Electric Arc Protection
How do you protect your workers from electric arc hazard?
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) is the leading industry standard association dealing with fire hazards in the workplace. They have compiled an industry consensus standard that outlines how to properly protect your employees and create a safe working environment — as well as how to help your company comply with government regulations.
NFPA 70E is the Standard for Electric Arc Requirements for employee workplaces. NFPA 70E requires employees to wear flame resistant protective clothing wherever there is a possible exposure to electric arc flash. NFPA 70E is a “voluntary standard,” however it is considered a “generally accepted industry standard.” OSHA will fine companies under the general duty clause, which requires employers to take the appropriate steps to protect workers.
NFPA 70E also requires employers to perform a flash hazard analysis to determine the flash protection boundary distance. The standard is designed to protect employees working inside these flash protection boundaries by requiring protective clothing of at least the capability listed in the “Protective Clothing Characteristics” section of the standard.
How does flame resistant clothing protect workers against electric arc hazard?
Flame resistant clothing actually provides thermal protection for the wearer. If the fabric is exposed to electric arcs or flash fires, it will “self-extinguish” quickly after the source of electric arc or flame is removed. This limits the exposure from high temperature that causes burning and also limits the duration of that exposure to reduce the potential for a high body burn percentage.
Each garment is given an ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value). This value represents the level of protection the garment will provide, when exposed to variable levels of heat in an electric arc flash.
How does a Flame Resistant Clothing Program from Cintas help keep your company compliant?
Using the simplified, two category flame resistant clothing system as outlined in Annex H of the NFPA standard, Cintas guides companies on how to maximize safety for workers all the while managing fewer garments. The simplified approach breaks the clothing requirements into two categories instead of four, providing everyday work clothing for routine tasks and more intense coverage for working in greater risk environments with hazards.