Anyone in Connecticut who works in the oil and gas industry knows that fires and explosions are a constant hazard. For employers, burn injuries lead to serious OSHA fines and thousands of dollars spent on hospital bills, legal fees, and increased insurance premiums. For employees, they mean extended hospital stays and perhaps even death. The American Burn Association states that those who sustain burns on 40 to 60 percent of their body stay an average of 54 days in the hospital, costing them around $780,000.
This is where flame-resistant clothing comes in. OSHA requires this as part of its regulation on personal protective equipment. To comply with PPE regulations, employers must first identify the hazards on their workplace and consult additional safety standards, such as those of the National Fire Protection Association regarding flash-fire and arc-flash hazards.
Employers should ensure that all FR clothing provides employees with comfort and maximum mobility. This is important because if employees get too hot or uncomfortable, they may roll up their sleeves or do something else that puts their safety at risk. The clothing should be made from high-quality fabrics and preferably come with features like double- or triple-stitched seams and reinforced pockets since any holes and tears can make workers vulnerable to burns.
Whether the failure to provide such clothing constitutes negligence on the employer's part or not, victims of burn injuries can still receive compensation for their medical bills, lost time from work, and pain and suffering. All they have to do is file a workers' compensation claim. This does not require victims to show that anyone was negligent, but the acceptance of benefits waives their right to sue their employer.