Meeting the standard
Read how we used our tried and tested method of understand-measure-control-improve to ensure FireBear achieved the EN61482 standard for British energy company SSE PLC.
Learn how we developed a lightweight, high quality arc flash solution using our experience and knowledge.
FR and arc flash protective clothing has always been seen as hot, heavy, and cumbersome. That’s why 10 years ago we made it our primary assignment to create, continually evolve and develop a leading high quality and lightweight FR & arc solution. The original requirement was for wearers to be able to comfortably use FireBear in the summer, whilst being equally protected from risk.
We've been working with various utility providers & operators for more than 10 years, being actively involved in PPE development with the organisations. We’ve also built-up expertise and a high level of knowledge of the sector, requirements, and safety standards.
Flame retardant arc flash protective workwear provides protection for workers against burns from flames and electrical arc flash situations, making it vital PPE for any worker carrying out tasks in a live electrical environment.
This can range from construction workers digging where underground cables may lie, to technicians operating and maintaining electrical power equipment worldwide. The list of industry sectors at risk of arc flash also includes:
• Electricity generation operations
• Power grid infrastructure operation & maintenance
• Standby emergency services & multi-role workers
• Large scale industrial operations that require high levels of power
• Rail track maintenance (as more of the rail network becomes electrified)
• Telecoms installation and maintenance
• EV charging and handling of damaged electric vehicles
• Renewable energy including solar, wind & wave
• Broadband and data
When first developing FireBear we did an analysis of the material composition of products and made the decision to only work with inherently flame-retardant fabrics. The motivation for this was driven by the need to ensure that workers were adequately protected throughout the product’s life.
40 years of experience in the workwear industry meant we understood that by using natural bases for fabrics such as cotton & wool kept workers safe and performing and ensured better moisture management and temperature control.
For arc protection to meet and exceed the standards, we paid particular attention to accompanying standards such as hi vis and waterproof properties during development. A ‘road map to perfection’ was drawn up.
We continually improve our FireBear product rage in terms of fit and durability, such as the use of products with segmented hi vis tape and stretch material. We are also currently working hard to achieve the challenges around lightweight hi vis orange RIS-3279 standard arc wear.
We used high cotton content non-treated fabrics to ensure additional durability and enhanced comfort. The use of features such as a raglan sleeve design underarm gussets, articulated knees, and drop back tops, all play a part in making FireBear the brand of choice.
Upon entry into the market the main problem was weight, which FireBear solved by pioneering the use of layers to achieve high levels of protection. Another common issue with coveralls and boilersuits was full body movement and comfort, which we solved with underarms gussets.
FireBear made a choice to fully certify complete garments, not just fabric. Full garment certification is essential to guarantee compliance. Our factories are subject to strict audit procedures, and we’re certified to both European and US & Canada arc standards.