Whether they guard against harm from the sun, wind, rain, or fire, protective garments are essential for many workers in the electrical industry. Depending on the particular work environment, personal protective equipment (PPE) — in the form of flame-resistant (FR) clothing — is often necessary to keep electrical workers safe from electric arc exposure. The ramifications of not wearing appropriately rated protective clothing are sobering when you consider the potential for serious burn injury and/or death. In fact, according to statistics compiled by Capshell, Inc., a Chicago-based research firm that specializes in preventing workplace injuries and deaths, five to 10 times a day, a worker in the United States is injured or killed due to an arc flash accident. This is one of the main reasons why NFPA 70E requires employees to wear FR protective clothing that meets the requirements of ASTM F1506-10a, “Standard Performance Specification for Flame Resistant Textile Materials for Wearing Apparel for Use by Electrical Workers Exposed to Momentary Electric Arc and Related Thermal Hazards,” whenever there is possible exposure to an electric arc flash. The type of protective clothing must be matched to the corresponding hazard or risk level, called an “arc rating” or “arc thermal performance value” (ATPV), which is listed on the labeling of all FR protective clothing.
One of many recent flame-resistant (FR) apparel offerings now available through AmeriPride’s partnership with Bulwark Protective Apparel, Bulwark Excel FR ComforTouch Premium Coveralls offer increased abrasion resistance. With an arc rating or arc thermal performance value (ATPV) of 8.6 calories/cm², this product meets NFPA 70E standards for hazard/risk category (HRC) 2 applications. Made with lightweight 7 oz EXCEL FR ComforTouch fabric, comprised of 88% cotton and 12% nylon, the coveralls, available in sizes ranging from 38 to 54, and tall sizes from 42T to 52T, deliver dry heat resistance and act as a natural insulator, according to the company.
Short- and long-sleeve shirts
The FRK008 – Flame-Resistant Short-Sleeve Work Dry T-Shirt, part of the company’s new
F/W ’11 collection, is lightweight, made from 5.5-oz knit — 48% modacrylic , 48% Tencel, and 4% spandex. Featuring moisture-wicking, fast drying technology, and anti-odor control, the garment offers a stretchable, spandex-reinforced rib-knit fabric for comfort. The FRK009 – Flame-Resistant Long-Sleeve Work Dry T-Shirt (pictured), made from the same materials and offering the same features, is also available.
Mesh fabric vest
The GloWear 8356FRHL Class 3 Flame Resistant Modacrylic Vest employs 3M Scotchlite 8935 FR reflective material for enhanced visibility and ASTM F1506-certified modacrylic mesh fabric for the highest degree of FR protection. According to the company, traditional hi-vis modacrylic fabrics tend to be solid and heavy; however, this product delivers ANSI compliance and FR protection using a patented modacrylic mesh fabric that is lightweight and breathable. The vest uses this same fabric for the binding, resulting in F1506 compliance.
High-performance fiberIntroduced in May 2011, Kermel Co. has developed lighter weight solutions (6.1 oz/yd2) for reaching the Class 2 performance level normally achieved by heavier products weighing 7.5 oz/yd2. According to the company, the new Kermel brand fabric is one of the lightest and most comfortable fabrics to have passed the NFPA 70E standard. Protective clothing made out of Kermel fibers is permanently non-flammable and protect against electric arc — no subsequent flame-retardant treatment is required.
T-shirt with body temperature regulation
The FR Control Tee, featuring Outlast technology, is a base layer garment that combines arc flash protection with comfort and moisture management. According to the company, this product has the ability to interact with your body to help balance temperature by absorbing, storing, and releasing the heat produced by the body and maintaining a comfort zone for the wearer. In addition, this t-shirt is designed with anti-microbial properties, keeping the wearer dry and odorless. The FR Control Tee meets the performance requirements of NFPA 70E with an arc rating of 3.6.
National Safety Apparel