A little too far?

Just heard an interesting safety policy that MAY be on its way into the books in Ontario. In Utility or Line clearance operations synthetic clothing such as lycra or nylon are not to be wore doe to the possibility of melting and even bonding to your skin. This happened to an electrician working in Timmins Ontario in the early 90's. He used to bike to work and just throw on a pair of coveralls over his lycra shorts. An accident occured and he got electrocuted, however the worst part was the bonded fibres into his skin from his shorts.

From what I heard, the officials and policy makers may make fire retardant clothing mandatory for working near any voltage over 300 volts and including, that's right, underwear and socks. This may come into effect early next year possibily before the summer.
I take safety and PPE seriously but I never thought I would have to wear fire retardant boxers.


Mark Chisholm

Sounds a little extreme Dave. I remember being taught to wear cotton rather than synthetics for that same reason. Our teacher said that is extremely painful and expensive digging melted clothing out of your skin. Yow!

I always got freaked out doing clearance in misty weather. I would picture a flash hitting me with a $10 rain-coat on.

I think that I might opt for losing my underwear all together over wearing ruff, flame retardant ones!


New Member
Nova Scotia
Around here they want you to wear cotton clothing and only the outer layer (smock flash jacket or overalls) is fire retardent. When you learn about flash over, they use good examples of what this protective material can do for you. ie. guys cutting the sleaves off because of the heat while working and then having they're arms burnt right to where the sleeve was cut. These images stick in your mind when you think this stuff might be uncomfortable. Hopefully it's similar clothing Dave, and not fire retardent underwear? Ouch!

Right now we have to wear long sleave (fire retardant) shirts, bomber jacket, or coveralls. Our arms have to covered with the material no matter what. It gets pretty hot in the summer especially with class 2 line gloves on. From another story I heard, someone in the trade had a hot amber go down a tear in his shirt. The Ministry of Labour likes to go a little overkill sometimes when they suggest a corrective measure.
The supplier of the orange clothing that we have to wear has a good selection of fire retardant stuff. Most workers in Ontario are familar with it.


Not to sure Kevin. I've heard the rumor that lineman doing any switching has to be completed covered but that's just a rumor. I would asume that us line clearance guys are going to be subject to stricter rules but that's just my opinion.

Heard some more on this subject today. The guy who had the amber go down his torn jacket suffered 3rd degree burns and his supervisor was charged for not noticing the tear and the hazardous situation it provided. This is the main reason the fire retardant underwear policy is being pushed.

The rules will apply to anyone working near voltages possibly as low as 120 volts. Not sure to what level of clothing they will have to wear but this would include a lot of people currently not required to wear this protection. Also, any person walking through a substation yard may have to wear coveralls and a jacket even though they are not doing any work there.

Who knows what to what extent these rules may go to.



Well-Known Member
Ontario, Canada
We most likely won't be affected because we are governed by the feds.
The last one we had was with the mandatory tear a way vests on or near public roads.
Some road worker was standing in traffic and got caught by a vehicle and dragged down the road.
To what extent, I don't know.
Now you can still stand in traffic as long as your clothes will tear away from your body.


Once again, rules to protect the 'lowest common denominator' from himself. I say let Darwin do his thing and thin the herd a little. People are no longer expected to think or take responsibility for their own safety or actions. The courts make it worse by humoring the idiots who sue whomever is nearby and has a wallet.

Simply suggesting any activity to anybody is no longer OK, because sure as chit somebody is going to ask "What if somebody sues us for that?". I'm frigging sick of it.


Well-Known Member
Los Angeles, CA
Rocky, are you being serious? I know you gotta be kidding. You can't just "let Darwin do his thing." This is the 21st century. People want to feel comfortable. They need to know that someone else is looking out for them in case they slip up.

I've noticed you complain about rules in the past. I think (but don't quote me on this one) you've mentioned that they inhibit people who are more competent merely to protect the dummies.

There are other options, you know? Instead of just whining about it here, you could do something to better the situation. If you don't like the rule, ignore it and be a rebel or change it and be a hero. If you're just gonna whine, then put on your tear-away vest and stay out of traffic.

Just keeping you on your toes!


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