Safety Articles

Article # 3210

Under Fire...and Playing It Safe

With the highest incidence of occupational injuries and illnesses - 10.6 per 100 full-time employees per year - the manufacturing industry has to make safety of utmost concern. Today, preventing injuries in the workplace has become a full-time effort, with companies employing safety professionals and emergency medical technicians to help prevent accidents and protect employees. On the front lines are industries whose work requires employees to come face-to-face with open fire, intense heat and the potential dangers these hazards pose. Fortunately, for every potential hazard there is a range of personal protective equipment designed to reduce the possibility of injury while keeping workers comfortable and productive.

Keeping the Flames at Bay
Finding an effective solution to flame protection is a shared goal for most manufacturing companies - a goal that Magid has helped many to realize, thanks in part to flame retardant Spark Guard Greens, designed to protect those workers most at risk. "More than anything, we need protection against burns," says Chuck Finley, safety coordinator at a steel foundry. "Fifty to seventy-five employees - about half our staff - are exposed to flames and wear Greens from Magid, especially pants. Since we started using them, there has been a definite decrease in the incidence of burns."

According to Finley, in addition to the protection, Spark Guard Greens offer workers comfort, which is critical to ensuring compliance. "If the protective garments are comfortable, the workers don't mind wearing them all the time. Spark Guard Greens are made of cotton, so they're lightweight and keep the workers cool," Finley said. "They are much more comfortable than leather or aluminum, and they provide the appropriate level of protection. I've gotten lots of good feedback from employees."

A company that manufactures exhaust systems, pipes, and mufflers also keeps its employees outfitted in Magid's Spark Guard Greens. "Out of 700 employees at the lab, we have about 175 welders and they all use Spark Guard Greens," notes storeroom attendant Daniel Clever. "Our welders use machines that mostly expose the top half of the body to heat - and the Spark Guard jackets make them 99% less vulnerable to the flames."

Magid put Spark Guard Greens to the supreme test at SGS U.S. Testing, Inc., an independent testing facility. Garments were tested using the Federal Test Method Standard (FTMS) 191A Method 5903.1, a standard vertical flammability test. The FTMS measures char length, after-flame and after-glow times. The Magid Greens maintained their original flame resistance, even after 50 washings.

As for employee satisfaction, Clever agrees with Finley about the comfort and wearability of Spark Guard Greens. "I was just talking to one of our welders today about Spark Guard Greens, and he said he doesn't mind wearing them, because they're really comfortable. We know when workers are comfortable and protected, they are most likely to wear the garments and keep our workplace safe."

Training Adds Critical Layer to Ensuring Safety
The most effective way to reduce injuries on the job is twofold, according to Finley of the steel foundry. "You begin with training," says Finley. "Then, after you teach the employees to use their heads and common sense, you provide them with the proper protective garments."

At the steel foundry, the working environment demands that both training and protective clothing be top-notch. "We work in a steel foundry. We pour bubbling hot liquid steel into molds and make castings," said Finley. "We are constantly exposed to fire, heat, and sparks." Thankfully, due to the in-house training program - during which new employees undergo a rigorous orientation to give them a sense of potential dangers and the workings of the company - accidents are few and far between. However, as added insurance against injury, the foundry uses personal protective equipment (PPE). Finley says this multi-level approach helps ensure compliance with OSHA standards, increases worker satisfaction and comfort and reduces costs for lost-time workers' compensation claims.

Relying on a World Leader
With the role of PPE growing ever more prominent in industries faced with flame and fire, the value of a reliable resource is reinforced. When considering safety partners, Clever of the exhaust systems, pipes and mufflers manufacturer looked for a combination of quality and reliability. "We had purchased supplies from Magid in the past, and then switched to another company for various reasons," Clever notes. "Then we realized what we were missing. Not only is Magid more affordable and the products they offer of a higher quality, their delivery service is unbeatable. Our supplies are always here when we need them."

Finley of the steel foundry said that it was a fusion of factors that made them choose Magid and Spark Guard Greens over a competing brand. "We were looking for a good, quality product, that was also affordable for our company," Finley says. "We certainly don't cut any corners when it comes to safety and sometimes spending a little more goes a long, long way in terms of protection and comfort. Fortunately, Magid Spark Guard Greens just happen to provide a fantastic product at a good price."

With Magid, these companies have discovered the right combination of personal protective equipment, training and proactive prevention - a combination that will help the manufacturing industry withstand the heat of even the most flame-intensive applications.