A new company, HauteWork, is proving that flame resistant clothing (FRC) doesn’t have to be fashion resistant.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) now requires that all personnel working in onshore or offshore oil and gas well drilling, servicing and production-related operations wear FRCs while on the job. These drab, utilitarian coverall-type garments are designed for one purpose — to protect workers in the event of a fire.
As for their appearance, well… “stylish” isn’t the first word that comes to mind. Looking good on the job has never been a major concern in the male-dominated petroleum industry.
The “Potato Sack”
Enter petroleum engineer Jaime Glas, one of a growing number of women entering the petroleum industry. Glas was introduced to FRCs in 2010 while doing summer intern work for Chevron as a petroleum engineering student at Louisiana State University. She found that the FRC coveralls she was issued were too baggy, uncomfortable and looked terrible. “Potato sack” was the word she used to describe her new work outfit.
Even worse, the fact that the coveralls were too big and too loose for Glas’ physique hindered her movements and made it difficult to navigate through some of the tight passages found on the work site.
Hard Work Creates HauteWork
This experience inspired Glas to create FRCs that were safer and more comfortable – as well as more stylish – for women in the field. Working in the oil patch during the day, Glas did the research for her planned line of garments during the night. Her new line of stylish FRCs made their debut at a trade show in 2017. The positive reaction she received convinced her to leave the oil fields and start producing her FRCs full time. She started off calling her new line of FRC garments “Hot Stuff” but soon changed the name to HauteWork.
“Offering properly fitting garments for women is our primary mission, but adding a few style elements here and there does not compromise this motivation whatsoever,” said Glas in a recent interview with the website Rigzone. “Plus, you have to wear these clothes for most of the day, so you might as well feel good in them.”
The purpose of HauteWork is not to draw attention to women in the workplace but to help them blend in.
All of HauteWork’s FRC garments have been certified by Underwriters Laboratories to meet the applicable National Fire Protection Association standards. They’ve been specially designed to fit the female body and are available in several different clothes. In addition to overalls, HauteWork offers T-shirts, steel-toed boots, hats and stretch pants.
You can find out more about Glas’ line of FRCs on the HauteWork website.
Safety Never Goes Out of Fashion
For years, the offshore oil industry has been dominated by men. With more and more women entering the field, it’s only natural that a company would begin producing FRCs especially designed for their needs.
The maritime attorneys at Lambert Zainey is dedicated to protecting the safety of all maritime workers — men and women — including those on the offshore oil and gas rigs. We’ve been helping injured maritime workers for over 40 years. If you‘ve suffered on the job injuries, give us a call to get help recovering the compensation you deserve.