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Arc flash suits: Preventing the Dangers of Arc Flash and Shock

Some time ago OSHA identified Arc Flash and Arc Blast as being a significant hazard. Since that time OSHA determined that workers shall be provided with Arc flash suits that did not worsen their condition if exposed to this multi-hazard event. 

As a result of this identification and directive to protect, experts throughout North America came together to generate a consensus standard which would determine levels of protection. These levels of protection have been adopted by NFPA 70£® and identified as Hazard Risk Categories (HRC). 

It is important to un derstand that these Hazard Risk Categories are not designed to protect from all injury, but to mitigate the impact of an Arc Flash on the individual. The first choice should always be to reduce or eliminate the hazard. 

The Hazard Risk Categories (HRC) identified below are derived from NFPA 70£®  standards subject to periodic change. You should verify current requirements for your location and type of work to ensure compliance with local requirements and regulations. 

Arc flash suits shall permit easy and rapid removal by the wearer. Arc flash suits shall cover potentially exposed areas as completely as possible. Optimal protection can be achieved by selecting garments with ample room for movement and visibility. 

55cal arc protective robe

55cal arc protective robe

What is an arc flash?

An arc flash is a sudden release of electrical energy through the air when a high-voltage gap exists and there is a breakdown between conductors. An arc flash gives off thermal radiation (heat) and bright, intense light that can cause burns and other injuries. Temperatures have been recorded as high as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to these extreme temperatures burns the skin directly and ignites the arc flash clothing that you are wearing. High-voltage arcs can also produce considerable pressure waves by rapidly heating the air and creating a blast. This pressure burst, or arc blast, can hit a worker with grenade-like force and send metal droplets from melted copper and aluminum electrical components shooting out at speeds up to 700 miles per hour. Fast enough for the tiny shrapnel to penetrate your body.

What causes an arc flash?

An arc flash can be spontaneous, or can result from inadvertently bridging electrical contacts with a conducting object. Other causes may include dropped tools, the buildup of conductive dust, or corrosion.

Arc Flash Awareness

While great advances are being made to improve equipment design and thereby reduce the number of arc flash incidences, there is still much to be done. Each year, 2,000 workers are admitted to burn centers for treatment of severe arc flash burns.

Arc flash suits: Preventing the Dangers of Arc Flash and Shock

C&G carries a full line of protective clothing, safety workwear and PPE to keep workers safe in these industries. Our safety products line includes arc flash protective and flame resistant clothing, fire fighting clothing, aluminized clothing, chemical resistant clothing and other PPE products.

67cal arc flash protective coverall

67cal arc flash protective coverall

 

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