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T&D Talk, Episode 4: Maximizing FR Protection for Your Field Workforce

Sept. 6, 2023
Derek Sang of Bulwark FR shares strategies for lineworkers to get maximum protection from FR clothing through proper selection, care, maintenance and use.

Flame-resistant (FR) clothing can be lineworkers' last line of defense against arc flash hazards. To help our field readers stay safe in the field, T&D World is devoting a T&D Talk podcast episode to the topic of FR clothing.

Our guest for the episode is Derek Sang, senior technical training manager for Bulwark FR. He has been involved in the FR clothing industry in a variety of roles from the service, manufacturing and garment sides of the business for more than 25 years. He says it's essential for lineworkers to take care of the FR clothing and wear it properly. 

"It doesn't matter how well we build it, it doesn't matter how good it looks, it doesn't matter all the efficiencies that are built into it," he said. "If you're not taking care of it and not wearing it properly, it's not gonna be able to help you in the worst conditions that you'll ever face on the job. I tell folks all the time that we build life-saving pieces of equipment that just happen to look like shirts, pants, and coveralls. My hope is you never have to use it for what I built it for, but if you do, make sure you've taken care of it and you are wearing it properly. Make sure that it's tucked in, rolled down and buttoned up so that you can mitigate any injury that you're going to get from that arc flash."

During the episode, he will first discuss the proper selection, use, care and maintenance of FR garments. Next, he shares his thoughts on common myths and misconceptions. Finally, he addresses the issue of FR and AR clothing and heat stress. 

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • Important factors to consider when selecting FR garments and why it's important to use the garments properly
  • Key factors in caring for FR garments
  • When to repair or replace FR garments
  • Common mistakes made by the line trade when wearing FR clothing
  • Arc-flash and flash-fire hazards of raingear and high-vis vests
  • Proper use of accessories for FR protection
  • Common misconceptions of FR
  • Why it's not OK to just "wear FR when you need it."
  • Whether or not FR contributes to heat stress
  • How layering FR clothing can help when working in hot environments 

For more information on Bulwark FR, visit the website. Also, be sure to follow the Line Life podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcasting app to listen to future T&D Talk episodes. You can also email us at [email protected] with your comments on this episode. 

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