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Is flame-resistant clothing the same as Arc rated clothing?

Is flame-resistant clothing the same as Arc rated clothing?

In a heavily regulated world where garments have to be tested to incredibly high standards, people specifying PPE would be forgiven for relying only on the test results when making their decision. 

But those results are just one part of a large jigsaw of information you need when making a purchasing decision. How your team feels about wearing the kit should also be part of the puzzle. But how important are wearer trials for Arc Flash PPE? 

Meeting minimum Arc Flash PPE standards

To do its job properly – and potentially save a life – Arc Flash PPE has to meet the standards set out in IEC 61482, the international standard for Arc Flash and flash fire hazard protection.

All our garments will have been tested using either open arc or box tests, and will have been given a Cal Rating, which can be cross-referenced with the Arc Flash Study and risk assessment for the task it’s needed for. 

But tests don’t tell the full story. Of course you need to ensure your PPE meets the criteria you need it to, but if you’re looking at kit from three different suppliers which can all meet the standards you’re looking for, how will you make a final decision? Wearer trials are a great way to inform that choice. 

What is a wearer trial?

A wearer trial gives people in the field the chance to try out the PPE and garments that you’re considering purchasing while actually doing the job. It means they can experience what it’s like to wear the jackets, trousers, polo shirts and other garments while performing the tasks they are expected to. 

When trialling garments ask for feedback about comfort, fit, whether the wearer can move, bend and stretch the way they need to for the tasks they do. Ask whether there are enough pockets, and are they in the right places? All of these factors are important as the kit needs to not only protect from hazards but enable the wearer to get on and do their job.

Why are wearer trials important and how do they make your team safer?

PPE needs to enable people to do their job, while giving them protection from hazards. But it is only as good as their willingness to wear it properly. 

For any Arc Flash protection garment to do its job effectively it must be worn properly buttoned or zipped up so that parts of the skin aren’t exposed to a potential Arc Flash blast, which could lead to a whole host of injuries. That’s why we take great care in the cut and fit of all our garments and include what might seem like small details to make our garments very comfortable. One example would be on our jackets where we have added a soft comfort strip at the top of every zip so it doesn’t rub the chin or neck. 

Another would be knowing that a lot of the tasks our wearers have to undertake involve kneeling down, so we’ve created pockets for knee pads in our trousers and coveralls. 

And while the majority of our end users are men, we also have a women’s range which isn’t just a shrunk down version of the men’s garments. We’ve carefully created new patterns so that our kit for women fits properly. 

So, while your new Arc Flash PPE has to meet the criteria set out in your risk assessments, this isn’t the only information you should rely on when choosing new kit – wearer trials are a crucial piece of the puzzle too.

If you want to speak to one of our sector experts about our Arc Flash and fire-resistant PPE, including how important user acceptance testing for Arc Flash PPE is, give us a call on 44 (0) 1482 679600 or email info@progarm.com


Make sure that you’re specifying the right PPE for your team.

Read our free guide on the top considerations when choosing Arc Flash clothing & PPE below and make the best choice for you and your team via the link below ⬇.

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