Utilities FR Clothing
When you turn on a light to go to the bathroom and wash your hands with warm water after, that can consist of using up to three utility industries in one common daily activity. As common as those activities are, arc flash hazards are just as common every day on the job for utility workers. Taking the safest of precautions on the job from repairing lines to pipefitting, installing towers or fixing any mechanical equipment includes wearing the proper arc rated FR clothing and other tasked based PPE.
Workers in the utility industry also often work outdoors near roadway vicinities which makes struck-by, vehicular and weather-related issues a major hazard.
Comfort can be an issue that prevents utility industry workers from wearing proper PPE for certain tasks or situations. National Safety Apparel’s arc rated FR clothing brands are manufactured using comfortable materials to allow utility workers to wear electrical safety PPE all day long without worry.
Few industries work around as much energized equipment and are exposed to arc flash hazards as much as lineman and utility workers. When arc flash hazard assessments are completed and the hierarchy of controls are followed, arc-rated FR clothing that is NFPA 70E compliant is the last line of defense for utility workers between an arc flash incident being fatal.
Arc rated FR clothing must be comfortable enough for workers to have on all day for the clothing to provide the protection they’re intended to give. Utility workers can be on the job for long hours, especially in storms and other bad weather, so comfort is even more essential to compliance for safety in such situations.
Personal protective equipment that is comfortable is a must-have for utility workers exposed to the potential risk of arc flash. NFPA 70E establishes standard best practices for safety and PPE for people who work around electrical equipment. The standard for FR clothing to be arc rated is ASTM F1506, which is a pass/fail standard for FR clothing to self-extinguish less than two seconds after the flame is exposed to it and has a char length of less than 6”. An arc thermal performance value (ATPV) must be determined to give the article of FR clothing an arc rating so that it fits into a PPE Cat Level (1-4) to determine the level of arc flash protection it provides.
TECGEN® FR is an easy solution for utility workers to find arc rated FR clothing they can wear throughout the workday with comfort and protection. Depending on the job or task utility workers are assigned to, the level and layers of protection workers require for those tasks will vary. In some cases, multiple layers of arc rated clothing are needed from base layers and undershirts, up to work pants, jeans, and work shirts, and even arc rated hoodies.
Roadway and Struck-By Incidents
Working on power lines, switches, energized equipment or any other powered equipment used to keep utilities working for consumers presents more than just arc flash hazards at any given time. Whether it's power lines, gas lines or water-powered, repairs or upgrades to these lines and areas often require work to be done outdoors, including near roadways. Pedestrian vehicles and even bucket trucks or other motorized equipment used by workers present struck-by hazards near roadways and anywhere on the work site. Utility workers still need arc rated, flame resistant protection, but often also need hi-vis clothing that can prevent roadway hazards and struck-by incidents.
ANSI 107-2015 makes it easy for workers to understand which colors and types of workwear provide the visibility that is deemed safe for each type of area of outdoor work in areas where roadway hazards are a concern. Utility workers that are still exposed to arc flash hazards need hi-vis FR clothing that can meet ANSI 107 class requirements to prevent potential roadway and struck-by hazards as well as continuing to provide flame resistant, arc rated protection.
HYDROLITE FR™ rainwear provides a comfortable level of hi-vis FR rainwear for utility workers to meet ANSI 107 class standards as well as waterproof, arc-rated outerwear.
Layering is just as important and easy when it comes to hi-vis FR clothing options. Depending on the type of year and weather condition, base layers that can keep you cool or warm are important. VIZABLE® FR is a line of FR hi-vis clothing that offers arc rated protection from t-shirts, work shirts and hi-vis FR hoodies for foul weather protection as well.
Utility workers are often called on for their most important work during less than ideal weather that contributes to the need for public utilities to be repaired in some way. Rain, storms, extreme heat and cold can cause issues to power lines, switches, gas lines, and other systems to be damaged or stop working correctly. Heat and cold stress can cause distractions to utility workers while performing important, already high-stress tasks. Naturally, utility workers need FR arc rated clothing options that can help keep them comfortable while making repairs.
Heat and cold stress can both reduce the quality, production and overall safety of utility workers on any job site.
One of our innovative of FR clothing options that can help is FR Control 2.0. The technology used in FR Control 2.0™ base layer clothing helps to regulate skin temperature +/- 3 degrees and wicks moisture away for more comfort.
Moisture buildup affects heat escaping, causing heat stress. That moisture can also increase the rate of heat loss from the body in cold weather, which increases cold stress. FR Control 2.0’s moisture wicking properties can help combat both heat and cold stress issues for utility workers.
FR Control 2.0 can be worn as a layer on its own in warm conditions with FR hi-vis options and can be used as a base layer in colder seasons and flame resistant headwear options are also convenient for maximum comfort, warmth, and protection.
Working on energized equipment and wires is a common task for utility workers, especially electrical utility workers. Determining the voltage of the equipment is important for workers before moving on to work on the task. It is important to note that the voltage rating and PPE category aren’t the same things, which is why the voltage rating has to be determined before the task can begin.
Voltage rated rubber gloves with leather protectors worn over them to prevent cuts and abrasions that could compromise the glove’s protection are the last line of defense against electric shock.
Electrical insulated gloves range in classes from 0-4, depending on the max voltage and what it has been tested to.