The Evolution of TECGEN

August 13, 2012

Here at TECGEN®, Our mission of exceeding compliance standards and quality expectations for flame-resistant garments is woven into the TECGEN® fiber itself. The patented, bi-regional inherently flame-resistant fiber has a high density carbonaceous shell that absorbs incredible heat, yet allows the comfortable inside fiber to remain untouched. It also contains an acrylic core that allows the fiber to maintain good textile properties. The beauty of TECGEN® fiber is that the fiber can be blended or spun into normal textiles.

It started with TECGEN XTREME® non-structural turnout gear. Dual certified for NFPA 1951 (technical rescue) and NFPA 1977 (wildland firefighting), TECGEN XTREME® garments allow your body to maintain cooler temperatures, decreasing the likelihood of heat stress and heart attacks on the job. With three times the THL of turnout gear, XTREME protective apparel combats heat-related fire-fighting risks while providing the same protection as heavier gear.

Through our unwavering commitment, we expanded to offer garments to other relevant industries. Industrial fire resistant and flame retardant wear is classically regarded as bulky and uncomfortable; however, it is mandated wear in the electric, oil, and gas industries. So we put our premier fire-resistant fiber to work and wove a new blend that is changing the way every day wearers perceive personal protective gear. By combining light weight, fast moisture wicking technology and exceptional breathability, TECGEN SELECT® product lines are the next generation in quality industrial FR wear.

TECGEN SELECT® flame resistant clothing products are known for their low fabric weight, high garment breathability, and fast moisture wicking capability. The lightest product on the market dual certified for NFPA 70e HRC 2 arc flash protection and NFPA 2112 flash fire resistance, our apparel exceeds protective standards by utilizing the same high quality inherently flame-resistant fiber found in XTREME gear.

-The TECGEN Talker

Posted in Flame Resistant Clothing. Tagged as ARC Flash Protection, Fast Moisture Wicking, Flame Resistant Fiber, High Garment Breathability, Industrial Fire Resistant, Wildland Firefighting.

FR Clothing: Best Practices for a Successful Wear Trial

August 3, 2012

Flame resistant (FR) clothing has become a product category which many safety and health professionals are very familiar with.  EHS managers in a wide variety of industries are now educated about this type of protective clothing as the adoption of standards set forth by NFPA (National Fire Protection Association)70E, NFPA 2112, and NESC (National Electric Safety Code) have drastically increased in the last two decades.  The good news for industrial safety professionals is there are more options in FR clothing today than ever before to comply with these standards.  This leaves a simple question:  which FR clothing option is best for a specific company?  The only way to determine the optimal FR clothing choice for any facility is to administer a proper wear trial.  This article will discuss best practices to ensure a wear trial results in the best flame resistant clothing choice for industrial workers.

 

Evaluate Protection Levels Needed

FR Clothing varies greatly in the protection levels provided, from fabric to fabric and from garment to garment.  The first step in the process is to clearly understand the hazards workers face in a particular facility or working environment.  NFPA 70E, the code for electrical safety in the workplace, classifies these hazards in five Hazard Risk Categories (HRC), ranging from 0-4.  The Arc Thermal Protection Value (ATPV) of a particular garment determines which HRC level the garment falls into.  A thorough arc-flash analysis will indicate which arc-rated garments qualify to provide the safety protection workers must have in a particular facility.  NFPA 2112 on the other hand is the guide for which EHS Managers in Oil, Gas, and other flash-fire prone industries use to determine their FR clothing options.  This standard is much more straightforward, as a garment either passes or fails the standard depending on the predicted body burn percentage a worker is exposed to while wearing the clothing.  There are a myriad of resources and services available to S&H Professionals to help narrow the FR clothing choices for a wear trial based on safety requirements.

 

Evaluate Working Environment and Tasks

Once the required protection levels are established, the next step in narrowing choices for a FR clothing wear trial is to evaluate the environment and tasks of the workers required to wear the garments.  Are the conditions hot and are workers exposed to heat-related illness?  If so, seek lightweight and breathable fabric options to minimize the risk of heat stress.  Do workers require several tools or devices to complete tasks?  Research garment options that offer utilities such as deep pockets, loops, and easy access.  What durability is needed?  A maintenance worker who performs welding and grinding duties has different durability needs than an electrician performing his or her tasks in the same plant.  It's common to see different needs based on environment and tasks within the same facility.  EHS Professionals can administer wear trials with garments that meet all needs if the safety requirements are met by researching all FR manufacturers.

 

Determine Best Employees To Participate In The Wear Trial

Once FR clothing options are funneled based on protection level, working environment, and tasks required by the wearers, choose the best workers to participate.  The ideal participants have experience wearing flame resistant or arc-rated clothing, are knowledgeable about all tasks and varying environments their co-workers are faced with, and are known for providing valuable feedback to management on a variety of topics.  They are opinionated and don't hesitate to give their sincerest points of view.  These veterans have experience and are respected by management and co-workers alike for the work they do and the leadership they provide.  These types of individuals are the best candidates to provide unbiased results for Safety Personnel to evaluate at the conclusion of the wear trial.

 

Administer The Wear Trial In An Unbiased Fashion

Once garment selections and participants are set, produce the most accurate wear trial results by establishing a few parameters.  Choose a timeline as an example a drilling contractor in South Texas should run the wear trial in the intense heat of July instead of the cold month of January to evaluate the comfort of workers in high temperatures.  If durability is a great concern, choose to do the wear trial during a plant turnaround when heavy mechanical duties are required.  Make the timeline succinct by establishing a specific wear trial start and end date.  The participants chosen should wear the garment selections one day at a time and should wear and wash each garment choice the same number of times within the given timeframe.  It's important that each participant wears all garment choices if employee A wears one garment and employee B wears another, accurate results cannot be achieved.  Lastly, select a measurement device.  Most reputable U.S.-based FR manufacturers should provide a standardized survey which allows management to evaluate the results.  Otherwise, develop an internal survey that gives precise metrics based on a specific working environment.  Combine these metrics with subjective feedback from the participants to gather the end results.

 

Decide On The Product Of Choice

The results provided by the wear test survey, combined with the verbal feedback provided by the participants will reveal the best FR clothing options for an industrial company.  Safety Management and Purchasing should then evaluate the final selections' total cost of ownership for a period of several years by taking garment replacements, employee turnover, and longevity of the garments into consideration.  The cost of FR clothing can vary greatly depending on fabric, comfort value, and garment life. The flame resistant clothing choice a company ultimately makes, however, depends on the value it places on the safety, comfort, and feedback of its employees.

-The TECGEN Talker