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Lakeland Industries Blog

Understanding the ANSI 107-2015 Updates

Posted by Kyle Kerbow

Jan 17, 2017 9:18:44 AM

ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 Standard Updates will be approved by ANSI Feb 1, 2016. The new ANSI/ISEA 107 standard will be available for download on the ISEA website this week. It combines the ANSI/ISEA 107 Standard and the ANSI/ISEA 207 standards into one.

4 Key things to Note

1. Current ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 and ANSI/ISEA 207-2011 garments are still acceptable and compliant.

•    There is no requirement to change any of your existing garments. This standard offers enhancements and clarification that will evolve High Visibility over the coming years.

2. New Garment HVSA Types added to Class Definitions

NEW HVSA Types
•    Type O = Off Road - Non Roadway
•    Type R = Roadway
•    Type P = Public Safety (ANSI 207 merged)

NEW HVSA Class Definitions
•    Type O - Class 1O
•    Type R - Class 2R and Class 3R
•    Type P - Class 2P and Class 3P
•    Type Supplemental - Class E

3. Smallest Size Garments Type R

•    Small size workers wearing oversize garments can be a safety hazard. While NSA has always offered Small sizes we are pleased the standard now allows for less background material required for the “smallest” size for both ROADWAY type Classes.

Smallest size garment may have LESS background material
•    Class 2R = 540 instead of 775 square inches
•    Class 3R = 1000 instead of 1240 square inches

4. Non FR labeling Now Required

•    “This garment is non flame resistant as defined by ANSI/ISEA 107-2015 Section 10.5”
•     Garments not tested to meet Flame Resistant performance criteria of standards listed in ANSI are required to have Non FR labelling.  ASTM D6413 and NFPA 701 are NOT accepted as they allow fabrics that melt and drip.

Acceptable test methods for FR classification are as follows:

ASTM 1506

ASTM F1891

ASTM F2302

ASFM F2733

NFPA 1977

NFPA 2112

*Note:  High Visibility garments marked as flame resistant shall comply with the requirements of ONE of the above methods in its entirety.

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Protecting Firefighters’ Mental Health: Q&A with Jeff Dill of FBHA

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Dec 12, 2016 10:02:32 AM

blogImage.jpgAs a firefighter and first responder, grit and determination define many aspects of your job. While physical preparation is oftentimes a top priority for individuals in this profession, the importance of becoming mentally prepared to handle the fiercest conditions a firefighter faces is oftentimes overlooked.

I talked with firefighter behavioral health expert and founder of the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance, Jeff Dill, about the challenges experienced within this demanding profession in regard to mental health and stress. In the Q&A below, Jeff will touch on how to manage some of the profession’s top stressors and the resources available for fire and EMS leadership teams.

1. As a retired fire captain, what motivated you to establish FBHA?

My motivation began in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Firefighters from my district were dispatched to New Orleans and experienced horrific destruction and devastation. These men and women went to their counselors after their experience, and the trained behavioral health professionals couldn’t comprehend, relate to or understand what these first responders were talking about. In 2009, I became a licensed counselor and began training other counselors and chaplains. Following my training, I began receiving so many questions about what I, along with my network, do for firefighters and first responders. 

In 2011, the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance was established to directly educate firefighters/ Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their families about behavioral health issues such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and addictions, as well as firefighter suicides. 

2. What are some of the major causes of stress firefighters face in their profession today? 

Some of the major causes for stress include calls and management issues. But the top stressors reported to us are marital and family relationships, medical issues, PTSD – they are all wrapped up together. There is a lot of cultural brainwashing in our society – where we are trained to be the best we can, however, we’re not prepared for some of the images we’ll carry for the rest of our life. 

Brainwashing refers to the pressure to always act strong and handle issues on your own. Without an outlet to positively communicate about or re-direct these stressors, a build up takes place and at times, individuals will turn to addictions.

