NENS09 2014? What’s that all about?

Did you know that Energy Networks Australia  (ENA) have revised NENS 09? This month, changes to the National Guideline for the selection, use and maintenance of Personal Protective Equipment for Electrical Arc Hazards have come into effect and amongst many other things – they influence what’s deemed “safe” for you to wear to work!   The review has brought the standard into line with the current developments in testing and flame retardant clothing – which is great news!

 So, what does this mean for you?

We asked manufacturing expert, Elliotts Managing Director Anthony Elliott to explain how these changes influence the quality safety gear that you wear to work…


Clothing or Garment Types

To date protective clothing has been grouped in to two main categories.

  1. Primary Protective Clothing - switching hoods, coats/ leggings, jackets and pants
  2. Secondary Protective Clothing - everyday work wear, shirts, trousers and coveralls


However, the new NENS 09 2014 provides a greater level of detail in relation to clothing types.

For that reason, I’ve put together a table for you which simplifies the NENS 09 clothing categories.



Garment Type


Base Garments


Outerwear worn in direct contact with your skin. These garments are worn at all times.
E.g. Long sleeve shirts and trousers or coveralls (overalls).


     Optional clothing worn next to your skin and under base garments.
Thermal Outer Garments
Worn over your base garments to provide thermal protection against low ambient temperatures.
Arc Rated Outer garments
     Arc rated outer garments worn over your base garments.  These Arc Rated garments can be
     coveralls, switching coats, leggings, switching jackets, over pants, bib and brace coveralls.
Rainwear is designed to be worn over your base garments and should be flame retardant in accordance with ISO 14116, or should be arc rated in accordance with ASTM F 1891 or equivalent.


Base Garments

  • Base garments manufactured from arc rated materials worn where there is the possibility of exposure to incident energy of 5J/cm2 (1.2cal/cm2) or above
  • The recommended minimum ATPV for base garments is 16.7J/cm2 (4cal/cm2)



  • They should not exacerbate injury in the event of an arc flash
  • Manufactured from a minimum 90% natural fiber

              o   Wool is a great suitable, as it presents no ignition risk

              o   Untreated cotton, although unsuitable for base garments, is acceptable for undergarments.

                   So just, make sure that you are wearing the appropriate Base Garment.



  REMEMBER: Flammable, melting synthetic undergarments should never be worn – ever!


Thermal Outer Garments

Thermal outer garments are garments worn over base garments to provide thermal protection against low ambient temperatures e.g. jackets and pullovers.

  • Not essential that these garments be arc rated
  • Outer layer should be flame retardant in accordance ISO 14116
  • Must have no flammable melting synthetic layers or components
  • I would also recommend heavy woolen knitwear or felted spun wool blanketing fabric 


 IMPORTANT:  Remember that any garment which is not arc rated 

  should not be relied upon to provide additional or increased arc protection.


Arc Rated Outer Garments

Arc Rated garments are worn when higher levels of arc protection is required and must be worn over base garments. 

These include the following:

  • Coveralls
  • Switching coat and leggings
  • Switching jacket and over pants or bib and brace coveralls



Water and electricity never mix, rainwear, is designed to be worn over base garments. 

Rainwear should either be 

  • Flame retardant in accordance with ISO 14116
  • Or arc rated in accordance with ASTM F 1891 or equivalent


  REMEMBER: Rainwear garments that are not arc rated should never

  be relied upon to provide additional or increased arc protection 


Also, rainwear should not be treated with additional products other than those specified by the manufacturer.



At the end of the day, changes to standards can be confusing and we at Elliotts are here to help! So, if you want to find out more on how we can assist you to meet the new NENS 09 clothing standard or recommend appropriate garments to your customers – we are only too happy to help! Simply contact us, it’s that simple.


Take care,




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