Video: Flame Resistant Workwear Arc Flash Testing | UniFirst
 

Video: Arc Flash Testing of Flame Resistant Workwear

FR apparel and other PPE reduces injuries and saves lives

An electric arc flash is a dangerous release of energy created by an electrical fault that contains thermal energy, molten metal, pressure waves, acoustical energy and debris. The testing clearly demonstrated that if you work on or near energized parts and equipment, flame resistant protective apparel and other PPE can and does dramatically reduce injuries and save lives.

 
 
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Video Transcript (click to view)

An electric arc flash is a dangerous release of energy created by an electrical fault that contains thermal energy, molten metal, pressure waves, acoustical energy and debris.

The thermal energy released in an arc flash is measured in calories per centimeter squared. A typical arc flash can release energy from a few calories up to 20 and exposures between 20 and 40 calories are not uncommon.

Every day cloths made from Cotton or poly cotton fabrics can be readily ignited at these exposure levels and once ignited, they will continue to burn long after the arc flash is over dramatically increasing the extent and severity of burn injury.

Several years ago it became apparent that NFPA 70E was growing rapidly, would be the primary standard of the future and that a large number of maintenance and electrical workers would be affected.

Our goal was to create real world arc flashes using common 480 volt electrical equipment to help companies better understand the magnitude of the arc flash hazard that exists in nearly every facility in the world.

The learning’s illustrated by the events on this video clearly demonstrate that electrical arc flashes are extremely hazardous events, despite lower voltage versus utilities and that there is no situation regardless of hazard analysis data where you can be assured that non flame resistant clothing will not ignite regardless of whether the fabrics are blends or 100% cotton. Arcs were captured with no manikins to fully capture the event, with manikins wearing 100% cotton and poly cotton and with manikins outfitted with Westex Ultrasoft flame resistant clothing, both new and after 100 industrial launderings. The stripes and numbers that you see on the wall represent feet from the arc gap to illustrate the hazardous zone. Safety professionals and engineers from many fortune 500 companies, training centers and leading unions were in attendance to experience the arc flashes in person. The testing clearly demonstrated that if you work on or near energized parts and equipment, flame resistant protective apparel and other PPE can and does dramatically reduce injuries and save lives.

 
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