When working in an environment where there is a risk of arc flash, it’s crucial to have the proper workwear to ensure safety. Arc flash occurs when an electrical current jumps through the air from one conductor to another, releasing a large amount of energy in the form of heat and light. The heat produced by an arc flash can reach temperatures of up to 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, causing severe burns and injuries. Therefore, wearing appropriate protective clothing is essential to prevent injuries and stay safe.
Here are some of the best workwear options to protect from arc flash:
- Flame-resistant clothing: Flame-resistant (FR) clothing is an essential component of arc flash protection. FR clothing is designed to resist ignition and self-extinguish once the heat source is removed, providing a protective barrier between the wearer and the heat source. FR clothing is made from materials that do not support combustion, such as aramid, modacrylic, or treated cotton. They are available in different styles, including coveralls, shirts, pants, and jackets, and should meet the NFPA 70E standard.
- Arc-rated clothing: Arc-rated clothing is another essential component of arc flash protection. These garments are made from materials that are arc-resistant and provide protection from the heat and energy released during an arc flash. Arc-rated clothing is tested to ensure they meet the NFPA 70E standard, and the labels indicate the ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value), which measures the protection level of the fabric. The higher the ATPV, the better the protection.
- Protective footwear: When it comes to arc flash protection, footwear is also essential. It’s crucial to choose footwear that provides electrical insulation, is slip-resistant, and has a steel toe cap to protect the feet from falling objects. Electrical hazard (EH) rated boots provide protection against electrical hazards, and they should meet the ASTM F2413-11 standard.
- Gloves: Working with electricity means that hands are at high risk of injury from an arc flash. Gloves should provide protection against electrical shock, arc flash, and mechanical hazards. Arc-rated gloves are made from arc-resistant materials and should meet the NFPA 70E standard. Leather gloves are also a good option for protection against mechanical hazards.
- Head protection: Head protection is crucial when working in an environment with a risk of arc flash. Hard hats should be rated for electrical insulation and should meet the ANSI Z89.1 standard. It’s also essential to wear a balaclava or a hood made from arc-resistant materials to protect the face and neck from burns.
In conclusion, when working in an environment with a risk of arc flash, it’s crucial to wear the proper workwear to ensure safety. Flame-resistant clothing, arc-rated clothing, protective footwear, gloves, and head protection are all essential components of arc flash protection. It’s essential to choose workwear that meets the NFPA 70E standard and is tested for protection against arc flash and electrical hazards. Wearing the right workwear can significantly reduce the risk of injury and help workers stay safe on the job.