Electrical Arc Flash

An arc flash definition, according to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is “a dangerous condition associated with the release of energy caused by an electric arc.”

An electric arc flash occurs during a fault, or short circuit condition, which passes through this arc gap. The arc flash can be initiated through accidental contact, equipment which is underrated for the available short circuit current, contamination or tracking over insulated surfaces, deterioration or corrosion of equipment and, or parts, as well as other causes.   An arc flash event can expel large amounts of deadly energy. The arc causes an ionization of the air, and arc flash temperatures can reach as high as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. This is hotter than the surface of the sun. 

Arc-Rated PPE

Arc-rated PPE is the “the last line of defense” and is important to wear to protect you from injury when all other safety measures have failed to prevent an incident.

The majority of catastrophic injuries and deaths are not cause by the arc flash itself. They are caused by regular clothing igniting and continuing to burn against the skin. Workers who survive in these scenarios are faced with excruciating burn injuries over a large surface area of the body that are highly susceptible to deadly infections.

You can significantly reduce or eliminate burn injuries from the equation by wearing arc-rated PPE. Unlike flammable clothing, arc-rated PPE clothing will not ignite and continue to burn when the arc flash is over. In addition, if the proper protection level is worn, it can also dramatically reduce or even eliminate burn injury by providing insulation from the hazard.

Arc Flash vs 40 Cal UltraSoft garment with Worker on a Ladder by Westex

Arc Flash vs 40 Cal UltraSoft garment by Westex

Arc Flash vs 100% Cotton Clothing by Westex

Arc Flash vs Poly/Cotton Clothing Overview by Westex

Arc Flash vs Poly/Cotton Clothing by Westex

Arc Flash Overview by Westex

Arc Flash Comparison by Westex: Know the Difference in Fabrics

Electrical Shock

The passage of electricity through the body is called shock. Effects can range from a tingling sensation to death. A shock that may not be enough to cause injury can nonetheless startle a worker, causing an involuntary reaction that can result in serious injuries or death. 

Rubber Voltage Gloves

Rubber voltage gloves and leather rubber glove protectors are the most common electrical personal protective equipment used for shock protection. These must be adequate to protect the workers from electrical shock. The rubber gloves must have been tested and certified. Class 0 and Class 00 gloves must be air-tested and visually inspected for damage and adequacy immediately before each use.

Class 0 and 00 rubber gloves must be regularly tested and certified to ensure that they can withstand the voltages for which they are rated, once every six months, if they are in service. Workers must also be trained in the proper use, care, and storage of rubber gloves and leather protectors.