Arc Flash Clothing 101

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Arc Flash Clothing

Arc flash occurs when electric current deviates from its intended route, moving through the air instead from conductor to conductor. Workers in hazardous electrical settings need reliable personal protective equipment (PPE) to keep them safe from heat, fire, and arc-related injuries. Burlington Safety Laboratory, Inc. supplies high-performance arc flash clothing for a variety of applications and industries.

What Is Arc Flash Clothing?

Both arc flashes and arc blast explosions can seriously injure or even kill unprotected employees. Protective clothing can insulate workers from harm by acting as a barrier against direct contact with electrical arcs. Arc flashing clothing for electricians mitigates the danger, and it complies with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements and the following industry standards to protect wearers from multiple types of heat-related threats:

  •     ASTM F1506. This American Society for Testing and Materials standard covers the required performance for arc flash and flame-resistant clothing for workers potentially exposed to electrical arcs or flame.
  •     NFPA 70E. This standard, set forth by the National Fire Protection Association, regulates workplace electrical safety.

Flame-resistant clothing also helps protect workers by reducing the severity of injuries, but it’s not the same as arc flash clothing.

Arc Flash Clothing vs. Flame-Resistant Clothing

Electrical arc flash clothing and flame-resistant clothing provide two different tiers of protection. All arc flash protection clothing is rated to be flame-resistant. However, not all flame-resistant clothing offers reliable protection against arc flash.

To be considered flame-resistant, clothing must protect wearers from embers, open flame, or flash fires. It should not melt in the presence of heat, but instead act as thermal insulation against it. Flame-resistant fabrics should be able to self-extinguish if they catch fire or resist igniting altogether. To receive the flame-resistant distinction, manufacturers must thoroughly test the clothing to receive a rating based on the level of protection the fabric provides.

Arc flash clothing is an even higher distinction. It must meet all the standards of fire-resistant clothing, while also offering protection against live electricity and second-degree burns. Most electrical occupations require workers to wear arc flash clothing whenever they’re near components carrying 600V of energy or more. Manufacturers measure how much energy from repeated arc flashes the textiles can safeguard against before the wearer would receive second-degree burns to establish the tier or quality of the arc flash clothing.

At Burlington Safety Laboratory, we provide safety gear for extreme work environments that pose a fire and electrical risk to workers. The manufacturers use Nomex® thread and meet ASTM F1506 and NFPA 70E standards. Some of the safety products we provide include:

Applications and Industries

Workers in any environment where arc, flame, and heat hazards are present should wear arc flash safety clothing or flame-resistant shielding. Some of the applications and industries for which we supply protective gear include:

  • Electrical workers. These workers are continually exposed to high-voltage equipment that can arc or cause severe shocks and burns.
  • Construction labor force. In this industry, workers may be exposed to both electrical and open-flame hazards.
  • Miners and petroleum workers. Mining and petroleum facilities such as processing centers have high-heat environments that can pose a risk to workers.
  • Utility company employees. Work in power stations or along utility lines can be extremely dangerous without proper protection.
  • Data center workers. Large-scale data centers house heavy-duty electrical equipment that can present an electrical risk to on-site employees without proper protection.

Arc Flash and Flame-Resistant Clothing at Burlington Safety Laboratory

Burlington Safety Laboratory has specialized in protective gear for electrical and high-heat environments since 1971. We’re a leading distributor of arc flash clothing, flame-resistant equipment, and other items for customers in the utilities, telecommunications, railroad, power generation, and other industrial sectors. 

We keep a vast inventory of electrical safety and rubber protective equipment in stock and ready to ship from our three U.S. locations. Contact us today to learn more about our innovative arc flash clothing and kits, or browse through our online catalog to s

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