range from a bump or bruise to a severe bone fracture. A new U.S. voluntary standard on the performance and classification for impact-resistant gloves is on the way – ISEA (International Safety Equipment Association) Standard 138.

No surprise: Machinery causes most severe hand injuries

October 12, 2018

It’s old news but not surprising news. Minnesota researchers studied the nature, incidence, and cause of work‐related amputation injuries between 1994-1995. 832 workers were identified as having amputation injuries during these years – and incidence rate of 39 per 100,000.

Powered gloves come of age

October 12, 2018

These are mechanized gloves – exoskeletons -- that help workers gain a stronger grasp on tools, or else operate in reverse to help workers who have trouble opening some fingers on their hands to grasp tools. The EksoVest is used on Ford assembly lines. The upper-body exoskeletal tool is designed by a partnership between Ford and California-based Ekso Bionics.

Protective clothing for extreme environments doesn’t have to be uncomfortable

No need to be miserable

M.B. Sutherland

October 8, 2018

While protecting against a hazard is your first and most obvious concern when choosing protective clothing, it might be just as important to consider the environment. If workers are uncomfortable, they can be tempted to cut corners on safety.

Hearing protection purchasing & usage

Exclusive study by Clear Seas Research

Benita Mehta

October 8, 2018

The study, by Clear Seas Research, was conducted to understand the PPE hearing market by identifying brand usage, exploring important attributes of brand selection for PPE and identifying purchase process trends. 

Special safety glasses protect against dust & particles

Avoid irritated eyes

Brent Motchan

September 28, 2018

Most often, people who have Dry Eye Syndrome are middle-aged or older. An estimated 4.88 million Americans over the age of 50 have dry eyes. Although Dry Eye Syndrome is more common to middle age and beyond, younger industrial workers often are subjected to conditions that cause the same symptoms.

Update training on OSHA’s new fall protection rules

Focus on walking surfaces and fixed ladders

John Eckel

September 26, 2018

Experienced employers — from industrial safety managers to construction supervisors -- keep a close eye on measures for worker fall protection. Failures in this category have led OSHA’s annual list of top 10 most-cited violations for most of the past decade.

FR protection is effective, comfortable & stylish

No sacrifices necessary

Mark Saner

September 24, 2018

Producing flame-resistant (FR) fabrics dates back to around 450 B.C. when textiles made from asbestos, which was known to have fire-resistant properties, were used to wrap the bodies of the deceased before they were placed on funeral pyres.

Here are 3 actions to plan for exposure protection

Silica dust’s invisible risks

Donny Beaver

September 20, 2018

If you’re in construction, maritime, hydraulic fracturing, or other general industries using silica, the new silica standard and silica dust should matter to you. Chances are, you could be getting exposed to dangerous respirable silica dust that you can’t even see. And, what you can’t see, can hurt you.

Designing a multi-hazard FR PPE program for petroleum refineries

Expect the Unexpected

Scott Francis

September 18, 2018

Petroleum refineries are laden with various thermal and chemical hazards. Adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) is instrumental in providing a safe work environment for employees to complete the task at hand.

As OSHA’s hazcom standard evolves

Agency plans to align with the UN’s GHS Revision 7

Glenn Trout

September 14, 2018

Back in 2012, OSHA aligned its Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom or HCS) with Revision 3 of the United Nation’s Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling (GHS), which resulted in the current HazCom 2012 Standard.

Alleviate and prevent common foot pain with ergonomic solutions

Can you stand it?

Dr. Kevan Orvitz

September 11, 2018

Without proper footwear and appropriate support for the job, employees can be subject to more than just discomfort. Workers are often faced with back, ankle, knee and hip pain, bad posture and foot problems like plantar fasciitis, sprains, bunions and corns.

Bump caps protect against ‘worker-generated’ impacts

No hard hat required?

Greg Schrab

September 10, 2018

It’s easy to think of head injuries as catastrophic, and they certainly can be. It’s also easy to think of hard hats as the only head injury prevention solution, and they certainly do provide essential protection.

A new ISEA standard protects against blows to the back-of-hand

Reduce sudden impact

Blanche Maass

September 1, 2018

For Ron Hope, value safety manager for Luck Companies, the range of gloves on the market can be confusing. In his industry, the primary wearers of hand impact protection are maintenance workers carrying out tasks involving heavy lifting, handling steel and swinging hammers.

Inside NIOSH:

Life-saving equipment & training critical to surviving a fishing vessel disaster

August 7, 2018

Commercial fishing vessels in the cold, remote waters of Alaska are required to carry equipment to survive vessel sinkings. NIOSH examined the importance of this lifesaving equipment and the need for marine safety training in a recent study published in the journal Safety Science.

