Arc Flash Clothing and PPE

Arc Flash Clothing and PPE


Arc flash clothing is specialized personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to provide protection against the thermal hazards associated with an arc flash event. An arc flash is a sudden release of electrical energy that can cause intense heat, intense light, and a pressure wave, often resulting from a short circuit or other electrical fault. Workers in industries where there is a risk of exposure to electrical arcs, such as electrical utilities, manufacturing, and maintenance, wear arc flash clothing to mitigate the potential injuries associated with such events.

Key components of arc flash clothing include:

  1. Arc-Rated Clothing:

    • Arc-rated clothing is made from flame-resistant (FR) materials that are designed to self-extinguish, reducing the risk of burn injuries.
    • The clothing is rated based on its ability to protect the wearer from the thermal hazards of an arc flash. The rating is expressed in calories per square centimeter (cal/cm²), indicating the amount of thermal energy the fabric can withstand without causing second-degree burns.

  2. Arc Flash Hood and Face Shield:

    • A hood or balaclava designed to protect the head and neck from thermal hazards.
    • A face shield made of arc-rated material to protect the face and eyes from the intense light emitted during an arc flash.

  3. Arc Flash Gloves:

    • Insulated, arc-rated gloves to protect the hands from burns and electric shock.
    • The gloves should be selected based on the level of arc flash protection required.

  4. Arc Flash Coveralls or Pants and Shirts:

    • Full-body protection with coveralls or a combination of pants and shirts made from arc-rated materials.
    • The clothing should cover as much of the body as possible to provide comprehensive protection.

  5. Arc Flash Flashlight:

    • A flashlight specifically designed for use in areas where there is a risk of arc flash. These flashlights are made with non-conductive materials to prevent electrical shock.

  6. Arc Flash Footwear:

    • Specialized arc flash-resistant boots that provide protection against electrical shocks and burns.

It's important to note that arc flash clothing should be selected based on the specific hazards present in a given work environment. Employers are responsible for conducting a hazard assessment to determine the appropriate level of protection required for their workers. Additionally, proper care and maintenance of arc flash clothing are crucial to ensure its effectiveness and longevity. Regular training on the correct use and care of arc flash PPE is also essential for the safety of workers.