Flame-resistant protective apparel | Major life threatening injuries

Flame-resistant protective apparel can mean the difference between minor survivable burns and major life threatening injuries.


National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 70E, 2012 Edition addresses electrical safety related work practices for activities such as inspection, operation, repair or demolition of electric conductors, electric equipment, signaling and communications conductors and equipment, and raceways. It also includes safe work practices for employees performing other work activities that can expose them to electrical hazards such as installation of conductors and equipment; or in installations used by the electrical utility, but are not an integral part of a generating plant, substation or control center. The 2012 Edition changed the term “flame resistant (FR)” to “arc rated (AR)” throughout the standard when referring to personal protective equipment (PPE) for electrical workers. Former tables 130.7(C)(10) and (C)(11) on PPE selection when the hazard/risk category method is used were combined into a single table 130.7(C)(16). The new table provides clearer guidance to PPE selection. The HR categories and the arc ratings required for each remain, but the HRC 2* category has been eliminated. A hard hat, hearing protection, safety glasses or goggles, heavy duty work gloves and leather work shoes are required for all HR categories. An arc rated flash suit hood or wrap-around face shield worn with an arc rated hood is required for all HRC 2 – 4 jobs. HRC 0 and HRC 1 tasks require safety glasses or goggles. 70E continues to allow non-melting flammable (non-arc rated) materials to be used as undergarments and permits their use in HRC 0 tasks. However, garments that are not arc-rated cannot be used to increase the arc rating of a garment or a clothing system. Informative Annex H on selection of PPE (the simplified two-category system) was greatly expanded with explanatory material.

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