Using An Arc Flash Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Chart To Select PPE
Some people see the NFPA Hazard Risk Category charts as a way to avoid doing an arc flash analysis. While the charts are useful, and cover common types of equipment and activities, be sure to read the notes. It is difficult to cover every circumstance and every possibility in a PPE chart. So the tendency will be toward requiring more and heavier PPE than might otherwise be needed. The bottom line is that avoiding the costs of an arc flash analysis may not be possible.
However, once you know the hazard rating, you'll know the PPE that is required. Article 130.7 of NFPA 70E 2012 covers PPE and an arc flash PPE chart is provided by table 130.7(C)(16). This arc flash PPE chart lets you quickly determine the required PPE for each of the five hazard categories.
The NFPA Arc Flash PPE Chart
You'll find the arc flash PPE chart on pages 39 and 40 of NFPA 70E 2012. Please be sure to read Informational Note No 2 on page 39. It states that the PPE specified in the arc flash PPE chart does not provide complete protection from injury. It is still possible, for example, for a burn injury to occur. What the PPE listed in the arc flash PPE chart does do is reduce injuries to a survivable level.
In addition, the required PPE does not provide protection from physical trauma, such as an injury resulting from falling down when hit by the arc flash shock wave.
Even though NFPA provides an arc flash PPE chart, do not rely on PPE as your protection against arc flash injury. It should be your last line of defense. If it is at all possible, de-energize the equipment you'll be working on. De-energized equipment is the safest equipment.
Here are the five categories of protection in the NFPA arc flash PPE chart:
- Protective clothing required. Non-melting or untreated natural fiber.
- Arc rated clothing with a minimum arc rating of 4 cal/cm2
- Arc rated clothing with a minimum arc rating of 8 cal/cm2
- Arc rated clothing selected so that the system arc rating meets at least a rating of 25 cal/cm2
- Arc rated clothing selected so that the system arc rating meets at least a rating of 40 cal/cm2
Real-world advice and insight into preventing arc flash accidents.
In addition to the arc flash PPE chart, your arc flash labels may specify the required PPE. This provides the PPE information at the point of need. A worker approaching electrical equipment can immediately evaluate whether they have adequate PPE before entering the arc flash boundary.
Arc flash label are custom printed for each, individual piece of electrical equipment. A printer such as the DuraLabel PRO is used to make arc flash labels. If you need arc flash labels, give us a call at 1-888-326-9244. We'll be glad to answer your questions and help you select the right printer for your arc flash labels.