This blog briefly touches on some of the topics they cover.
One change in the NFPA 70E is that the term “Hazard Risk Category” (HRC) has been replaced by “PPE level” or “arc rated PPE category” (ARC). HRC 0 (natural fiber clothing) is no longer in the standard. PPE is now required to be arc rated.
Another important change is that no PPE is required anymore when there is no risk or there is “acceptable risk” IF certain requirements are met. NFPA 70E 130.2(A)(4) lists those requirements: (1) the equipment is properly installed [in accordance with industry codes and standards and manufacturer’s recommendations], (2) the equipment is properly maintained [in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations and industry codes and standards], (3) the equipment doors are closed and secured, (4) all covers are in place and secured, and (5) there is no evidence of impending failure [no evidence of arcing, overheating, loose or bound parts, visible damage, or deterioration].
OSHA changes include protection for the face, feet, and hands. Hand protection from arcing incidents is required when the hazard is above 14 cal/cm2. Feet must be protected and are considered protected by boots or heavy-duty work shoes. The standard does not define these, but NFPA 70E requires leather. The head and face must be protected in single-phase arcs in air at 9 cal/cm2. For other exposures, 5 cal/cm2 is the requirement. There is new technology available to help employers meet this clause: lift-front hoods are available from multiple suppliers to provide protection at up to 40 cals.
OSHA 1910.269 requires that workers with the potential for exposure to an electric arc be provided with AR/flame-resistant (FR) clothing if the incident energy is greater than 2 cal/cm2. OSHA does not define FR, but all arc rated clothing is considered flame-resistant.
The article discusses how companies can be compliant with the PPE standards and still remain cost-effective. It also goes into some detail on what a company should look for on the label when purchasing PPE for employees.
About the Authors: Hugh Hoagland of ArcWear and e-Hazard is a specialist in arc flash testing and electrical safety training. Stacy Klausing, M.Sc., of ArcWear is a flame-resistant textile specialist focusing on ASTM F1506 and ASTM F1891 testing.