Spray Safe: The Rules For Insect Repellent And FR Clothing

29 Apr

Spray Safe

With every new bug season, come swarms of new questions as to how to properly use insect repellent while wearing FR garments. Here are Bulwark’s “do and don’t” details. Make that, DEETails.

DEET is the active ingredient in many well known, and often used, insect repellents (liquids, lotions, sprays, wristbands, etc.). It is used to ward off biting pests such as mosquitoes and ticks – insects that may or may not be carrying far peskier diseases like West Nile Virus and Lyme Disease.

The problem for those who work where there are arc flash and flash fire hazards? DEET is HIGHLY flammable. Any flame resistant clothing sprayed with it has the potential to ignite and continue to burn if exposed to an ignition hazard.  Your guys don’t need that kind of fuel source.

Bulwark’s best advice: Do NOT put DEET on your FR clothing.  Ever. So stay, and spray, safe as warm weather approaches.

OSHA Revises 1910.269 Compliance Dates

25 Mar Bulwark_Email_March


In April of 2014, OSHA revised CFR 1910.269 mandating that certain employers must provide their employees with protective clothing that will not melt, drip, or ignite and that will not contribute to injury. Given the challenges the market is having adapting to this sizable regulatory shift, OSHA has released new 2015 compliance milestones.

Even though OSHA is being sensitive to the challenge the market is experiencing by extending the compliance dates, we at Bulwark are still fielding a number of questions from our customers. Please reach out to your Bulwark representative with any questions you may have. In the meantime, here are answers to our most common 1910.269 inquiries


1910.269 FAQs

Will I be able to comply with the new law by layering FR garments? Yes, layering is allowed and is one way to achieve an arc rating greater than or equal to the incident energy that a worker could possibly be exposed to.
NOTE: The total arc rating of a layered clothing system must be arc tested as a composite; simply adding the arc ratings of separate clothing layers is not enough. Bulwark has one of the largest databases of outer layers over base layers.  Click here to view our Layering Summary

How do I know I am specifying the right clothing for my employees? If clothing is labeled as meeting the requirements of ASTM F1506-10a (or ASTM F 1891 for rainwear) and has an arc rating sufficient to protect against the incident energies identified in your hazard/risk assessment, you can feel confident about your selection.

Do the changes in OSHA 1910.269 include jackets and rainwear? Yes. The final rule requires that the outermost layer of clothing be flame resistant/arc rated. Compliant jackets/outerwear must meet the requirements of ASTM F1506-10a; compliant rainwear must meet the requirements of ASTM F1891.

Do the changes in the regulation affect my contractors? All requirements mandated by the revised OSHA 1910.269 regulation apply to contractors who must wear PPE that meets the level of performance indicated by the results of the host employer’s hazard/risk assessment.

My linemen are in FR shirts and non-FR jeans now. What do we need to do to comply with the new law?  Non-flame resistant/non-arc rated pants are no longer acceptable under the new regulation, even if they are made of heavy weight natural (non-melting) fibers. Workers are now required to wear flame resistant/arc-rated clothing – which should cover the entire body.

Is it possible that I won’t have to make any changes in my FR clothing program? Yes, if an organization has already completed a hazard/risk assessment and has outfitted its employees in flame resistant clothing with an arc rating greater than or equal to the incident energy identified in your assessment, you may not need to make any changes.

NFPA 70E 2015: The New Terms Of Electrical Safety

24 Feb Bulwark.70E


As the standard for electrical safety in the workplace, NFPA 70E is designed to help you, your workers and your organization properly identify potential workplace hazards, better understand and assess those risks, and determine which PPE is appropriate for which task. In the NFPA 70E 2015 edition, there are several significant updates, including a very important change in the terminology around PPE classifications.

Specifically, the industry’s long-used HRC (Hazard Risk Category) designation has been eliminated and replaced by the term “PPE Category”. This was done in an effort to simplify the selection of which PPE is appropriate for any given task, and to be more reflective of PPE’s defining purpose – personal protection.

