We Are FR Educators
General 25 May 2016
Westex by Milliken is “all in” when it comes to FR education. Most companies in our industry are just suppliers; we want to be your partner in safety, and that involves bringing more to the table than a piece of fabric.
We help you make good decisions about protective clothing by increasing thermal hazard awareness and understanding through our educational materials. Our real-world arc flash and flash fire testing has allowed hundreds of safety professionals to witness hazards first-hand which ultimately helps build better protective clothing programs. In this post, employees of Westex by Milliken reflect on what it means to them to be “all in” when it comes to FR safety education.
There’s a hunger for information and for making good decisions in the end-user marketplace. “Westex made a major investment and push towards FR education in the late 90’s to 2000’s. That was when NFPA 70E changed their standard to not only address electrical shock but also electric arc flash,” says Mike Enright, VP Westex by Milliken. Ultimately, an FR program isn’t any good if workers don’t know when protection is needed or if that protection is worn improperly.
At our live testing events, we replicate NFPA 70E conditions and host full-day workshops. We took equipment right out of plants that workers are used to using, ran electricity to it and put a tool in between the phases to initiate an arc flash. “I bump into people today that were attendees there years ago in our first sessions that talk about the benefit to their company, to personally witness for themselves these live arcs,” recalls National Market Director, Rich Gojdics.
When an organization like the Electrical Training Alliance reaches out and says, we would like you to handle the arc flash PPE portion of our training for us, that says volumes. Scott Margolin, International Technical Director explains, “We’ve been told by many in the electrical industry that our videos are probably the greatest advance in electrical safety other than NFPA 70E itself, so it’s compelling visual evidence that what really injures people catastrophically and kills them is flammable clothing continuing to burn and not the original arc flash.”
We offer resources on more than just the electrical industry, though. In the oil and gas industry, we have created live, full-scale flash fire testing events. The University of Alberta has the expertise in flash fire and Texas A&M University (TEEX) has the fire field and the fuel to recreate full-scale flash fires. End-users are able to witness the moving flame-front and duration of a flash fire. The University of Alberta’s instrumented manikin used for ASTM F1930 testing allows attendees of our events to see how various fabrics performed in “real world” flash fires.
The impact of our educational sessions is felt beyond the training session. “When someone who you visited a year or two ago, you helped them understand their hazard and then you go back a few years later and they give you a hug in front of a couple hundred people, and say, ‘you saved me’ - that’s powerful,” says Scott Margolin.
We are more than a supplier — we are your partner in safety. Browse all of our free educational tools, including our arc flash and flash fire testing videos, at our online Resource Center.