ARC flash clothing is becoming increasingly important for electrical workers. Manufacturer Reece Safety explains why this is the case and why you should invest in quality PPE.
What is an ARC flash?
An ARC flash – sometimes called a ‘flashover’ or ‘electrical arching’ – occurs when a burst of light and heat is created from an arc fault. ARC flashes can be caused by sparks, equipment failure, dust, corrosion or improper installation. This electrical explosion can cause serious harm to a person within close proximity of an incident if the correct PPE is not worn. An ARC flash can cause the following injuries:
- Loss of memory or brain function due to concussion
- Hearing loss
- Damage to eyesight from the high-intensity flash
- Third-degree skin burns
- Other physical injuries from being knocked over by shock waves
What is ARC flash protective clothing?
ARC flash clothing is created in accordance with both national and international safety standards, and acts as a last line of defence in protecting the wearer from serious injuries, especially burns, due to the thermal hazards in an ARC flash event.
ARC flash clothing includes under base layers, outerwear, switching suit kits, gloves and face protection such as visors and balaclavas. It is important to wear multiple layers of Arc flash PPE for full skin protection and face protection when working with electrical equipment.
To be properly protected from heat and faults that may occur when working with electrical equipment, wear good quality ARC flash clothing to greatly reduce the risk of burns and shocks and always comply with health and safety and risk assessment standards in your workplace.
Why should I wear ARC flash protective clothing?
Arc flash PPE is often called arc-rated (AR) clothing, and is specifically designed for the effects of a flashover without being bulky and difficult to work in. It is made from flame-resistant materials such as cotton and nylon, which are also lightweight and comfortable for the worker to be able to wear all day.
It also includes several layers to wear to provide maximum protection should an ARC flash occur; by wearing multiple layers it minimises the impact of high impact bursts of heat on your skin.
The damage that an ARC flash can have on a person’s skin can be devastating, which is why this specialist clothing is needed – each layer is designed to take the impact of the heat and blasts to prevent your skin from burning. It is better to wear more PPE than required to keep safe when working with electricals than wearing minimal PPE in case an ARC flash incident occurs.