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The Importance of Arc Flash Protection

March 2, 2018 Arc Flash and FR Protection
arc flash clothing, Arc Flash PPE, arc flash protection, electrical safety, safety kits

Arc Flash Protection

Arc flash is the exposure to the tremendous thermal energy released by an arc fault. All employees who work around energized electrical equipment (electricians, maintenance workers, operators, etc.) may be affected by an arc flash occurrence. Arc flashes are a primary hazard in the following industries: oil and gas, utility, solar, and wind power generation, paper and pulp manufacturers, hospitals, universities and colleges, food processing and packaging plants, breweries, bakeries, and dairies.

The four dangerous elements of an arc flash are: intense light, pressure wave, acoustic energy, and thermal energy. An arc flash blast usually lasts less than a second, and leads to an explosion and a flash fire. A flash fire is a rapidly moving flame that can be caused by diffuse fuel, such as dust, gas, or a vapor of an ignitable liquid. All five elements must be present in order to produce a flash fire: fuel, a source of ignition, oxygen, a confined space, and deflagration (the action of heating a substance until it burns away rapidly). When a worker is close to the location where the accident happens, serious burns and even death can occur.

The NFPA 70E Standard requires that all employees wear arc-rated clothing “wherever there is possible exposure to an arc flash above the threshold incident-energy level for a second degree burn.”

In order to find the proper Arc Flash clothing for your application, you have to perform risk assessment to find out what hazards exist at your work place. You also should check if safety ratings of PPE you intend to provide for your workers are in line with the OSHA requirements. It is important to know that all arc-rated garments are also flame-resistant, but not all flame-resistant garments are arc-rated. When wearing several layers of arc flash safety clothes, it is important to calculate the combined arc-rating of your whole outfit to ensure compliance with the NFPA 70 Standard.

Wearing arc-rated garments and PPE is the main line of defense against severe injuries that may be caused by an arc flash. OSHA’s 1910.132 regulation states that “the protective equipment, including personal protective equipment, shall be provided by the employer at no cost to employees”.

You should train your team on how to wear their arc-rated PPE properly. The clothing has to be sized appropriately and be comfortable. The ability to quickly remove clothing that catches fire is vital as it can prevent the person wearing it from getting severely burned or killed.

Top 3 Arc-Rated Kits

Purchasing an assembled kit of arc-rated PPE conveniently allows you to select the proper clothing and easily comply with all the requirements and standards.

NSA Kit

The NSA HRC Level 4 Arc 100 Multi-Layer Short Coat, Overall, and Bib Kit with Class 2 Rubber insulating Gloves offers an excellent protection with an ATPV rating of 100. This kit is compliant with NFPA 70E-2015 for arc flash; CSA Z462-15 compliant for arc flash (Canada), meets ASTM F1506-10, and is OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 compliant. This safety gear collection is comprised from made-in-USA products, which guarantees high-quality protection against arc flash hazards.

NSA HRC 2 Kit

The NSA HRC Level 2 Arc Flash Kit with UltraSoft® Short Coat and Bib Overall with Hard hat (ANSI Z89.1, Level 2, Type E) with faceshield (meets ANSI Z87.1), and chin cup has an Arc Rating of 20. This Kit is compliant with NFPA 70E-2015 for Arc Flash; CSA Z462-15 compliant for Arc Flash (Canada); meets ASTM F1506-10; and is OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 compliant.

Hi-Vis Kit

The NSA Arc H20™ Class 2 Rainwear Kit is an arc and flash fire rated kit that comes standard with the Arc H20™ 30 in. Jacket and the Arc H20™ Bib Overall. The jacket and the bib have an arc rating of 15, HRC Level 2, and are NFPA 2112, NFPA 70E, ASTM F1891, ASTM F2733, ANSI 107 compliant. The benefit of this kit is that it consists of hi-visibility clothing that provides extra protection in dimly lit and dark hazardous conditions.

For more information about arc-rated PPE, please visit our website, or give us a call at 800-829-9580. PK Safety experts can guide you through the selection process if you know the hazard level of your workspace.

Check out our previous blog posts on this topic:

Arc Flash 101

How to Protect Against Arc Flash Hazards

The  Shocking Need for Electrical and Arc Flash Safety