Wearing the right protective fabric can make the difference!
Arc Flash Switching Protection for Utilities and Electrical Maintenance and Electrical Contractors
For electrical maintenance workers and contractors, working hands-on with hazardous and potentially dangerous energy sources, conductors, circuit parts and other energized parts is a common component of their everyday routine. While there is no substitute for maintaining safe working conditions, accidents – especially electric arcs – can happen in an instant, no matter how experienced a worker may be.
The Elliotts safety design team recommends that FR clothing should be standard for any employee working on or near energized electrical systems. This will ensure that workers clothing offers protection from an arc flash exposure rather than producing an additional hazard. The clothing must offer maximum protection while ensuring the worker is comfortable.
There are two main categories of Elliotts Arc Flash Clothing range:
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.
The need for arc flash protection
The intense energy and very short duration of an electric arc flash, reaching temperatures of 19,400C, can both burn the skin directly and cause ignition of clothing made from regular cotton and poly/cotton fabrics. 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 burns on human skin
- Arc flash event can generate up to 40 cal/cm2
- Up to and exceed 19,400C, hotter than the surface of the sun
Why Flame Resistant (FR) Clothing
People working in any industry wherever there is a possibility of arc flash should wear FR clothing. Essentially, FR clothing saves lives. Importantly, FR clothing does not ignite and continue to burn. Even single-layer FR work clothing can significantly protect employees. While most people realize that electrical shock is life-threatening, many do not understand that wearing clothing made from regular cotton or poly/cotton that is not FR can result in severe harm or death if it is ignited under an electrical arc flash.
These non FR fabrics can be readily ignited at some exposure level and will 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. Thousands of clothing-related injuries due to fire occur each year. The most severe burns are often not caused by the original hazard. They are the result of the wearer’s clothing igniting.
TenCate Tecasafe® plus delivers superior electric arc and flash fire protection in a comfortable lightweight fabric. It performs to the NFPA 70E and NFPA 2112 standards and lasts longer than FR treated fabrics, making Tecasafe Plus a great value.
Unlike other protective fabrics, it is inherently flame resistant. So, the unique FR protection comes built-in, and won’t wash out or wear out.
TenCate high performance fabrics provide protection, comfort, durability and excellent value.
Walls FR® has changed the way people think about protective clothing, delivering comfort, protection and wear life never before thought possible in a single fabric. Walls FR® fabrics deliver the best protection combined with the lowest cost per wearing in the industry.
Walls FR® materials incorporate patented flame retardant technology developed specifically to leverage the durability and endothermic properties of nylon for long wear life and improved flame protection. This blend of 88% cotton with 12% high tenacity nylon eliminates the need to wear undergarments to achieve industry standards for flame and electric arc protection.
The Elliotts Arc Flash Switching range allows you to choose a protection level from 9.0cal coverall kit through to 89cal coat and jackets kits in a choice of Walls FR and Tecasafe plus combinations to suit your requirements.
Elliotts is an Australian based designer, manufacturer and distributor of world-class quality safety gear servicing the Australasian market. Elliotts take care to only supply quality protective clothing and equipment that protect people from harm on a daily basis. Products include Specialist Safety Apparel, Welding & Workshop Protection, Gloves & Hand Protection, Safety Workwear & PPE for workers across industries including ELECTRICAL, MINING, OIL & GAS, WELDING & METAL FABRICATION, ALUMINIUM SMELTING, FIRE FIGHTING, CHEMICAL MANUFACTURING & CONSTRUCTION. For more information visit www.elliottaustralia.com.