You’ll also notice that “HRC 0” has been removed from the table of arc-related clothing requirements, as it was decided that the table should only be reserved for requirements where arc-rated clothing was necessary. Please note that PPE Categories 1, 2, 3 and 4  (formerly HRC 1, HRC 2, HRC 3 and HRC 4) will maintain the same requirements and minimum arc ratings as they had before.

As means of reflecting this change in terminology, please note that Bulwark will be replacing “HRC” with “CAT.” Given this development, we will be adjusting to the industry’s new requirements language on a rolling basis. For the foreseeable future, however, you’ll see either “HRC” or “CAT” labels on our garments, along with their respective arc ratings.

OSHA 1910.269: Are You         Regulation Ready?

19 Jan


It’s a New Year. And with it comes a new update to two OSHA regulations that experts say will save nearly 20 lives, prevent 118 serious injuries, and result in monetized benefits of $179 million annually: 29 CFR 1910.269 and 29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart V.

As the world leader in flame resistant apparel, training and education, Bulwark is here to help you drive compliance – by offering a little clarification. Here are the basics of this seismic regulatory shift:

  • The final rule was published in the Federal Register on
    April 11, 2014.
  • The updated standards for general industry and construction include new or revised provisions for host and contract employers to share safety-related information with each other and with employees, as well as for improved fall protection for employees working from aerial lifts and on overhead line structures.
  • In addition, the standards adopt revised approach-distance requirements to better ensure that unprotected workers do not get dangerously close to energized lines and equipment. The final rule also adds new requirements to protect workers from electric arcs.
  • The new provisions for protection from electric arcs include new requirements for the employer to
    • Assess the workplace to identify employees exposed to hazards from flames and from electric arcs
    • Make reasonable estimates of the incident heat energy to which the employee would be exposed
    • Ensure that the outer layer of clothing worn by employees is flame resistant under certain conditions
    • Generally ensure that employees exposed to hazards from electric arcs wear protective clothing and other protective equipment with an arc rating greater than or equal to the estimated heat energy

Here are a couple of key dates to mark on your calendar for 2015:

January 1, 2015: Companies regulated by OSHA 1910.269 have to complete a hazard assessment of their electrical equipment.

April 1, 2015: Employees have to be wearing Arc Rated clothing equivalent to the hazard determined by the hazard assessment completed in January.

If you still have questions, please contact a Bulwark sales rep by clicking here. Or for more information on this topic, click here to view our Bulwark OSHA 1910.269 Q&A. Feel free to download it so you always have OSHA 1910.269 answers in hand.

iQ: The Year In Review

15 Dec


In 2014, Bulwark – the world’s #1 FR apparel brand –broke the industry from the shackles of its bulky, itchy, sweaty past. With the introduction of the Bulwark iQ Series™, the world’s first performance FR. And the most comfortable FR apparel ever made, by any measure.(see iQ products here).
The reception to this revelation has been astounding. Even earning the design and technical team here at Bulwark, and our co-development partners at Milliken, recognition as a Top 100 Innovator by R&D Magazine (an honor often regarded as the “Oscars of Invention.”) Read the article here. But as nice as the hardware is, it’s the words of the communities we so proudly, and purposefully, outfit that provide us the greatest sense of achievement.

Layering and Undergarments

18 Nov


According to NFPA 70E section 130.7 (C) (12) (a), layering of non-melting flammable garments is permitted to be worn under FR garments for added protection. However, the system arc rating of the innermost FR layer must be sufficient to prevent breakopen and ignition of the flammable under layer.

If Table 130.7 (C) (9) is used to determine the HRC category; only FR layers within the layered system are used to determine system arc rating. Arc ratings of individual layers cannot simply be added together. Any garment worn as the outer layer, including rainwear, must be FR.

