Question: Can an electrical worker wear a normal belt buckle? Are there arc-rated or dielectric belts?
NFPA 70E prohibits wearing certain metal objects into the restricted boundary in 130.6(D), but belts and belt buckles aren’t specifically prohibited. We recommend limiting any metal on the body if clothing and work permits since the standard says,
“Conductive articles of jewelry and clothing (such as watchbands, bracelets, rings, key chains, necklaces, metalized aprons, cloth with conductive thread, metal headgear, or metal frame glasses) shall not be worn within the restricted approach boundary or where they present an electrical contact hazard with exposed energized electrical conductors…” . NFPA 70E 130.6(D)
From the arc side, there are a few leather belts with no buckle you can find online. Most are advertised as mechanic’s or “electrician’s” belts, but the only one we know that has been tested is the Arc Belt. It was tested in January of 2016 using the set-up of the ASTM F2621 procedure. The test results showed no melting, ignition, or dripping at an energy level of 40 cal/cm².
Arc Belt is a handmade, leather belt that contains very few metal parts – no buckles and just 2 prongs on the back side of the belt. And it’s made in North Carolina. The belt is leather and can be embossed with the company name. It has no exposed metal parts which makes it nice from an electrical worker perspective. Sure beats a large metal belt buckle that says, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” (that could be one of my favorite country songs).
There is NO arc rating for belts since they aren’t considered “protective”, but this one has been exposed like the ASTM F887 standard requires for a harness to assure it will not add injury to a worker by ignition, melting or dripping. It performs like a charm.
Here are the test results for ArcBelt.
If you are an electrician or lineman, or you work around electricity, this is a great addition to your arsenal of personal protective equipment (PPE).