NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace provides guidelines for best practices in procedures, programs and clothing for on-the-job electrical safety. Prior to selection of flame resistant clothing for a specific task, a qualified hazard assessor must evaluate the level of protection needed. Any time there is risk of possible exposure to an electric arc flash, protection should be worn to ensure the safety of all team members.
As the flame resistant clothing market has grown, manufacturers have expanded the breadth and depth of their product lines to include daily wear, cold weather work wear, arc flash kits and accessories. Daily wear is street wear: jeans, long sleeve t-shirts, henleys and mock turtlenecks, button front work shirts, work pants and coveralls. This electrical safety PPE comes in a variety of fabrics, from 100% FR cotton, Indura Ultra Soft, lightweight Protera by DuPont, and a variety of NOMEX blends. Be sure to research each daily wear garment and fabric with care. Ensure that is the appropriate hazard risk category; look for quality construction and durability; and now more so than ever, a buyer can consider comfort, both the hand of the material and the weight.
Flame resistant cold weather work wear provides arc flash protection and warmth. New innovations in the flame resistant fabric marketplace have allowed for lightweight, moisture- wicking under-garment fabrics that keep the wearer warm, but not sweaty. Pair an FR Performance Wear long sleeve t-shirt with an insulated parka for optimum warmth, comfort and protection. Protective personal equipment for cold weather work also includes insulated bib overalls, coveralls in durable, warm multi-layer fabrics like duck and NOMEX.
The convenience and protection of arc flash kits has gained in popularity. Arc flash kits may include flame resistant coveralls, a short coat and bib overalls or a long coat and leggings for full body protection. The electrical safety PPE style is often available in the most common hazard risk categories or levels, 2 and 4, but can also be found in other levels. Bundled with head protection and hand protection, and often with a handy bag for carrying, an arc flash kit provides a convenient way to purchase necessary protection.
The correct hazard risk category for a specific task must first be determined for successful selection of electrical safety PPE. Once this determination is made by an assessor, a wide variety of flame resistant clothing is available. All clothing should be labeled with its ATPV rating, which can then be translated into the appropriate hazard risk category, as determined by the NFPA 70E Standard.