Flame resistant clothing is imperative to keeping utility workers safe.

How FR Clothing Programs Benefit Utility Workers

Productivity Efficient Solutions

Changing regulations and growing numbers of workers have made FR clothing a more important part of the utility industry, and consistency is important.

Changing regulations and growing numbers of workers have made flame resistant clothing (FRC) an increasingly important part of the utility industry. Rather than handing employees a clothing stipend and a catalog for flame resistant clothing, a growing number of employers are instituting FRC programs.

In 2014, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updated its ruling of 29 CFR 1910.269, Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution, formalizing how employers must provide protective clothing to all employees working near electrical equipment that could expose them to injuries caused by a potential flame hazard. In addition to the need to comply with regulations, most companies in the utility industry are also concerned with maintaining the safety of their employees.

In light of these statistics and regulation changes, the status quo — which usually leaves employees to their own devices to comply with FR clothing regulations — just isn’t good enough anymore. In fact, leaving employees in charge of their own clothing leaves your organization open to a number of potential problems, including the following:

1. Safety

When employees launder their own FR garments at home, they may launder them incorrectly, which could affect the flame resistant qualities of the garments. By implementing an FRC program overseen and managed by the employer, safety managers can ensure that the clothing is laundered appropriately.

2. Branding

If company leaders simply give employees a clothing stipend and a catalog for ordering FR clothing, each employee typically buys whatever style or brand he or she prefers. As a result, employees will always be clothed in various types of attire, and the organization may not be able to present one cohesive brand image. On the other hand, when employers implement a managed FRC program, they can provide branded clothing in a consistent style to all employees and maximize their appearance as a branding strategy.

3. Security

That same lack of consistency among employees’ clothing can represent a security issue. When employees buy whatever style they like, they may show up at a customer’s site or work location and customers, partners and other stakeholders may be unsure whether they are truly affiliated with your organization. Rather than relying on name tags or company IDs, a consistent company uniform can help project a consistent image to customers and other people who interact with your employees.

Organizing, implementing and overseeing an FRC program can help promote organizational goals while helping with compliance of federal regulations and assisting with the safety of your employees. And when you partner with a capable vendor, implementing such a program doesn’t require much staff, time or effort.

Nancy Mann Jackson
Nancy Mann Jackson

Nancy Mann Jackson writes regularly about finance, the workplace and career issues. Her work has appeared on CNBC.com, CNNMoney.com, Entrepreneur, Glassdoor.com, DailyWorth.com and Fortune.