Your last line of defence!

Your last line of defence!

As workers now begin to head back to work after the holidays, it is important that they are reminded about the dangers of arc flash and how they should be correctly protecting themselves by wearing the right clothing for the job(s) that they are working on. 

Within certain industries it is of vital importance that workers wear Arc and Flame Resistant personal protective equipment (PPE) in order to keep them safe whilst working on live electricity. This includes workers in the electrical engineering, thermal generation, wind generation, petrochemical, rail, and utilities industries.

A specific type of PPE that has been used for a number of years now for workers in the above-mentioned industries, Arc and Flame Resistant clothing. This has been specially designed so that it protects against direct contact with arc flash, extreme levels of heat and flame.

The level of resistance to these conditions varies with different types of flame-resistant clothing on the market, some may not provide as much protection as other so it is important to check your risk assessment as this will determine the protection you need.

To prevent injury, you should  consider wearing fully standardised (NFPA70E) and universally rated arc flash PPE from STRATA Protection, in house brand of SKANWEAR.

1. Why Arc Flash Clothing?

Arc Flash Clothing reduces injuries!

By wearing arc flash clothing, you are protecting yourself from serious harm should an electrical discharge or explosion occur. Any workers who are at risk of being exposed to an arc flash should wear arc flash clothing at all times so that they are correctly protected. 

Some of the industries where exposure to arc flash may be a threat includes Renewables, Utilities, Electrical Engineering, and data centres for example. For workers operating within these types of industries, arc flash clothing provides peace of mind that not only is their clothing flame resistant but also has been tested to all of the relevant standards so that it provides the correct level of protection from the dangers associated with this type of hazard.

2. What isn’t Arc Flash Clothing?

Arc Flash Clothing isn't Space Suits or Generic PPE. The main difference between arc flash clothing and fire resistant clothing is that whilst all arc flash PPE is fire resistant, not all fire resistant PPE is arc flash protected.

It was traditionally believed that fire resistant clothing provided protection from naked flames at all levels, but it has been determined that this is not the case with some certain fabrics. Arc flash clothing guarantees a specific level of protection, which has been determined through a comprehensive process of testing. If the PPE does not come with an arc rating, then it is not arc flash approved.

3. What is Arc Flash Clothing?

Arc flash clothing acts as the last line of defence in protecting those wearing it from experiencing serious harm, in the form of serious burns, from exposure to thermal hazards in the event of an arc flash occurring. Arc flash clothing is there to prevent fatality and body damage. In order to be considered as providing protection from an electrical arc, the PPE must first meet the required international standard (IEC 61482-2:2009).

SKANWEAR stock a wide range of arc flash clothing, which includes everything from base layers, overalls, jackets, polo shirts, trousers, t-shirts, shirts, sweatshirts, waterproofs, plus accessories.


4. How to wear Arc Flash Clothing

Are you wearing your PPE Correctly?

1. Zip up to collar
2. Make sure arms are covered
3. Wear Safety Glasses
4. Leather shoes with Rubber Soles
5. Arc Flash Face Shield
6. Rubber Insulated Gloves
7. Arc Rated Balaclava
8. Arc Flash Clothing

A key thing consider with arc flash clothing is the fit. How well the PPE fits and the condition that the clothing is in (no rips, snags or tears). It should never be the case that the clothing feels too tight or overly loose in any areas. 

By taking good care of your clothing it will ensure that, if it ever comes to it, that it will look after you also. When not in use, you should make sure that your arc flash PPE is stored in a cool and dry place that is away from direct sunlight. It should also be kept separate from your other clothing. 


When it comes to washing the clothes, it is vital that you follow the laundry instructions that are on the label(s), wash separately from other clothing and avoid over drying (could potentially cause shrinking). STRATA Arc Flash PPE is 100% Inherent, meaning that it’s level of protection cannot ever be washed out.

Despite the fact that arc flash clothing is excellent quality and built to last, it is still important that you inspect them on a regular basis for any visible signs of damage. When doing this, look at the material, the pockets, the stitching, the buttons, the reflective strips, the press-studs, and the zips for loose threads, fraying ends, holes, and any other signs of damage that there may be.

Important: Your Head, Hands & Face

Think with your senses! When working live consider touch, sight and hearing. With most engineers and workers who are at risk of being exposed to an arc flash working with their head, hands, and face within close proximity to where electrical discharge could occur, it is important then that these areas of the body are well protected, as they would likely take the full force of an arc flash should one happen.

For this very reason a face helmet / face shield along with a Skorf, should be worn at all times. Gauntlets should also be worn as part as the overall PPE package.  SKANWEAR stock a full range of accessories that protect the head, the hands, and the face.

Back to Work Safely

As workers now begin to head back to work after the holidays, it is important that they are reminded about the dangers of arc flash and how they should be correctly protecting themselves by wearing the right clothing for the job(s) that they are working on.

Register now for a FREE Arc Flash Safety - Back to work digital presentation by a member of the SKANWEAR team.



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