Characterization of textiles used in chefs' uniforms for protection against thermal hazards encountered in the kitchen environment

Within the kitchen the potential for burn injuries arising from contact with hot surfaces, flames, hot liquid, and steam hazards is high. The chef's uniform can potentially offer some protection against such burns by providing a protective barrier between the skin and the thermal hazard, although the extent to which can provide some protection is unknown. The purpose of this study was to examine whether fabrics used in chefs' uniforms were able to provide some protection against thermal hazards encountered in the kitchen. Fabrics from chefs' jackets and aprons were selected. Flammability of single- and multiple-layered fabrics was measured. Effect of jacket type, apron and number of layers on hot surface, hot water, and steam exposure was also measured.
FINDINGS showed that all of the jacket and apron fabrics rapidly ignited when exposed to a flame. Thermal protection against hot surfaces increased as layers increased due to more insulation. Protection against steam and hot water improved with an impermeable apron in the system. For wet thermal hazards increasing the number of permeable layers can decrease the level of protection due to stored thermal energy. As the hands and arms are most at risk of burn injury increased insulation and water-impermeable barrier in the sleeves would improve thermal protection with minimal compromise to overall thermal comfort.

Source: Zhang H, McQueen RH, Batcheller JC, Ehnes BL, Paskaluk SA. Ann. Occup. Hyg. 2015.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/annhyg/mev034

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