CEO’s Report: Heartland Energy launches FR clothing store for customers

December 1, 2023

Safety is of utmost importance.

Each and every day electric utility workers are faced with potentially dangerous situations. Proper training, procedures, equipment, and clothing all play a role in keeping you safe.

In an effort to help customers ensure their employees are implementing best safety practices, Heartland Energy has hosted a Winter Conference for the past eleven years.

In addition to our traditional safety presentation, this year we also made an exciting announcement.

Heartland Energy is launching a flame-resistant (FR) clothing store available to customers beginning in January. Eligible employees will receive a code good for a credit to purchase FR clothing from the store.

The store will be open for a limited time, so orders will need to be made promptly.

However, this is a multi-year program as part of Heartland Energy’s safety initiative so the store will be available in subsequent years.

Heartland Customers Relations Manager Kelly Dybdahl detailed the clothing store and the importance of flame-resistant clothing.

Essential tool

Arc flashes pose significant risks to workers interacting with energized electrical equipment. FR clothing can help protect the wearer from burns caused by arc flashes should they occur.

An arc flash is an electrical explosion that occurs when a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through air from one conductor to another, or to ground.

They can be caused by a variety of factors including equipment failure, tools dropping, accidental touching, condensation or corrosion.

Arc flashes generate extremely high temperatures, intense light and a powerful blast wave.

Arc-related injuries can range from minor to severe burns, blindness, hearing and memory loss, broken bones, or death.

Clothing may play a large role in the severity of the potential injury.


How does FR clothing work?

FR clothing is essential when working with electrical equipment.

Should you find yourself in an arc flash situation, FR clothing resists ignition and self-extinguishes once the source of ignition is removed.

Flame-resistant properties ensure it will resist catching fire, but if it does catch fire, it will not continue to burn once the source of combustion is removed.

FR clothing will not contribute to the severity of a burn injury.

Clothing that is not flame-resistant does not resist ignition and once it catches fire, it will continue to burn until it is extinguished, or there is nothing left to burn.

The self-extinguishing feature of FR clothing provides valuable escape time.

FR clothing is made using fabrics and components that will not melt onto the skin. Non-FR clothing may conduct heat or electric current to the skin or melt onto the skin.

FR clothing provides thermal insulation to protect from heat and resists breaking open, which would expose skin to hazard.

OSHA requires employees to wear FR clothing when exposed to electrical, arc flash, sparks or chemicals.

Who should wear FR clothing?

OSHA requires employees to wear FR clothing when exposed to electrical, arc flash, sparks or chemicals.

Employees must wear FR clothing when working in certain conditions, including:

  • Coming in contact with circuit parts operating at over 600 volts
  • An electric arc that could ignite flammable material
  • Molten metal from faulted conductors


Who is eligible to purchase from the FR store?

Any certified journeyman lineman or apprentice lineman working full-time for a Heartland Energy customer community will be eligible to purchase from the store. In addition, all electric superintendents or managers as well as utility superintendents or managers will also be eligible.

Finally, anyone employed by the city or utility full-time who regularly works on or in the vicinity of energized electrical parts will be eligible.

A variety of items will be available in the store and will likely vary from year to year.

Each item ordered will be co-branded with the Heartland Energy logo as well as the logo of your city or utility.

More information about the store’s launch will be sent out once it is available. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the store, please contact Customer Relations Manager Kelly Dybdahl.

A variety of items will be available in the store, and all will include logos for Heartland Energy and the customer utility.