Tips to ensure reliable hearing protection

Cut the noise

Lisa Steckert

August 3, 2018

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is the most common permanent and preventable occupational injury impacting workers today. And unlike most injuries it is painless, progressive, permanent and preventable.

Anti-fog coating only as useful as the protective eyewear it’s on

Clear visibility ahead

Wanda Sanchez-Miller

July 24, 2018

It’s vital to provide individuals with the anti-fog (AF) lens coating that meets the rigors of the job. But an effective AF coating is only as good as they eyewear it’s on. If workers are uncomfortable in their fog-free eyewear, they’re likely to remove it.

Fentanyl epidemic presents unexpected risks

Gloves for a Crisis

Joe Kubicek

July 12, 2018

The statistics are numbing. Drug overdoses killed 64,070 people in the U.S. in 2016. The death toll was up 21 percent over 2015. All indications are it will be even higher when the 2017 numbers are determined, according to the CDC. Overdoses are more than an epidemic; they’re a national crisis.

Save lives & reduce injury with FR/AR workwear

Burned in a flash

Mary Padron

July 11, 2018

Workplace burn injury and fatalities are frequently the result of the worker’s clothes catching on fire from two primary workplace hazards: flash fire and electric arc flash also referred to as “thermal incidents.”

FR clothing tips for sweltering weather

High temps don’t mean hot clothes

Mark Saner

July 10, 2018

With warmer weather comes an increased risk of heat stress. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2015 alone, exposure to environmental heat led to 37 work-related deaths and another 2,830 injuries and illnesses that involved days away from work.

High performance FR protecting today’s industrial athletes

Brad Sipe

July 5, 2018

FR apparel today is more stylish, functional and performance-driven. Workers transition from work to date night, working out, doing chores around the house in their FR clothing and they want to look good. They also demand performance.

Regularly assess risks- discomfort, pain and working conditions- to the feet

Stay on your toes

Dr. Kevan Orvitz

June 28, 2018

Foot injuries are among the most prevalent incidents in the workplace, with overexertion listed as the No. 11 most frequently reported injury, and slips and trips as the second. The effects are staggering.

Study: global arc flash protection market will reach $2.50 billion by 2023

June 25, 2018

According to Zion Market Research, the global arc flash protection market was valued at $1.86 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $2.50 billion in 2023, growing at a CAGR of 5.1% between 2018 and 2023.

Protecting hands against just one risk may not be enough

Cuts & Chemical

Steve Genzer

June 21, 2018

Regular laceration injuries in the workplace continue to make a compelling claim for adequate cut protection. In 2016, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed cuts, lacerations and punctures were a leading cause of days away from work due to injury.

Navy FR program offers valuable lessons

First comes testing, then detailed instructions

Maureen Paraventi

June 14, 2018

Private sector companies could take a few lessons from the U.S. Navy when it comes to implementing and managing their flame resistant (FR) clothing programs. Earlier this year, the Navy announced a new piece of FR apparel for sailors stationed aboard ships and submarines.

How metatarsal guards can protect feet from direct trauma

Jeff Goodwin

June 12, 2018

Falling objects are a common risk for injuries, even when dropped from only a few feet. Safety boots are important in many work environments, and depending upon the severity of the risk of foot injury, work boots with a metguard component should be part of an employee’s PPE.

Custom-made PPE solves many challenges

Made to order

M.B. Sutherland

June 7, 2018

When you’re looking to protect workers from a common job hazard, your course is clear. You call your safety sales rep, or maybe even just jump on the internet to look for what you need.

Achieving compliance with new OSHA fall protection regulations

Thom Kramer PE, CSP

June 4, 2018

Now that the OSHA rule on Walking-Working Surfaces and Personal Fall Protection Systems (29 CFR 1910 Subparts D&I) has been effective for more than a year, organizations are still working to understand and implement required changes to fall protection projects, policies and programs.

Respirator Use: How comfort improves safety and productivity

Josie Larsen

May 29, 2018

If there is any one thing that creates a win-win with respiratory protection, especially in terms of return on investment, it is comfort. We will discuss how comfort improves safety and productivity, and explore some of the best ways to ensure comfort.

Wear your FR garments for life

Requirements / responsibilities for care & laundering

Craig Tutterow

May 26, 2018

OSHA considers garments to be PPE, according to OSHA Regulation 29 CFR, 1926.95(a). Additionally, a letter from the Director of the OSHA Directorate of Construction details regulations in which employers must comply with laundering standards.

