How do you wear Arc Flash Clothing?

How do you wear Arc Flash Clothing?

It’s easy to think that as long as you’re wearing the correct level of arc-rated PPE and clothing, you’re covered against arc flash burns, but you would be mistaken. How you wear your PPE and arc flash clothing can affect the integrity, meaning you may not always be fully protected from harm.

How to wear Arc Flash Clothing

It can be tempting when an item of PPE or arc flash clothing is ill fitting to modify it by rolling up the sleeves or doing something similar. However, doing this can leave certain parts of the body exposed in the event of an electrical explosion. In order to prevent this from happening, always make sure that arms, legs, head, hands and face are covered and protected.

A good way to double check whether your team is fully protected is to think about the senses (sight, touch, sound). Employers are required by law to provide workers with correctly fitting PPE and arc flash clothing, so if it doesn’t fit right, let them know. 

When working in hot conditions it’s important that you avoid unzipping your arc flash coveralls or tying them around your waist, as it means you’re no longer properly protected. If you find yourself regularly working in hot environments, then request lightweight arc flash clothing from your employer. There are lots of options available that use moisture-wicking and breathable fabrics to create clothing that is both comfortable to wear and safe so don’t allow the sun to compromise your protection.

For example, in warmer climates consider getting your engineer a combination of ARC FR T-Shirts, Shirts, Trousers and Lightweight overalls (however make sure protection levels are being met). For cooler climates, use the same articles and layer them accordingly to meet at least the minimum protection required. Here is an example of how you could layer your clothing:

Arc Flash Clothing Layering

It’s also important to be aware that when wearing an ARC FR shirts/t-shirt, that they need to be tucked in at all times so that no bare skin is exposed to heat, flames, and / or pressure in the event of an arc flash event. Make sure that your shirttails are long enough to be tucked in and that they remain tucked in at all times.

How to not wear arc flash clothing

No matter how bad the weather where you’re working in gets, you should not wear a standard workwear jacket over your arc flash clothing that’s not arc and flame resistant. This is because in the event of an electrical explosion, it could ignite and burn, thus putting you in danger of serious injury.

It’s all well and good wearing PPE and arc flashing clothing, but if the under layers that you’re wearing are made from non-arc and flame-resistant synthetic materials, they can ignite and melt into your skin during an arc flash, leaving you with severe burns.

A big area for concern is engineers wearing footballs t-shirts underneath clothing – to put it bluntly if an Arc Flash occurs that will melt directly onto the skin. To avoid this from happening, any under layers should be made from an arc and flame-resistant material that doesn’t melt.

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