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The importance of layering PPE to protect against Arc Flash

Author : Hamilton Smith, Technical Sales Manager, ProGARM

31 October 2019

In industries working around high and low voltage electricity, the dangers posed by an Arc Flash must not be underestimated. With temperatures of up to 35,000ºF, an Arc Flash can burn an operative’s skin within fractions of a second, meaning PPE really is the last line of defence for workers. Yet there’s a surprising lack of knowledge when it comes to relevant legislation and appropriate protection.

It’s important for employers, operatives, and health and safety managers alike to understand the importance of layering Arc Flash PPE, and the dangers that can be posed by wearing everyday clothing underneath protective outerwear.

While the outer garments are key components for providing protection, they are not enough to match the risk posed to an operative’s safety, meaning Arc Flash PPE base layers should be worn at all times.

This is because, while the flames may not come into contact with skin through the protective outer layers, the extreme heat can melt materials used to manufacture everyday undergarments. This will inflict burns and potentially cause non-Arc Flash protective undergarments to melt into the skin underneath their PPE. To ensure effective Arc Flash protection, all base layers must be Arc-resistant – everything from base layer leggings, tops and even underwear.

Hamilton Smith 

Hamilton Smith, Technical Sales Manager, ProGARM
Hamilton Smith, Technical Sales Manager, ProGARM

Hamilton Smith is a Technical Sales Manager at ProGARM, a market leading clothing solution in Flame Resistant and Arc Flash garments. Through his role, Hamilton is focused on helping companies protect the lives of their workforce, whilst ensuring they meet the latest health and safety standards by providing the best in class Flame Resistant and Arc Flash clothing solutions.

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