Terminology Concerning Personal Protective Equipment Levels

red background with burning question

Q: Can you confirm the new terminology concerning PPE levels?

PPE Level 1 = up to 4 cal/cm2; PPE Level 2 = up to 8 cal/cm2; PPE Level 3 = up to 25 cal/cm2;  PPE Level 4 = up to 40 cal/cm2

A: The PPE Levels are NOT exposure levels but PPE performance or Arc Rating Levels.

  • PPE Level 1 = min value of 4 cal/cm2
  • PPE Level 2 = min value of 8 cal/cm2               
  • PPE Level 3 = min value of 25 cal/cm2
  • PPE Level 4 = min value of 40 cal/cm2

What you wrote is from OLD NFPA 70E standards and IEEE 1584.  It is commonly used in the field but not in NFPA 70E, and 2015 makes it improper to use that idea.  The PPE Levels are ONLY applicable when you use the Tables for your Risk Assessment.

This is a common issue in the field.

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Hugh Hoagland

Hugh Hoagland

Hugh Hoagland is the foremost tester of clothing and PPE exposed to electrical arcs and is an arc flash expert. Read more about Hugh.

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