Arc rated (AR) clothing has come a long way in the last two decades.
In the 1990s, there were fewer options limited to only a handful of industries. Today, along with a larger market of industries that require arc rated clothing, the choices have increased for fabrics, now available in different colors, patterns, and arc ratings. There are more options when it comes to style, fit, durability, and comfort.
OSHA 1910.269 makes clear that PPE must be provided by the employer and worn by workers. Best Practices for Arc-Rated Clothing Programs is an article I wrote last year. The article covers best practices for utilities that are not so clear in the standard:
- consider PPE as daily wear (most lives are saved in high- and low-voltage situations when the clothing simply doesn’t ignite)
- use an AR, high-visibility vest (melting “FR” vests do not meet the OSHA 1910.269 standard and definitely do not meet the ANSI 107 high-visibility standard)
- use blankets and shields to protect against arc blast
- use system calculations to build standards to assure that substations and feeder specifications keep workers safer from an arc flash perspective