dramatically increase the duration of
the thermal hazard from a fraction of a
second to many seconds. Conversely, arc-rated clothing will not ignite and continue
to burn, and the intent of the standards is
that the arc rating of the garment meet
or exceed the anticipated arc-incident
energy so that second- and third-degree
burns are minimized or eliminated by the
fabric,” Margolin said.
The garments must be in good repair,
free of flammable contaminants, and
worn properly (meaning buttoned or
zipped up fully, sleeves not rolled up,
shirts tucked in). The outer layer must
be flame-resistant. Layers must not be
meltable (cotton, silk and wool qual-ify). Other PPE is required, including,
but not limited to, hardhat, face shield,
safety glasses, voltage-rated gloves, and
shoes or boots.
In the past, the heavy, stiff fabric of
protective clothing items has been uncomfortable for some workers, tempting them
to remove the PPE.
“Product improvements recently
have focused on lighter weights, softer
and more breathable fabrics, higher arc
ratings at a given weight, and revolutionary knit fabrics,” Margolin said.
“Comfort is a big concern for modern
flame-resistant clothing,” said Justin
Bost of protective clothing manufacturer Tyndale Co.
“With today’s more comfortable
fabrics, workers are less likely to com-
promise their protection by rolling up
sleeves, opening shirt fronts, shedding
protective layers or even violating com-
pany safety policy in favor of clothing
that provides increased comfort,” Bost
said. “Style advancements, such as tradi-
tional work wear and western flair, have
been included in flame-resistant prod-
uct offerings, and emulation of popular
performance sport outdoor brands have
been brought to the flame-resistant
David Sklodowski, product marketing
manager, Salisbury Electric Safety, said
several key products have been launched
within the past two years to take electrical PPE to new levels of comfort.
• Next-generation rubber insulating
gloves offer improvements in dexterity and pliability to allow electrical
workers longer periods of work time
with less fatigue.
• Lift-front hoods have significant
improvements in airflow, outward
visibility and weight reduction, providing an arc-flash protection hood
that is not only more comfortable but
also safer than the industry standard.
• Premium lightweight 40-calorie arc-flash garments, with more than 30
percent reduction in fabric weight,
keep wearers cooler and interfere less
Equipping workers with the right
safety gear begins with selecting the
right products. Flame-retardant clothing
is assigned an arc thermal performance
value (ATPV) rating, which represents
the amount of incident energy that
would cause the onset of second-degree
burns and the amount of protection the
clothing provides when an electrical arc
comes in contact with the fabric. Clothing must be designed to meet ATPV
rating minimums throughout the life of
the garment—clothing must withstand
a cleaning process to remove soils and
then be returned to service without damage to the fabric.
To meet OSHA regulations and NFPA
70E, the label on the garment must contain a tracking identification number,
meet ASTM spec F1506, and include the
manufacturer’s name, size, care instructions and ATPV rating.
Margolin said one of the most prob-
lematic issues in arc flash protection is the
Salisbury by Honeywell
suit and lift-front hood