Utilities FR Clothing
When our work becomes routine or if we are in a high mode of concentration, we can sometimes become less mindful of our safety. Being aware of arc flash hazards is a possibility that utility workers have to be prepared for every day. Whether you are repairing lines, pipefitting, installing towers or fixing any mechanical equipment the best precaution you can take is to wear the proper arc rated FR clothing and other tasked based PPE.
Few industries work around as much energized equipment and exposure to arc flash hazards 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 to keep an arc flash incident from being fatal.
(moved up) Utility workers can be on the job for long hours, especially in storms and other bad weather, so comfort is essential. 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.
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.
In addition to being compliant with these standards, personal protective equipment for utility workers exposed to the potential risk of arc flash should also be comfortable and is considered a must-have in the industry. TECGEN FR delivers when it comes to compliance and comfort.
TECGEN® FR is an easy solution for utility workers to find arc-rated FR clothing that combines 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. Combining 2 or more arc-rated garments into a layered system is easy with help from NSA’s Layering Guide.
Roadway and Struck-By Incidents
Working on power lines, switches, energized equipment, or any other powered equipment used to keep utilities working presents more than just arc flash hazards at any given time. Whether its 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, bucket trucks, or other motorized equipment used by workers can be subject to struck-by hazards near roadways and anywhere on the worksite. For increased protection in these situations, utility workers should incorporate hi-vis clothing in addition to arc-rated, flame-resistant protection.
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 time of year and weather conditions, 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 hoodies.
Rain, storms, extreme heat, and cold can cause power lines, switches, gas lines, and other systems to be damaged or stop working correctly. It is often during these worst weather conditions that utility workers are called upon to perform their most important work. Heat and cold stress can cause distractions to utility workers while performing these important, already high-stress tasks. Naturally, utility workers need comfortable FR arc-rated clothing options that will help minimize uncomfortable distractions so they can maintain focus on the task at hand.
Heat and cold stress can both reduce the quality, production, and overall safety of utility workers on any job site.
Among the most 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 on its own in warm conditions with FR hi-vis options and can be used as a base layer in colder seasons. 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. Workers must determine the voltage of the equipment before moving on forward to complete the task. It is important to note that the voltage rating and PPE category aren’t equivalent, which is why the voltage rating has to be determined before the task can begin.
Wearing voltage rated rubber gloves underneath leather protectors prevent cuts and abrasions that could compromise the glove’s protection and is a safeguard against electric shock.
Electrical insulated gloves range in classes from 0-4, depending on the max voltage and what it has been tested to.
National Safety Apparel makes it easy to stay compliant and safe with arc-rated FR clothing brands that are manufactured using comfortable materials - materials you’ll want to put on - to encourage utility workers to wear electrical safety PPE all day long without worry or discomfort. Contact National Safety Apparel’s customer service team for more product information or find out how to buy electrical and utilities PPE.