3. Are fire departments required to provide training and workshops to help their employees manage the stressors of their profession?

Chiefs are encouraged to go out into the community to look for Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) that offer mental health resources and have a connection with the firefighter community.

Many districts have a board of trustees and one of their responsibilities is to try to establish a relationship with an EAP. In bigger communities and cities, this is a role for human resources with the fire chief’s continued involvement. In all communities, chaplain and peer support is encouraged as well.

In my opinion, many counselors are good people but may not be trained to work with fire and EMS. This profession is very different from others. Unfortunately, there are not enough qualified counselors to work across this sector. The shortage of resources and the inability to connect leave firefighters lacking the help that they need.

My organization, FBHA, now offers 7 different mental and behavioral health workshops. Our most popular focuses on how to create a successful behavioral health program for your team.

4. What are some of the warning signs that a first responder may be having a difficult time dealing with job-related stress?

I’ve interviewed over 800 firefighters and EMTs and the biggest warning signs are:

  • Recklessness
  • Anger
  • Isolation
  • Lost of confidence and skills
  • Sleep depravation

It’s important to recognize warning signs with a colleague and understand that it’s not infringing on their privacy or intruding to offer help. 

Lack of sleep can be another risk factor for behavioral health issues with firefighters and EMTs. There is not much getting around having to run calls at night, but getting naps in during the day can have a tremendously positive impact on your body and stress level.

5. Do you feel like physical activity and good nutrition play a critical role in the mental health of first responders and firefighters? 

Fueling your body with nutritious food and fluids has taken on a major role in the overall health of firefighters. When I started 22 years ago – we all pitched in on the cooking duties and we ate (what we thought) was very well. As the years passed, we saw a bigger push towards a focus on overall nutrition and physical fitness to support our bodies need to handle a high level of physical and mental demands. I would like to see the focus on behavioral health in our profession grow as fast as nutrition and physical fitness have done so over the years.

When I did my first presentation in 2011, you would think I had horns growing out of my ears based on the reactions I received. Now, the growth of this important topic is substantial and we are seeing many firefighter communities coming up with awareness programs. But what price have we paid in the meantime? It is so important that the programs being implemented are effective.

6. What role does a firefighter’s gear play in both physical and mental preparedness?

Many concerns and stressors related to gear is due to aging equipment. Some small to middle sized fire departments and volunteer departments are using turnout gear that is 15 years old. They may be only running 300 calls a year, but they are still running calls. It can be difficult to get funding for new gear, but it is important that these men and women have the appropriate protection when putting their lives at risk to protect their community.

7. What resources can you recommend for firefighters, EMS and other first responders looking for more information about maintaining optimal mental health? 

Below are some fantastic resources for firefighters, EMS and first responders to get the critical information needed to maintain optimal physical and mental health. Additionally, the organizations referenced provide downloadable tools, workshops and seminars that can provide further assistance.

About Jeff Dill:

In 2011, Jeff Dill founded the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliance to directly educate firefighters/ Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and their families about behavioral health issues such as depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety and addictions, as well as firefighter suicides. Through businesses, community support and sponsorships, it is the organization’s hope that the workshops and services will be offered at no charge to those in need. 

Jeff holds a Master’s degree and is a Licensed Counselor. He is a retired Captain from Palatine Rural Fire Protection District in Inverness, Illinois and is a member of the American Counseling Association, National Board of Certified Counselors, International Associations of Fire Chiefs, and is an alumni member of the International Association of Fire Fighters. 

Jeff Dill, and those working with FBHA are dedicated to educating firefighters and emergency service personnel on the importance of behavioral health. 

