IEC 61482-1-1:2019 – does your Arc Flash protection meet the new testing standard?

IEC 61482-1-1:2019 – does your Arc Flash protection meet the new testing standard?

A new test standard for arc flash protection – IEC 61482-1-1:2019 – was introduced in May 2019, which means arc flash protective garments certified after May 2019 have to be tested under these new, more stringent conditions under the PPE regulation. This is a result of the updates to the Arc Flash standard for garments, IEC 61482-2:2018, which was released in 2018.

The new test results in a new way of rating arc flash clothing, ELIM (Energy Incident Limit), which will be used as a further arc rating performance property value and as a more stringent performance indicator of both fabric and garments.

For arc flash, how are ELIM and ATPV different?

ELIM is the new cal/cm2 measurement and it’s the point at which there is 0% second-degree burn probability at that incident energy level. ATPV measures the incident energy level at which there’s a 50% probability of second-degree burns.

It’s critical to understand the differences between ELIM and APTV so that your risk assessment can specify the right protection for your people. Only under the new Open Arc Test (IEC 61482-1-1:2019) can the ELIM value be derived. Arc flash garments can be tested by two methods – Open Arc or Box Test. You can read about the detail of the Arc Flash tests in our guide here.

Open Arc Test Method (IEC 61482-1-1)

The Open Arc Test Method determines the Arc Thermal Protection Value (ATPV), Energy Incident Limit (ELIM) and EBT50 (Energy Breakopen Threshold) of the garment, based on the Stoll Curve.

The ATPV is the maximum thermal energy any Arc Flash protective clothing can withstand until the wearer would have a 50% probability of getting second-degree burns. The ELIM value is the maximum thermal energy at which there will be a 0% probability of the wearer receiving second-degree burns. And the EBT50 value is the incident energy level at which there’s a 50% probability that a protective garment would break open.

Box Test Method (IEC 61482-1-2)

This method of testing uses electrodes arranged in a box in a specified way to produce the electrical arc. Unlike the Open Arc Test Method, The Box Test Method does not produce an arc rating, and instead determines the Class Rating of the garment, with an APC (Arc Protection Class) 1 or an APC 2 result if the garment passes the test.

Free Guide: IEC 61482:2018 explained. Featuring the new IEC 61482-1-1:2019 testing standard.

What action do you need to take because of the new IEC 61482-1-1:2019 standard?

All risk assessments should be reviewed to decide whether the cal rating they specify should be an ELIM or ATPV rating, as the two could be quite different. It would be easy for your team to be confused and end up wearing a lower level of protection than they need.

It’s also important to note that products could have a lower ELIM rating compared with ATPV ratings, which means to achieve 8cal ELIM protection (as opposed to APTV), wearers may be required to wear Arc Flash base layers underneath their outer PPE, to increase the layers of Arc Flash protection, or wear a heavier garment to provide the ELIM value they require.

For more on the key factors to consider when protecting your team from the dangers of arc flash, take a look at our top considerations guide here.

What are ProGARM doing in response to IEC 61482-1-1?

All of our new garments tested after May 2019 will be tested using the new methods and we’re starting a programme of retesting our existing products to meet the new standard too. This means you will start to see labels and datasheets with both ELIM and APTV values on throughout 2020.

If you want advice about Arc Flash products and meeting the new IEC 61482-1-1 testing standard, give one of our sector experts a call on 01482 679600 today.