With two years of the COVID-19 pandemic impacting how businesses evaluate employee safety and with 2,000 workers treated for arc flash related injuries each year, now is the time for businesses to consider protocols like electrical safety to further protect their workers.
The difference between flame resistant (FR) and arc flash or arc rated (AR) clothing is clear, but many professionals make the mistake of choosing FR clothing with the assumption that they will be safe should a fire occur.
Electrical-related fatalities and serious injuries (FSI)* are among the noted FSIs. FSIs represent a safety and health challenge that has gained increasing visibility in the past decade as even organizations with elite environment, health and safety programs struggle to reduce FSI numbers.
Industry safety regulations and the evolution of voluntary performance standards have ensured that fire-resistant (FR) clothing is more readily available. For many industries, FR gear is a requirement to ensure worker safety, and keeping FR clothing in good repair is crucial for reducing on-site injuries and extending the life of the garments.
Any organization utilizing electrical assets in their production environments or facilities will be aware of NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. This standard is what OSHA uses when assessing companies’ adherence to certain safety standards. However, NFPA 70E is further informed by the standard 1584-2018, which is developed by the IEEE.
Electricians, like any trade professional, must complete several training programs to learn the ropes and ultimately earn certification. However, no matter how extensive, their learning is never officially complete.
Flame-resistant (FR) doesn’t last forever. Since FR clothing can be expensive to replace, it’s usually best to repair these garments whenever possible. But if your FR clothing is beyond repair, your only choice will be to replace these garments.