For more information about FBHA and upcoming workshops, contact Jeff here.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide  

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Topics: Turnout Gear, Firefighter Combat Challenge, Firefighter Mental Health

Highlights From the World Firefighter Combat Challenge XXV

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Nov 11, 2016 3:01:34 PM

Sean Sullivan2.jpgThe annual World Firefighter Combat Challenge (FCC), also known by ESPN as the “toughest 2 minutes in sports,” is a representation of the dedication and grit it takes to prepare appropriately for the life-saving risks firefighters face each day. The FCC events are designed to showcase the tremendous physical fitness abilities of America’s first responders. Wearing full turnout gear and a self-contained breathing apparatus, individuals and relay teams race head-to-head and against the clock through a multi-level obstacle course.

With over 25 events taking place throughout the year, the FCC events are held in the U.S., Canada, and have recently expanded onto the international level. As a 2016 sponsor, Lakeland Industries supported two incredible competitors who participated on Lakeland’s U.S. team. Each member had an impressive finish to the season at the World Firefighter Combat Challenge XXV which took place in Montgomery, Alabama October 23 – 29, 2016. 

ryan-image.pngRyan Fitzgerald

Department: Mankato, Minnesota (IAFF Local 579 out of Mankato, MN)

Turnout Gear: Lakeland Stealth

World Firefighter Combat Challenge XXV Highlights:

To date, Ryan has recorded the fastest time of the over 30,000 American firefighters who have competed in the FCC since the competition’s inception. During the FCC finals, Ryan achieved second place overall among male participants and first place for his participation on Team USA among all international teams.

sean-image.pngSean Sullivan

Department: Frankfort, Kentucky (Frankfort Fire & EMS)

Turnout Gear: Lakeland Stealth

Sean won the male over 40 category Grand National Championships and Ted Overcash Grand National Award before heading to the World Firefighter Combat Challenge. During the World FCC finals, Sean achieved 18th place among male participants over 40, 8th overall in the male tandem over 40 category, 9th in the co-ed tandem category, and top 8 in the hybrid relay. 

Lakeland Industries would like to extend our congratulations to the Team Lakeland members and all who participated in the 2016 FCC events.

As the 2016 sponsor of FFC Team Lakeland, Lakeland Industries has aided its team members and others interested in improving their physical health by offering free, downloadable performance guides inspired by the men and women who dedicate their lives to saving others. The guide is the perfect resource for not only firefighters, but also any man or woman who would like to improve their lifestyle.

For more highlights, photos and video of the World Firefighter Combat Challenge XXV, visit our Facebook page.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide  

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Topics: Turnout Gear, Firefighter Combat Challenge

Prepare Your Mind By Fueling Your Body with These Firefighter Tips

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Oct 12, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Fuel_your-body_blog.jpgIt only makes sense that mental fitness, much like physical fitness, starts with a healthy body. If your body is well-nourished and operating efficiently than the rigorous physical and mental tasks you put it through will prove that much more effective.

This simple analogy perhaps says it best: “Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel.” In fact, multiple studies show a link between poor diet and a reduction in mental processing, mental performance and mood disorders.

So how, exactly, does good food fuel our minds? 

Mental Health Starts In Your Stomach 

It may be hard to believe, but 95% of the body’s serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract. Why is that important to you? Well, serotonin helps regulate sleep, mood and pain sensations. As a result, what you eat directly affects the amount of serotonin your body produces and sends on to fuel your brain.

Now keep in mind, there is conflicting evidence as to what kinds of foods promote the production of serotonin. Evidence suggests that you can’t eat serotonin-dense foods, like bananas, walnuts and pineapple, and see direct results because the chemical doesn’t cross over to the brain. 

Instead, the science seems to suggest that eating carbs with a combination of tryptophan can help boost mood. If you think about it more, there’s a reason why so-called comfort foods (aka. mood boosters) are dense, carb rich foods.

At the end of the day, we can take this key point simply to mean that choosing healthy foods (and avoiding fast-food and foods high in fat and sugar) can positively affect our GI tract, and thus, improve our overall mental health.

