Electrical Safety Stories Blog

Arc Flash Face Shields: 3 Considerations in Selecting a Face Shield

Arc Flash Face Shields: 3 Considerations in Selecting a Face Shield

By: Jason Bischoff


One of the most important parts of an arc flash PPE kit is the arc-rated face shield. It is important to note that not all arc flash face shields are created equal, and you have a variety of options beyond the necessary cal/cm2 rating, ranging from color to design, all of which affect how well a worker can see and the overall experience he or she has while wearing one.

At Enespro PPE, we are focused on providing a better experience for electrical workers, and with this, we would today like to discuss some of the options you have when selecting a face shield and considerations to make before purchasing one. Following our last blog on the importance of hoods and balaclavas, we would today like to focus on a product that protects workers while preventing them from ‘working blind’: The Face Shield.

Considerations for Selecting an Arc Flash Face Shield

Arc flash face shields have evolved over the years. Materials have evolved to improve visibility and color recognition, the product shape has improved to offer better peripheral vision, and the overall hood has improved to offer better ventilation and breathability.

What Kind of Work Do You Need to Complete?

In the most basic sense, arc flash face shields are selected at the same level or higher than the arc flash suit you choose. Built around the different PPE categories, these items may receive the same Cal/cm2 rating as a jacket or coveralls, but the differences in necessary protection for 12 or 20 Cal/cm2 (CAT 2) work differ greatly from 40, 55, or 65 Cal/cm2 (CAT 4) work. As we discussed in our last blog, a CAT 2 suits and face shields are often paired with a balaclava, while CAT 4 suits require additional protection in the form of a full hood.

The higher the arc rating, the darker the material in your face shield. While this was once a detriment (or even potentially a hazard for workers using green tinted face shields), new materials (such as the nanoparticles in our OptiShield™ face shields) allow for greater color recognition and visibility.

At What Temperature Will Workers be Completing a Job?

Hot work gets hot, and many workers will need to complete jobs in areas with high temperatures, excessive humidity, or cramped areas. If this is the case, employers should protect their workers from dangers of heat-related illnesses, as well as arc flash injuries.

One way to do this is to select products that are well-ventilated or easily removed when outside of the arc flash boundary. As we discussed in a recent blog on the importance of breathability in arc flash PPE, we have incorporated multiple innovations into our CAT 4 products:

  • The Enespro AirLite 40 Cal Vented Lift-Front Hood was a game changer for many workers because the lift front shield offers quick access to fresh air when they step out of the flash boundary area. It also has venting built directly into the shield itself to add air-flow and auditory vents improve hearing & communication. Now, these 40 CAL AirLite™ OptiShield Vented Lift-Front Hoods, also include 2 large innovative “Arc Vents” to further increase air-flow to further aide in cooling and reduce fogging.
  • In addition to this, we have also introduced our 40 CAL Enespro AirLite™ OptiShield™ Hood with dual fans to provide workers with a cool breeze when completing work. This system helps workers to stay cool if you opt for a non-lift-front hood.

Should We Opt for a Lift-Front Face Shield for our CAT 4 Suit?

Face shields come in many varieties. Depending on factors like workplace heat (mentioned above), the two primary options are lift-front and non-lift-front. Lift-front face shields offer broader sight lines and help workers to feel less claustrophobic while wearing a hood.

Get to Know Enespro PPE

At Enespro PPE, we set out to change the game when it came to electrical safety, and have gone out of our way to improve on every piece of arc flash PPE - from the face shield to the bag to carry equipment.

Enespro OptiShieldTM grey nanoparticle shields have improved visibility and color versus legacy green tinted shields. They also include an abrasion resistant coating on the front surface and a permanent anti-fog coating on the interior. Paired with our lightweight, breathable materials in our 40 CAL AirLite™ hoods, 12 and 20 CAL UltraSoft™ Balaclavas, 20 and 25 CAL Shrouds, or our expanded selection including our 55 and 65 CAL hoods and suits, we provide the comfort, breathability, and visibility workers need.

Get to know more about our entire selection of products here.

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