The Differences between Arc Flash Clothing and Flame Resistant Clothing

In certain industries, it is vital for employees to wear personal protective equipment for their safety. This includes those working in industries such as oil and gas, Data Centres, the military, electronics, and Large Manufacturing facilities amongst others. Some types of jobs within these and other industries put workers at risk of heat and fire related injuries, which is why the use of PPE is so important.

One type of protection that has been used for many years by those working in these industries is FR clothing, which stands for Fire Resistant clothing. This type of clothing is designed to resist against heat and flames but the levels of resistance with different types of FR clothing can vary. This means that some FR clothing may not offer as much protection.

What is Arc Flash clothing?

An arc flash is a type of electrical discharge or explosion. It can travel by air between conductors or can travel from a conductor to the ground. This type of hazard can cause serious injury to workers who are exposed to it. Recently, Arc Flash clothing has been introduced into the world of PPE. The key difference between Arc Flash clothing and Flame Resistant clothing is that while all Arc Rated apparel is also flame resistant not all FR clothing is Arc Rated.

In short, Arc Flash clothing makes it easier for employers and consumers to find out whether the clothing that they are buying offers sufficient protection. It enables you to find out whether the clothing will resist ignition, offer heat resistance, or self-extinguish.

Testing carried out on the clothing will clarify whether the material resists ignition or will extinguish on its own once the source of the ignition is removed. The ARC tests that are carried out on FR clothing help to determine the amount of energy that can be blocked before second degree burns are experienced by the wearer. So, in a nutshell Arc Flash clothing comes with an ARC rating and has been thoroughly tested to determine the level of protection that it offers.

Who should wear Arc Flash Clothing?

Anyone that is at risk of being exposed to an Arc Flash should be wearing Arc Flash clothing to ensure that they have the right level of protection. Some of the industries in which arc flash exposure may be a risk include:

  • The automotive industry
  • The construction industry
  • The Mining industry
  • The petroleum industry
  • The utilities industry
  • Data Centres
  • High Volume Manufacturing Industries

For workers in these and similar industries, Arc Flash clothing provides added peace of mind as it is not only flame resistant but has also been rigorously tested to IEC 61482-2-2009 to clarify the level of protection provided against Arc Flash hazards.

Protecting against arc flash hazards

Anyone that works in an environment where there is an Arc Flash hazard present needs to bear in mind that simply opting for standard flame resistant clothing will not be sufficient in terms of protection. It is important to ensure that you choose garments that have been Arc tested and are fully tested and comply with IEC 61482-2-2009 Standards.

General flame resistant garments have no standard in place in relation to a specific risk or hazard. Arc flash clothing provides these standards when it comes to arc flash hazard risks, which means additional peace of mind for those who are exposed to this type of danger.

You need to bear in mind that flame resistance and Arc Flash are completely different things. This is why it is so crucial to check the labels and Arc Ratings on any garments that you are buying for yourself or your employees and ensure they comply fully with IEC 61482-2-2009 standards. This will enable you to quickly determine whether the garments you purchase offer the necessary protection based on arc flash risks and hazards.

For further information, contact us on 057 866 2162 or email us here. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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