Healthy Foods Improve Brain Processes

What we eat each day acts as the building blocks for how the brain functions and how information is transferred between various parts of the brain and body. Doctors and nutritionists alike have been saying for years that the vitamins and nutrients consumed daily directly affect improvements in mood and mental health. 

  • Tip: Stock up on pumpkin seeds to increase your zinc intake. Zinc has been shown to enhance memory and thinking skills, and that it can also help manage stress levels.
  • Tip: Eat broccoli to boost vitamin K. This vitamin is known to enhance cognitive function and improve brainpower.
  • Tip: Eat foods rich in B-vitamins, like chicken, leafy greens and eggs. B vitamins have been linked to improved mood and a reduction in cognitive decline. 
  • Tip: Try adding sage to the top of your favorite dishes. Sage has been linked to improved memory and concentration. 
  • Tip: Eat fish, seeds and nuts to boost omega-3’s in your diet. Omega 3’s have been shown to improve thinking and memory.

Before you switch up your diet too dramatically, talk to you doctor about the best choices for your body and your particular nutritional needs. You may find that an adjustment in your diet is just the thing to help you improve mental preparation and mental health.

At Lakeland Fire, we’ve pulled together resources on top workouts, healthy eating and physical fitness in the past, but we are really proud of our recent comprehensive Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide covering everything from mental preparation skills to healthy sleep habits, and resources designed specifically for firefighters.

Interested in learning more about mental preparation and how what you do in your down time can help improve your on-the-job and on-the-course performance?

Download Lakeland’s Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide Now

Lakeland’s guide is filled with resources that stretch beyond just physical fitness, focusing on the importance of mental preparation and health to help you on the job and on the training course. 

You can also #GearUp with Lakeland Fire. Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide

Sources:
http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626
http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20150820/food-mental-health
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower 

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Topics: Turnout Gear

The Critical Role Turnout Gear Plays in Mental Preparation and Success

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Oct 5, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Mental-Prep-Turnout-Gear_blog.jpgYour turnout gear is designed to protect you in the line of duty, but it should also provide you with a sense of confidence that you will be protected, no matter what type of emergency situation you face. 

  • Does your current turnout gear give you confidence in your ability and offer the flexibility and maneuverability to perform at your best?
  • Which flaws in your turnout gear design slow you down and reduce your efficiency? 

At Lakeland Fire, we make it our mission to design athletically cut turnout gear with movement in mind. Your confidence in your gear matters to our team and here’s why it should matter to you.

Firefighter Safety On the Job  

Studies show that the majority of firefighter work-related injuries and deaths are not a direct result of fire, but rather, overexertion or cardiac incidents.

Creating lightweight turnout gear with a maneuverable design can help protect firefighters from overstress, fatigue and exhaustion in the line of duty.

More importantly, how your turnout gear moves with you and allows you to react in emergency situations is critical to safety. 

“Understanding your gear, how it works and why it works helps to build confidence on the scene of an emergency.” – Sean Sullivan

Turnout Gear Designed with Breathability

Responding to an emergency call means gearing up with 60 or more pounds of protective gear, including an SBCA, boots, mask and vest. If your turnout gear is designed specifically to be lightweight, it could make a big difference in your fatigue and exertion at the scene of a call.

Designed of a lightweight yet durable material, Lakeland Stealth turnout gear is more than 10-percent lighter than standard issued gear. 

Finding the perfect balance of thermal protective performance and total heat loss is the key to creating premium turnout gear. In many instances, older turnout gear is built with great thermal protective performance (thicker layers) but as a result, the gear has low total heat loss, or breathability. 

With lighter-weight gear and less worry about being overheated and overexerted, your mental focus can remain on the situation at hand. Mental preparation and mental fitness start with feeling confident in each unique situation you face and your turnout gear shouldn’t be an obstacle to your mental state.

