The Elliotts safety design team recommends that FR clothing should be standard issue for any employee working on or near energised electrical systems.
Electrical maintenance workers and contractors, working hands-on with hazardous and potentially dangerous energy sources, conductors, circuit parts and other energised parts are constantly at risk of being exposed to electric arc flashes.
Arc flash switching protection will safeguard workers from any arc flash exposure. The arc flash clothing range must offer maximum protection while ensuring the worker’s comfort.
Need for arc flash protection
Electric arc flashes can reach temperatures of 19,400°C in an instant, not only burning the skin directly but also causing the clothing to ignite. NFPA 70E, the US Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, states in section 130.7 Personal and Other Protective Equipment (5) Body Protection that employees shall wear flame resistant (FR) clothing wherever there is a possible exposure to an electric arc flash above the threshold incident energy level for a second degree burn (1.2 cal/cm²).
Arc exposure energy basics
- Exposure energy is expressed in cal/cm²
- 1 cal/cm² equals the exposure on the tip of a finger by a cigarette lighter in one second
- An exposure energy of only one or two cal/cm² will cause a 2nd degree burn on human skin
- Arc flash event can generate up to 40 cal/cm²
- Temperature can go up to or exceed 19,400°C
- Primary Protective Clothing: Electrical switching clothing including switching coats, switching hoods and switching leggings
- Secondary Protective Clothing: Everyday work clothing including shirts, trousers and coveralls
Workers in any industry where there is potential for an arc flash incident must wear FR clothing. Since FR clothing does not ignite or continue to burn, it helps to save lives and reduce injury during accidents. Even single-layer FR work clothing can significantly protect employees.
On the other hand, non FR fabrics, when exposed to arc flashes will readily ignite and continue to burn, adding to the extent of injury sustained from the arc alone. Most serious burns from industrial accidents are caused by regular work clothing igniting and burning off the wearer's back.
The Elliotts arc flash switching range is available in a choice of Tecasafe plus and Walls FR fabrics.
TenCate Tecasafe plus
- Delivers superior electric arc and flash fire protection in a comfortable lightweight fabric
- Performs to NFPA 70E and NFPA 2112 standards
- Lasts longer than FR treated fabrics
- Inherently flame resistant, unlike other protective fabrics
- Built-in FR protection won’t wash out or wear out
- High performance fabrics provide protection, comfort, durability and excellent value
- Delivers high comfort, protection and wear life
- High protection combined with low cost
- Patented flame retardant technology leverages the durability and endothermic properties of nylon for long wear life and improved flame protection Blend of 88% cotton and 12% high tenacity nylon eliminates the need to wear undergarments