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Hard Yakka report reveals workers’ flame risk

A report commissioned by Hard Yakka to coincide with the launch of its new range of Shield Tec flame resistant (FR) clothing has shown that just 67 percent of workers wear FR clothing on the job.

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Wearing flame-resistant safety gear is enshrined in law across many industries, but the reality is many are not adhering to the requirements. Hard Yakka teamed up with Symphony Research to gain a snapshot of the nation’s perceptions, attitudes and uses of FR clothing.

Perhaps the most startling statistic unearthed in the report was that over a quarter (28 percent) of respondents exposed to arc flash and flash fire do not wear any form of FR clothing while working. Reasons given for not wearing FR gear include: not provided by workplace (28 percent), too expensive (16 percent), too uncomfortable (14 percent) and too hot (12 percent).

Unsurprisingly, rates of workplace injuries due to burns were quite high, with 46 percent of respondents reporting they have been injured and required time off work due to burns. Fifty-six percent of respondents reported having a ‘near-miss’ due to arc flash or flash fire.

Of those injured, 23 percent reported first-degree burns, 16 percent reported second-degree burns and 21 percent reported third-degree burns. In addition, 10 percent of respondents experienced respiratory problems as a result of injuries sustained while not wearing FR clothing.

Nearly half (47 per cent) of those injured were required to take more than one week off work to recover and 17 per cent received medical bills in excess of $10,000.

The industries most exposed to risk by arc flash are: electrical and energy industries (41 percent), mining (39 percent) and manufacturing (36 percent). Emergency services workers were the most exposed to flash fire risk at 59 percent followed by oil and gas workers at 45 percent.

Hard Yakka’s new Shield Tec range of FR clothing have been designed to meet strict safety standards in place across the globe. The Shield Tec range represents Hard Yakka’s highest degree of safety and protection. Engineered to reduce heat stress and maximise comfort, Hard Yakka says the Shield Tec range has been built for Australian conditions.

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