Knowing Protective Clothing: Match workwear to your hazards

Mark Saner

May 18, 2018

FR, AR, CP, FR/CP — the alphabet soup of protective clothing acronyms is overwhelming in and of itself. And when safety depends on choosing the right products, making sense of the acronyms and the various types of workwear they represent is paramount.

8 ways employers can avoid workplace eye injuries

Aaron Barriga

May 16, 2018

Every day in the U.S. approximately 2,000 employees suffer an eye injury that is serious enough to rush to an ophthalmologist. While most of these eye injuries involve small flying particles that abrade the eye, some are severe and result in total blindness. However, eye injuries can be easily avoided by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

Selecting gloves for welding and cutting

April 24, 2018

Welding gloves can protect you from electric shock, flames, hot parts, sharp or flying metal, and arc rays. Proper gloves are the first line of defense against the hand hazards of welding and cutting. ANSI Standard Z49.1 requires that all welders and cutters wear protective gloves while working.

Know your welding personal protective equipment (PPE)

April 24, 2018

Eye and face protection: Proper eye and face protection for welding safety varies depending on the particular task being performed. Helmet, handshield, goggles and safety glasses or combination of these are acceptable protection in various applications.

The price of not wearing welding PPE

April 24, 2018

During 2014, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that approximately 357,400 welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were employed. Welders and those who perform welding-related activities are susceptible to many occupational hazards, particularly to their ocular and respiratory health.

Welding injuries from insufficient PPE

April 24, 2018

Personal protective equipment (PPE) helps keep welding operators free from injury, such as burns – the most common welding injury – and exposure to arc rays. The right PPE allows for freedom of movement while still providing adequate protection from welding hazards.

All about the general construction fall protection rule

April 23, 2018

The North Dakota Safety Council has put together information about (29 CFR 1926, Subpart M), the general construction fall protection rule, which may come in handy when you’re planning or conducting a Safety Stand-Down. The guide includes: Who the rule covers (most construction workers except those inspecting, investigating, or assessing workplace conditions prior to the actual start of work or after all work is done).

10 tips for choosing the right glove for the job

Matt Burtney

February 21, 2018

When talking about the biggest pain points customers face, cut resistance always tops the list. To ease the confusion, we’ve compiled a list of ten tips for choosing the right cut-resistant gloves.

A NIOSH Science Blog post

I will survive! Air-purifying respirator cartridge/canister

Jaclyn Krah Cichowicz MA Thomas Pouchot MS

February 15, 2018

We need to talk. Every year we use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to talk about our love for respirators and personal protective equipment (PPE). We’ve had some good times frolicking through the standards and maintenance requirements. But today we need to address what happens when it’s just not working anymore.

Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome can be debilitating

Greg Schrab

February 15, 2018

Experts say about two million U.S. workers are exposed to hand-arm vibration on the job and as many as half of them will develop Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS). Here’s a look at what causes HAVS, how to recognize symptoms and how to mitigate the damage.

Coming soon: a glove impact standard

ISEA standard will measure reduction of peak impact force

Dave Johnson

February 13, 2018

Currently, there are no hand protection standards for measuring hand impact reduction. Manufacturers are not required to test the impact protection of their gloves, so how do you evaluate and compare impact protection offered by various glove models?

Computer model predicts wear on shoes

January 26, 2018

If you have ever slipped at work due to worn-out shoes, you know how important good footwear can be. However, even the best shoes wear out, so it is important to replace them before they become a hazard in the workplace. But when, precisely, is that? Slips, trips, and falls are a leading cause of work-related injuries.


Filtering facepiece respirators: To reuse or not to reuse?

January 24, 2018

Improper donning and doffing combined with reuse resulted in more viruses transferred to the hands during scenarios simulating the use of filtering facepiece respirator. The importance of covering a cough or a sneeze to prevent spreading germs to those around us, often using the crook of an elbow, is something that most of us learned before starting school. Healthcare providers typically wear personal protective equipment, such as the filtering facepiece respirator, to protect both themselves and their patients.

New whitepaper from ISEA

What’s New? An Update on the State of Anti-Fog Eye and Face Protection, Technologies and Best Practices

January 23, 2018

Overview: Fog limits the effectiveness of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for eye and face protection. According to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), it is one of the three most significant barriers to their use, ahead of lack of comfort and fit and scratching. If lenses are fogged, people won’t wear them. If workers can’t see, they could have accidents.

Employee complacency when it comes to FR clothing safety

Mark Saner

January 5, 2018

In the best-case scenario, normalization of deviance goes against recommended work practices, but when it comes to safety, this common human tendency can have devastating consequences.