Why we’re committed to arc flash protection that fits every body 

Why we’re committed to arc flash protection that fits every body 

The phrase “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” is especially true for businesses exposed to arc flash risks. For example, if you work in construction, utilities, or power generation, you hope an arc flash will never affect your employees.  

However, while arc flash events are rare, the impact can be devastating and potentially deadly for workers not fully prepared by wearing the correct personal protective equipment (PPE). 

‘Correct’ PPE doesn’t just equate to materials and technology. It also relates to fit. And more specifically, to comfort. Imagine the scenario: You have a long, cold day on the job ahead of you, so you add a polyester base layer for extra warmth. As you start to warm up, you undo your top button, which feels restrictive, and roll up your sleeves, which are slightly too long and getting in your way.  

While these actions seem like common sense, each increases the risk of injury when exposed to an arc flash. Comfortable, well-fitting PPE is not just a ‘nice to have’. It’s essential to arc flash preparedness and protection.  

Comfortable PPE for every body 

Can off-the-peg arc flash PPE and comfort really go hand in hand? Yes, it can. Rather than designing protective clothing for a limited range of typical fits, today’s experts should take responsibility for designing PPE ranges with sizes and fits for everybody, yet surprisingly, not all manufacturers do. At ProGARM,  we offer an extreme breadth of sizes and fits for men and women, and on larger contracts, we can ensure the best fit for each team member by sending out an expert to measure them personally.  

Why is a good fit so important? 

If arc flash garments are ill-fitting, they’re uncomfortable. They rub, chaff and snag, becoming a source of irritation. That can be distracting, resulting in workers losing focus when they need to maintain it. Human error causes the highest percentage of arc flash incidents, and distractions are the last thing your team needs. If their PPE fits well, it will be more effective because they’ll be less tempted to adjust or remove it. Well-fitting PPE should be so comfortable it’s unnoticeable to the wearer. 

Comfortable PPE is well worth investing in. As an employer, you could be found at fault for an employee injury caused by incorrect PPE or the wearer using PPE incorrectly. Commercial repercussions, like heavy fines and prison sentences, are easily avoided risks with better PPE comfort. 

Breathable PPE for every body 

So, a good fit equals better comfort. But even when wearing the best-fitting PPE, workers can get hot and sweaty, depending on their role and the weather. Breathability is another crucial factor when planning for safety. If sweat isn’t wicked away from the skin and released through the PPE layers then, during an arc flash incident, it can turn to steam, resulting in steam burns. 

Steam burns are not 100% preventable. The extreme energy produced by an arc flash can generate them, even when wearing the correct PPE. But knowing their PPE reduces the chance of painful steam burns gives wearers confidence in their kit. Better confidence levels reduce the likelihood of kit being worn incorrectly or not at all, stopping complacency from being a killer. 

Warm PPE for every body 

On the other end of the comfort spectrum, workers often get cold when working outdoors, so a base layer may be required to maintain a comfortable temperature in cold weather. Opting for a polyester base layer, such as a football shirt, puts employees at risk. Non-arc-flash-rated materials can melt onto the skin under the extreme heat of an arc flash. When layering garments for warmth, they should all be arc-flash-rated to ensure optimal performance. If your arc flash PPE is also breathable, it helps to regulate your workers’ temperature whatever the weather. 

Wearable PPE for every body 

The attention to detail of specialist PPE designers like ours makes wearing the best arc flash-rated PPE an easy, everyday comfort. We overthink it so wearers don’t have to. At ProGARM, our in-house design team focuses on a fit-for-purpose kit that fits everybody––men and women, all body shapes and sizes. Our ergonomically designed garments are light and functional, allowing wearers to do their jobs without restriction.  

In regular wearer trials, participants agree that ProGARM garments come out top for comfort in most cases. When comfort = safety, why choose anything else?   

Speak to one of our experts today to find out more.