Turnout Gear Designed to Move with You

Lakeland Stealth offers perhaps the most ergonomic turnout pant on the market today. The pants are specifically designed to improve both performance and comfort on the job with a singular lower panel and no side seams. Not only does the single lower panel reduce abrasion in tight quarters, it also facilitates increased maneuverability and safety 

Moreover, the pants are designed to be donned quickly and easily, with: 

  • A Multi-Adjust Suspender System: Stealth’s patented Black-Ops suspender system is a step above the competition and stays put through even the most rigorous tasks.
  • Extendable Belt Loops and Pant Grip Handles: Pants designed with belt loops that tactically extend into pant grip pull-up handles make it seconds faster to pull on your gear in an emergency.

ryan-image.png


“Protective gear plays a role in stress reduction by gaining a firefighter's confidence that it will perform as designed. We have a very short timeframe to don all of our gear before responding to a call, and it has to be fitted correctly and perform as required. It adds stress and distraction when suspenders and other accessories are twisted and not fitting right underneath your coat.
” – Ryan Fitzgerald

Take a look at this high-performance blueprint of Lakeland Fire Stealth turnout gear and see the difference that advanced ergonomics and attention to detail can make in your mental preparation and on-the-job performance.

Interested in learning more about mental preparation and how what you do in your down time can help improve your on-the-job and on-the-course performance?

Download Lakeland’s Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide, filled with resources that stretch beyond just physical fitness, focusing on the importance of mental preparation and health to help you on the job and on the training course.

You can also #GearUp with Lakeland Fire. Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide

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Topics: Turnout Gear

Top 3 Mental Preparation Skills for Optimal Athletic Performance

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Sep 28, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Mental-Preparation_blog.jpgFitness is often associated with physical fitness and good nutrition with little focus on mental health and preparation. Think about it – when you make the decision to get into better shape, you often start with a workout and eating plan that will help support increased physical activities for improved muscle mass, endurance and strength.

But before your hit the gym in pursuit of physical fitness goals, consider the importance of mental fitness. In fact, think of your brain as a muscle— it needs exercise, rest and preparation to help you be at your best. 

So how do you start a mental fitness workout routine?

Take a look at some suggestions from the Lakeland Fire team below and consider downloading our comprehensive Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide for a more detailed look at being mentally fit.

Tip #1: The Importance of Practice and Preparation

When it comes to top performing athletes, training and repetition is a key component to improvement and here’s why:

  • Performing drills and training establishes a baseline of muscle and mental memory and allows you to become a creature of habit for certain physical tasks and procedures.
  • Natural muscle memory and repetition can improve mental sharpness on the job.
  • Repetitive practice prepares you for real-life scenarios by force of habit, allowing your mind and body to assume control because it has been through the motions before.

Tip #2: Positive Attitude and Self-Talk

You can do it! How you talk to yourself can make the difference between success and failure in competition and at the station.

  • Even when faced with challenges, maintain a positive attitude and positive self-talk to see yourself through difficult situations.
  • It can be easy to give up and think negatively, but if you practice positivity, it can help pull you through even the most difficult circumstances.

Tip #3: Develop Refocusing Strategies

Like anything in life, even with the greatest preparation and training, you may find yourself losing focus on the task at hand. Luckily, you can prepare your mind and your body for such scenarios.

  • When you see yourself losing focus or concentration, develop a strategy that works for you to regain control of the situation.
  • In competition, that may mean re-setting, starting over, or performing a specific physical movement to snap yourself back into ready-mode.
  • On the job, perhaps it is positive self-talk or walking away to take a deep breath, and returning to the task with improved clarity and focus. 

Preparing for competition is one arena where mental health is essential for performance. But applying that mental preparation on the job can be beneficial, too. Consider the benefits of mental preparation training to help you reach optimal performance in all aspects of your home and work life.

Interested in more mental preparation skills? We have 3 additional tips in our comprehensive mental toughness guide, which is available FREE for download.

Download Lakeland’s Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide, filled with resources that stretch beyond just physical fitness, focusing on the importance of mental preparation and health to help you on the job and on the training course.

