Arc Flash Apparel
North American electrical safety workplace standards, like the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70E) or the Canadian equivalent CSA Z462,, are specific that authorized electrical workers who have proximity to energized electrical equipment are required to wear Arc Flash Apparel that that will prevent them from receiving a serious arc flash burn if exposed to an arc flash or arc blast electrical explosion.
With that being said, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards state that flame-resistant arc flash apparel is to be provided to all authorized electrical worker by their employer. Flame resistant arc flash apparel fabrics self-extinguish when the arc flash apparel is ignited.
OSHA standards mandate that arc flash apparel selected for the particular job or application is to have a higher arc thermal performance value (ATPV) than the potential electrical hazard, so second degree burns can be prevented. ATPV is a measurement value used to give authorized workers the best protection that the appropriate arc flash apparel can provide based on the severity of heat that can be caused from the potential hazard.
Primary Protective Arc Flash Apparel
Primary protective arc flash apparel is clothing that’s designed for work activities where significant exposure to radiant heat, molten substance splash, and arc flash is a likely possibility.
Arc Flash Apparel – Secondary Protective Arc Flash Clothing
According to ASTM International’s standard F1002, secondary protective arc flash apparel is worn continuously in specific locations where intermittent exposure to radiant heat, molten substance splash, and flame is likely to happen.
Evaluating Arc Flash Apparel
Arc flash apparel only works when the appropriate flame-resistance level is known. In doing this, you must:
First: Know The Type Of Arc Flash Hazard
There are two types of arc flash hazards: arc flash fires and electrical arc flashes. The characteristics to these two hazards very different, and past tests results indicate that the two electrical hazards have no correlation to each other. So, when you’re shopping around for specific arc flash apparel, be on your guard against fabric manufacturers who try to compare the two hazards together.
Second: Know The Specific Arc Flash Standards
What do industry standards say about the risk of exposure? Flash fire testing and electrical arc flash testing must adhere to industry standards. Electric arc flash testing must adhere to ASTM-F1959, which uses the ATPV measurement. The National Fire Protection Agency designed NFPA 2112 for workers in environments where possible flash fire hazard risks exist.
Third: Arc Flash Apparel Testing Explained
When shopping for arc flash apparel, ensure that testing has been done on these products by independent laboratories. You need specifically valid and unbiased and scientifically valid data to ensure that you are getting the best protection possible.