Law Office of Michael R. De La Paz

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Fire resistant clothing vital in oil field work

Your job as an oil field worker is demanding in many ways. It often requires long hours and brute strength. You may spend days away from home and return exhausted and dirty. However, the money is good, and you are able to provide your family with a comfortable, steady life, which is more than many people can say.

Without question, the job is dangerous. You are dealing with heavy equipment operated by workers who may be tired and distracted. There is also the ever-present exposure to toxic chemicals and the chance of pipeline explosions or fires. These leave you susceptible to life-changing burns. Fortunately, the industry is always seeking ways to protect you and your fellow workers with appropriate clothing.

The importance of fire resistant clothing

You may be among the first to say that the problem with flame-resistant clothing is that it is uncomfortable in the Texas heat. Nevertheless, you know the possibilities if you do not have that layer of protection. Perhaps you know of oil workers who have suffered serious burns and who have subsequently spent months in the hospital undergoing painful and costly treatment.

If your FR clothing is not comfortable or makes it difficult for you to carry out your duties, you are less likely to be diligent about wearing it correctly. You may roll up your sleeves or leave your shirt unbuttoned. This exposes your skin to potential burns. Your employer should provide you with FR clothing that fits properly, allows you to move freely and provides the appropriate level of protection for your skin without smothering you.

Types of protective clothing

Of course, it is always best to prevent such accidents from occurring, but you do not want to be left unprotected when the unthinkable happens. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires your employer to provide protection for you based on the hazards in your job. Depending on the line of work you do in the oil field, you may require a different type of fire resistant clothing than another worker in a different area.

Your job may demand protection from a specific hazard, for example:

  • Flash fires
  • Blowouts
  • Electrical arc fires
  • Chemical hazards

Each of these risks requires a different kind of protective clothing. Additionally, your job may be hazardous because you do not have high visibility to other workers, especially those operating large equipment. For this reason, your protective clothing may also be brightly colored. It is also critical that your employer replace any protective clothing that shrinks or becomes worn or torn. Sturdy and durable FR clothing may be the difference between life and death.

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