Looking for workout tips or recipe ideas to fuel your physical fitness? We have those resources, too. Take a look:

You can also #GearUp with Lakeland Fire. Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide  

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Topics: Turnout Gear

Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide – Free eBook Download

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Sep 21, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Firefighter-Mental-Toughness-Guide.jpgGrit and determination define many aspects of your job when the going gets tough. You challenge yourself with fitness goals, you’ve built the finesse to succeed, but are you mentally prepared to handle the toughest competition and the fiercest conditions on the job?

Fuel your body and your mind to see optimal achievement and performance with our Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide.

At Lakeland Fire, we’ve pulled together resources on top workouts, healthy eating and physical fitness in the past, but our talks with career firefighters have shown that mental health and mental preparation are often overlooked.

As such, we’ve pulled together a comprehensive mental preparation guide covering everything from mental preparation skills to healthy sleep habits, and resources designed specifically for firefighters.

Learn More and Download FREE Guide Now

In more than 30 pages, the Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide offers great tips and information that can help you prepare your mind with the same attention and focus that your body gets on a daily basis.

Download our FREE guide and you’ll see a number of resources that stretch beyond just physical fitness, focusing on the importance of mental preparation and health to help you on the job and on the training course. Information including:

  • Why Stress on the Job Matters for Overall Firefighter Health and Well-Being
  • Top Mental Skills for Achieving Optimum Performance
  • How to Prepare Your Mind By Fueling Your Body: Food, Nutrition, Sleep and Fun
  • Healthy Sleep Tips 
  • Firefighter Mental Health Initiatives ... and MORE!

Download your own copy of the FREE Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide now, and get valuable information, tips and resources to help improve your mental fitness. Click below to download!

Firefighter Mental Toughness ebook guide

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Topics: Turnout Gear

Selecting PPE for Optimal Protection Against Bloodborne Pathogens

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Jul 29, 2016 12:08:47 PM

iStock_92525629_XXLARGE.jpgWhether you work in an office, factory, laboratory or a healthcare setting, ensuring the safety of workers is of the utmost importance. Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens is a serious problem, however injuries and other exposure hazards are often preventable. It takes a multi-faceted approach to reduce the risk of occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens and providing appropriate protective garments is one of the most important elements.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 5.6 million workers, in the healthcare industry and related occupations alone, are at potential risk for an occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Begin to include those workers in general industry that have possible exposures to bloodborne pathogens and that number begins to grow considerably.

Wearing gloves, gowns, masks, eye, and face/neck protection can significantly reduce health risks of exposure for employees. Employers are required to provide and maintain appropriate PPE and clothing for employees. How do you know which are the best garments for your worksite? Here are a few resources to utilize when selecting protective clothing to ensure an optimal barrier against bloodborne pathogens.

OSHA & CDC:

OSHA’s bloodborne pathogen standard requires employers to protect workers who are exposed to blood and other potentially infectious materials. The CDC provides the latest information on infectious diseases and offers guidance in the selection and use of PPE. Both OSHA and the CDC are not only great resources but also provide excellent training points, materials and specific guidelines for decreasing risk for exposure to bloodborne pathogen and infectious material.

Product Comparison Grid

How do you know if your protective apparel meets all the necessary requirements and will provide the best protection against bloodborne pathogens and infectious materials? Reviewing comparative fabric and apparel performance data for a range of exposure types is the only objective way. Comparative data is published by companies in accordance with both ASTM F1670 and F1671 or the European ISO 16603 and ISO 16604 test methods. Using comparative data and a product comparison grid will show you conclusively how one particular protective apparel product compares with another in a series of categories.

Comfort and Breathability Facts

It is important to be armed with the facts that pertain to PPE comfort and breathability. Protective garments should be made from materials that are flexible enough for the wearer to move and work in the safest ways possible. A garment that is inflexible or causes dexterity issues may contribute to accidents such as slips, trips and falls.