Meltable fibers such as acetate, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, and spandex cannot be used in under layers next to the skin the only exception being an incidental amount of elastic is permitted in socks and underwear.

Because of changes to the 2009 Edition of NFPA 70E, we can no longer advise our customers to simply add individual single layer arc ratings together to arrive at a system arc rating for layered garments. Annex M.3.1 of the 2009 Edition of NFPA 70E states that the total system arc rating cannot be determined by adding the arc ratings of the individual layers. The only way to determine the total system arc rating is to conduct a multilayer arc test on the combination of all the layers assembled, as they would be worn.

We will work with you to understand the unique needs of your business and answer any questions you may have. Simply call us at 615-565-5307 or click here.

Lineman’s Rodeo Round-up

11 Nov


This year’s International Lineman’s Rodeo was marked by the largest attendance in the event’s history. And amidst the masses, Bulwark was there supporting and saluting, competing and connecting, oh – and throwing down the best ribs EVER!

Special thanks to Team Ameren for competing so fiercely while wearing our Bulwark iQ Series™ Comfort Knit Henleys (now you know first hand how the world’s first performance FR can give you an athletic edge in your job.) We’d also like to give a shout out to the throngs of people who stopped by to pick up both their Day 1 and Day 2 Bulwark Rodeo T-shirts. At times it felt like we were swimming in a sea of Bulwark red!

Most importantly, thanks to all those who showed such genuine enthusiasm for the new garments we have coming out later this year and in 2015. We consider it our greatest honor to outfit the men and women of electric utility. The respect we have for what you do, the pride you have in your work and how you pass it down through your family is endlessly inspiring.

To see our pics from International Lineman’s Rodeo, check us out on Instagram: instagram.com/bulwarkfr

The NFL Has Nothing On These Linemen.

10 Oct Blog_MainStory_v03d copy

Blog_MainStory_v03d copy

For two days in October (Oct. 17 & 18), the best electric utility lineman on the planet will gather in Kansas City to compete in the International Lineman’s Rodeo (the full Expo runs Oct 15 -18). From simulated pole-top rescues, to “sprints” up 40-foot poles, to timed equipment repair challenges – they will put their abilities to the test to earn the coveted title of “best in the world.”

It’s no wonder why we view this as the “X Games” of our industry.

Which gets us thinking. Maybe it’s time our industry started seeing lineman for what they really are: occupational athletes. After all, be it a crisis situation or a “typical” workday, these modern day cowboys are called upon to perform heroics that require world-class speed, agility and technique.

It’s this perspective that is driving us at Bulwark to usher in a new era of smarter, more athletically-inspired “performance FR.” Case in point, our iQ Series™.

Thanks to an all-new FR science that enables us to bring activewear fabrics (even polyester!) into the FR equation for the first time ever, we can finally outfit electric utility lineman properly, and comfortably, for the ultra-physical demands of their duty. Because from greater breathability and softness, to enhanced mobility and moisture management, iQ garments have been designed specifically to increase wearer performance, and productivity.

So next time you see one of these brave souls risking everything to climb that precarious pole, just think about the skill it takes to fill their spiked boots. And if you’re in KC for the Lineman’s Rodeo, be sure to ask about iQ at our booth and see iQ in action. We’ll be outfitting Ameren’s “athletes” as they compete vie for the title.

Top 3 Announcements at NSC 2014

24 Sep

Check out our list of the top 3 most important announcements at NSC 2014.



iQ In The News

9 Jul

Back in January, we announced our launch of iQ Series, a revolutionary product line that delivers superior comfort through fabric and design innovation — without compromising the trust and safety of its wearers.  Read the announcement here: The Future Of FR Is Here

We’ve seen a huge amount of interest and excitement regarding iQ Series. We’ve only scratched the surface. Below is a list of links to all the buzz around town about iQ, the better, smarter, more comfortable FR gear that people will want to wear – and not just while they’re working.”




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