Arc Flash protection: Not all Arc Flash clothing is created equal
It’s an unassailable fact that not all Flame Resistant and Arc Flash protective clothing is created equal in production and capabilities. When it comes to protecting your teams, you need to understand the differences in production values and design features that distinguish the best Arc Flash garments from the rest.
What to look for in your Arc Flash protection
1. 100% Inherent Fabrics
Flame Resistant and Arc Flash clothing should offer the ultimate Arc Flash protection, starting with the fabric itself and take in every aspect of the garment.
When a garment is 100% inherent fabric, it means the individual fibres are resistant to fire. Conversely, if the label on a garment suggests it has been produced with treated fibres, the Arc Flash protection can wash out over time.
In addition, chemically treated fabrics are often rigid and uncomfortable to wear. That leads to users washing them more frequently to increase comfort and therefore washing out the resistance more quickly.
When you purchase Arc Flash safety clothing for your teams, you need reassurance it will stand the test of time. This doesn’t simply apply to the durability of the fabric, but also the colourfastness, as there is no point wearing a hi-visibility garment if the colour has faded.
The best manufacturers of Arc Flash protection clothing put their garments through a rigorous testing procedure to ensure their durability. This includes tests to guarantee low shrinkage levels, minimal pilling, colourfastness and strength in the warp and weft.
Manufacturers are usually keen to highlight their testing procedures when they go above and beyond the recommended industry standards. If they don’t, ask why not.
3. Components are Key
Arc Flash safety doesn’t rest solely with the fabric, as every aspect of production must combine to create a garment that offers complete protection for the wearer.
External components such as zips, poppers and stretch tape can be vulnerabilities unless they come from reputable brands. These components should be fire resistant themselves, right down to the stitching in the seams of your Arc Flash clothing.
4. Know Your Symbols
One of the marks of a good manufacturer of Arc Flash protection clothing is their use of recognisable marks and symbols to inform the wearer of a garment’s capabilities.
Reputable manufacturers have nothing to hide. They will openly state which standards their Arc Flash garments conform to and may even provide at-a-glance evidence on the garment itself.
If you have to investigate what level of protection a garment offers and the information is difficult to locate, you may have chosen the wrong manufacturer.
Comfort is often overlooked in Arc Flash safety clothing, but if a garment is not comfortable to wear then it becomes another potential hazard. Discomfort in any area of the garment can lead to it being worn incorrectly, or not at all.
Manufacturers that ignore comfort considerations in favour of simply focusing on Arc Flash protection miss the point – a garment must be worn correctly in order to offer its fullest protection.
For more information on how ProGARM develops and manufactures exceptional quality Arc Flash protective clothing, call the knowledgeable team on 01482 679 600.Back