In regard to comfort, there are many misconceptions related to garment breathability. How well a garment breathes is measured by its air permeability. Air permeability is measured by rate of airflow in cubic feet, per square foot of sample area per minute (CFM). Considering that a CFM of zero has no breathability, the breathability difference in protective apparel for bloodborne pathogen and infectious materials is typically so small that it is insignificant.

Sizing Chart

Obtaining a proper fit for PPE is critical to the protection of the wearer. Improperly fit garments can cause comfort and dexterity issues. Additionally, improperly fit gloves and other tools can cause increased risk for protective wear slippage; putting the wearer at added risk for exposure. Choose protective apparel that provides a comprehensive and easy to follow sizing chart so that you can ensure the best fit possible for every element of protective gear worn. Educating protective apparel wearers on the appropriate donning and removing sequence will also reinforce safe practices and limit the spread of contamination.

Providing the necessary protection against bloodborne pathogens for employees is vitally important. Workers should have a strong knowledge of how hazardous materials can be transmitted as well as the standards and employer precautions that are put into place to prevent exposure. A safe working environment is created when safe practices are enforced, the necessary protective garments are provided and the proper donning, removal and disposal procedures are followed.

What resources are you utilizing to select protective apparel that is not only standard compliant, but provides the ultimate barrier against infectious materials?

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Topics: Chemical Protection, Bloodborne Pathogen Protection, MicroMax NS

A Breathability Faceoff in Protective Clothing: MicroMax NS vs. Leading Brand

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Jul 6, 2016 4:02:12 PM

Screen_Shot_2016-07-05_at_4.01.16_PM.pngThere are many misconceptions related to the breathability of chemical protective clothing. While it is imperative to compare the comfort and quality of clothing that protects against hazardous materials and bloodborne pathogens, it is also important to understand how well a garment breathes based on its air permeability.

Air permeability is measured by rate of airflow in cubic feet, per square foot of sample area per minute (CFM). The higher the CFM, the more breathable the garment. While “breathable” implies added comfort, the description also implies that the garment is more susceptible to permeation – a critical feature for wearers of chemical protective clothing.

Considering that a CFM of zero has no breathability, the difference in many chemical and biological protective clothing items is deceiving. For example, take Lakeland’s MicroMax NS vs. Brand “T”. This video demonstrates that the difference in “breathability” is the difference of wearing a layer of 60 t-shirts vs. 61 t-shirts.

The “breathability” misconceptions in chemical protective clothing bring the importance of the garments’ quality and comfort to light. Protective garments should be made from materials that are flexible enough for the wearer to move and work in the safest ways possible. A garment that is inflexible or causes dexterity issues may contribute to accidents such as slips, trips and falls.

A good fit ensures the protective garment provides the wearer with both comfort and adequate protection. Ill-fitting garments run a higher risk of tearing and restrict movement, which can ultimately affect the wearer’s ability to carry out work safely and efficiently.

Additionally, educating workers about heat stress is an especially important consideration in summer months and in warm climate areas. Warn against altering protective apparel in any way (unzipping, rolling sleeves or hems, creating holes), as fabric modifications present added risks. If workers are exposed to heat stress, it is imperative that policies and procedures are implemented each day to avoid long and short-term health issues.

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Topics: Chemical Protection, Breathability

Do Not Ignore These 3 Strength and Durability Features in Chemical Protective Clothing

Posted by mjschoonover@lakeland.com

Jun 21, 2016 11:00:15 AM

MicroMax_NS.pngProtective clothing refers to all clothing worn by your employees that protects him or her against potential risks to their health or safety. Protective clothing and other items of personal protective equipment (PPE) are used when the exposure to risks cannot be avoided due to the nature of, or the environment around, the work being done.

