Every day, in every country workers are exposed to the risk of burns from myriad threats including fire, electrical arc flash and molten metal splash. Risk of fire in the community -public facilities, transport and in the home - is also driving the flame resistant fabric market, which is increasingly being regulated by government regulations, military regulations, insurance company policies and driven by community expectations for enhanced safety.
According to Mr Nigel Parsons, Product Manager - Technical Division, Charles Parsons & Co P/L, cotton based flame resistant fabrics still dominate the market due to their market- proven performance, natural comfort, and excellent value eg. UltraSoft®, Proban®.
However, the market is moving forward due to innovations in products and materials, improved safety levels and comfort, and advanced hybrid designs. Risk adverse, stringent regulations are driving the growth of flame resistant technology in North America, Europe and China which in turn is advancing the availability of new fibres, fabrics, and finishes. Providing safety in the military is a prime motivator.
Nigel explained his optimism for the future of the Australian textile industry on the the increased need for safety in the workplace, particularly flame resistant protective work wear that, is becoming a pre-requisite for industrial workplaces; and to protect the users of public transport.
At the recent TTNA conference, Nigel described the vibrant and innovative market, where new suppliers, supported by advanced technology, are offering new fibres and new blends. Nigel discussed the importance of supporting products and customers with comprehensive testing and measuring; and his belief that the development of Australian standards for fire retardant fabrics is critical for the future.
Given the responsibility of company directors and employer’s to provide a safe work environment, compliance, he says is the soundest investment against the threat of any accident.