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Arc Flash Rated Gloves: In a Flash, Your Life Could Change

by Hugh Hoagland on May 16, 2013

Comments (3)
superiorgloveworks@gmail.com'

A Brand New Game in Town: Arc-Flash Multiple-Hazard Gloves

The 2012 NFPA 70E standard brought forth some major changes for gloves. The new standard continues the move to arc-rated gloves. Since the 2000 version that first mentioned gloves in possible arc flash exposures, the standard has moved toward better hand protection. Statistics indicate the hands and face are the number-one and number-two body areas injured by arc-flash burns. Even low-level arcs often burn the hands, and it is completely unnecessary.

In 2012, the NFPA 70E Electrical Safety in the Workplace standard illustrates another change. You can use leather or arc-rated gloves for arc-flash protection unless there is also a shock hazard. Where shock is not a hazard, but arc flash is, (such as operation of low-voltage equipment with the doors closed), a new product classification has been gaining interest — arc-rated gloves. The new standard changed the leather requirement — which pre-2012 was the weight of leather glove — to require a rating or a minimum thickness of 0.7 mm. Few leather gloves can guarantee this thickness. Thus, arc-rated gloves will soon be the norm.

Multiple hazards exist in every workplace–chemical exposure, cut, arc flash, flash fire–to list the common potential hazards. What if we had PPE that protected from those multiple hazards and was still comfortable? That is what PPE manufacturers are doing. About eight years ago, a Canadian company contacted me about wanting gloves for operators in a refinery who worked with controls and operated valves, did some mechanical troubleshooting but in the course of the day would operate LV motor starters, contactors, and disconnects.

These workers really needed a warm glove most of the year that had some cut resistance, was relatively impervious to minor chemicals in the workplace (mostly oils and tar), and could also protect in the event of an arc flash and a flash fire. The gloves they were using worked, para-aramid (Kevlar® or Twaron®) with a coating for grip and oil resistance, but “What would they do in arc?” We used the test method we were developing to test rubber insulating gloves meeting ASTM D120 for ignition and arc-flash protection to test these gloves, and they had between a 4 and 7 cal/cm² rating by the new proposed standard. The arc-glove market was born. In the next year after the standard passes ASTM F18, more gloves will be rated for both arc and multiple hazards.

These types of innovations keep people safe and comfortable. That’s what every safety director wants to see.

 

Hugh Hoagland is principal at ArcWear.com doing arc flash testing and product development, and a partner in e-Hazard.com doing arc flash training.

Click to view Superior Glove’s arc flash rated gloves:

http://www.superiorglove.com/work-gloves/welding-gloves/arc-flash-gloves

 

 


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Reader Comments

martechnical1@gmail.com'

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Reply Arc Flash - October 14, 2014

martechnical1@gmail.com'

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Reply Arc Flash - October 28, 2014

martechnical1@gmail.com'

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Reply Arc Flash Analysis - January 5, 2015



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