Arc Flash Protection: Suit, Gloves, Jackets, Flash PPE

Arc Flash PPE is the last line of defence in an arc flash incident. In an ideal world (from a safety perspective) no one would need to rack in/out circuit breakers or perform HV Switching, and no one would work energized or near energized conductors or circuit parts. Now let's be realistic, and realise that this is not possible in all cases. Let's also be realistic and have a look at the statistics, and realise that arc flash incidents can and do occur on a regular basis in these environments and let's promote protection in electrical safety.

 

Arc Flash PPE

For the reasons listed above, Arc Flash PPE is an absolute must for electrical workers. Cotton-drill simply does not provide sufficient protection as work wear in the electrical industry. Cotton does burn, and is not self extinguishing, this is well documented but not well known. For this reason, the first step in an Arc Flash PPE program is to choose work wear made from a frame resistant fabric that has a separate arc flash rating (e.g. Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV) or Energy Breakopen Threshold (EBT).

Arc flash gloves, arc flash jackets, insulated arc flash mats, and arc flash suits must be required for all electrical professionals for their protection.

 

HV Switching

Secondly, Arc Flash PPE should be implemented for HV Switching, and either personally issued to HV operators, or shared and kept in all switch rooms for anyone to wear entering these environments. These two steps of course need to be preceded by the appropriate Arc Flash Hazard Analysis to decide what the

Arc Flash Protection Boundary is and for identifying the arc flash protective clothing required related to the energized electrical work task.