Employers are responsible for both limiting hazards, and providing any necessary PPE to your workers, including protective clothing, when needed. When you are tasked with selecting protective clothing for your employees, there are numerous features and ratings to consider. Your initial focus should always consider the potential hazards and conditions of the specific workplace. Additionally, strength and durability features of the chemical protective clothing have a significant impact on the performance (and lifespan) of the products. Here are three you may be wish to evaluate when selecting protective clothing for your employees.

1. Puncture and Tear Resistance

The PPE that your employees are required to wear should not interfere with their job duties. Make sure that any protective clothing you choose is comfortable, and is compatible with the movements or tools needed for the job. This includes selecting protective clothing that has enough puncture and tear resistance to withstand typical stresses applied during your employee’s activities. Are there sharp or uneven objects or close quarters? Do your employees have to frequently make movements that can result in tears? If so, check the comparative performance data of the protective clothing you are considering, and be sure to choose garments that have the level of puncture and tear resistance that you need.

With PPE, it’s important to remember that one size rarely fits all. Making sure that your workers are wearing the correct size will also reduce punctures and tears. Wearing protective clothing that is too small may cause tears during kneeling, reaching, or bending. Protective clothing that is too large for the worker may catch or snag on objects, or even cause trips and falls.

2. Abrasion and Flex Cracking Resistance

Damage to protective clothing due to abrasion and flex cracking occurs over time, rather than instantly like a puncture or tear. If your protective clothing is not single-use, or if your employees are performing an active job with a large amount of motion, your PPE must have good resistance to both abrasion and flex cracking.

Abrasion is damage caused by scraping or other physical wear between two surfaces. One common way that abrasions can occur is via contact with other types of PPE. Will the protective clothing you choose be compatible with other items worn by the individual worker? Consider:

  • Glove contact with the sleeve of the protective clothing
  • Face, eye, and respiratory PPE contact with the hood or collar area
  • Safety shoes or boots and contact with the legs of the protective clothing

All of these pieces of PPE are important, but make sure that one is not rubbing on another, causing degradation by abrasion and compromising the individual's’ safety.

Flex cracking is surface cracking induced by repetitive bending or flexing. It can compromise the surface of protective clothing, allowing liquids and other safety hazards to permeate the barrier.  In choosing protective clothing, make sure you consider the unique characteristics of your work environment, and the specific activities your employees perform. Certain conditions and repeated activities can cause abrasion and flex cracking, so be sure to choose a PPE product that can stand up to your work environment. 

3. Tensile Strength and Seam Strength

Tensile strength is also referred to as ultimate tensile strength or ultimate strength. It measures the amount of force required to cause protective clothing to fail, or break. Seam strength measures the strength of the seam assembly in a piece of protective clothing. Factors that contribute to seam strength include the strength of the thread used to sew the seam, as well as type of seam used in the construction of the clothing. Both of these factors contribute to the overall strength of the garment.

Tensile and seam strength are critical to determining whether the protective clothing you choose has the power to stand up to the conditions in your workplace. Comparative performance data should be included in the user instructions for chemical protective products, in accordance with ISO 16602, an international standard endorsed by most manufacturers.

Beyond looking at the data, make sure that any PPE testing and user training is done under realistic conditions, and includes the actions of donning and doffing, where fabric and seams are often under stress. Seams and closures are particularly important when you are looking for fluid-resistant or impermeable protective clothing. Making sure that the seams and fabric are strong enough and sealed well enough to protect your workers from liquids like blood and body fluids is essential.

PPE with the Strength and Durability to Keep Your Workers Safe 

Be sure that puncture and tear resistance, along with abrasion and flex cracking resistance, as well as tensile and seam strength, are part of your evaluations of any new pieces of PPE that you are considering. Giving your employees comfortable, effective protective clothing options that are appropriate to the job site and duties will increase compliance and help you achieve your ultimate goal of a safe workplace.

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Topics: Chemical Protection, MicroMax NS