Steel Grip has provided a line of apparel for workers placed in environments at risk of an electrical arc flash.
We recommend you view videos on YouTube that are related to "Arc Flash" to get a good understanding of an arc flash and the severity of arc flash accidents. You will find several videos that show security cameras catching an arc flash incident. Some videos may be disturbing to viewers so please view with caution.
Steel Grip and Arc Flash PPE
Steel Grip is a leading U.S manufacturer of personal protective apparel. For many years we have produced garments designed for electrical arc exposure. This hazard requires workers to wear flame resistant clothing.
Existing standards such as NFPA 70E, require the wearing of electrical arc protective apparel. Steel Grip's compliant line of ArcGear™ suit system was developed for the growing concern over arc flash accidents. Steel Grip has invested resources into extensive fabric and fabric-layering searches. Each fabric combination is then independently tested at the Kinetrics High Current Laboratory located in Toronto, Canada. Steel Grip arc resistant apparel has been tested and certified by an independent consultant to meet the guidelines of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA 70E), the most commonly used electric worker safety standard in the industry. As a result of these tests, Steel Grip offers a valuable line of protective apparel to meet the needs of workers in the electrical maintenance industry.
The employer must perform a hazard risk assessment to determine the hazard and ensure the worker wears the appropriate clothing. This can only be accomplished with fabrics, which will not continue to ignite, melt or continue to burn under the exposed hazard.
Protection requires electrical workers to wear several garment components as ONE UNIT and the clothing must fit properly such that it does not interfere with the work task as defined by NFPA 70E.
The protective level of the garments must be equal to or exceed the declared value of the hazard and shall cover potentially exposed areas as completely as possible.
An arc resistant garment should only be exposed to an arc incidence once, as one incident will weaken the arc resistant characteristics of the garments, and the protective integrity of the fabrics has been compromised.
Hazard Risk Category 0, 1, 2, 3, & 4 Chart
This table lists examples of protective clothing systems and typical characteristics, including the degree of protection, for various clothing. The protective clothing selected for the corresponding Hazard Risk Category number shall have an arc rating of at least the value in the last column.
Five Parameters to Calculate Arc Energy
1. Source Voltage
2. Arc Fault Current
3. Expected Duration of the Arc in Cycles
4. Expected Arc Length
5. Distances of the Worker from the Arc
The calculation of these five elements will determine the Arc Rating needed in the clothing for the associated task. It should be noted that there is no typical hazard. The severity could vary in different locations in the same plant and vary even in the same circuit since clearing time and electrical current could change throughout the system.
Guidelines to Reduce Workers Risks
NFPA 70E is the most commonly used industrial electrical worker safety standard. The standard offers guidelines to reduce the risk of the onset of a second-degree burn when exposed to energized hazards and many other useful guidelines including work methods and equipment requirements. Tables of hazard/risk categories based on the type of electrical work and guidelines on conducting a hazard assessment are among its most prominent and useful features. This standard allows for use of a table or calculation of the arc hazard using the five parameters above to calculate arc energy.
Organizational Standards in the Industry
Today in industry, there are several organizations involved with the issues of protection from electric arc hazards common to all electrical work, and you should be aware of these organizations and their function.
NFPA 70E -End users most useful standard: Available from NFPA- National Fire Protection Association at www.nfpa.org
OSHA - Occupational Safety and Health Administration at www.osha.gov
ASTM - American Society for Testing Materials at www.astm.org
IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. at www.ieee.org
Steel Grip Arc Flash Hood Test
Please view the video below to show one of Steel Grip's arc flash hoods being tested.