It goes without saying that protecting your workforce is a critical part of any job that includes dangerous risks. CHARNAUD understands this, working towards workplace safety since 1975.

What is an Arc Flash?

Arc flashes are a dangerous hazard that comes as part of the job when working with electrical systems. If you aren’t familiar with the term, an arc flash refers specifically to systems that allow movement of unwanted electrical discharge to go from one voltage phase to another (or to the ground) through the air. When this happens, the temperature and pressure of the air between the electrical conductors rapidly rise, which causes an explosion known as an arc flash. You can see more information on arc flashes on our blog.

Understanding The Ratings of the PPE

The arc rating of a fabric is dependent on 1 of 2 outcomes achieved on testing. Generally, there are 2 types of outcomes that will be observed during the testing phase which will result in either an ATPV or EBT rating for the fabric. Which of these ratings will be achieved is entirely dependent on both the testing conditions, and the fabric’s protection and construction properties.

ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value) is the incident energy on a material that results in a 50% probability that sufficient heat transfer through the specimen is predicted to cause the onset of second-degree burn injury based on the Stoll Curve, expressed in cal/cm². Energy Breakopen Threshold (EBT) is the incident energy on a material that results in a 50% probability of breakopen. Breakopen is defined as any open area of at least 1.6 cm² (0.5 in.²)

Read Next: Understanding the Potential Risks of Arc-Flash Incidents

How Arc Flash PPE Ratings are Tested

The arc testing conditions are governed by ASTM F 1959/F 1959 M and are set up to mimic an arc flash event. The ratings achieved by a fabric are dependent on a host of factors and conditions during the testing phase, and different fabrics will achieve different results during testing. For example, knitted fabrics have greater insulative properties than woven fabrics but woven fabrics are stronger than knitted fabrics, so the consequence of this is that knitted fabrics usually achieve an EBT rating while woven fabrics commonly achieve an ATPV rating. This illustrates that one rating is not necessarily better than the other. What is most important during testing is to establish what the fabric’s protection properties are. These protection properties are expressed as a calorie rating (energy) and displayed as cal/cm². This rating is extremely crucial when it comes to arc flash PPE, because this information enables the user to know that the garment that they are wearing is suited to protect against the hazard.

CHARNAUD Has Created Arc Flash-Specific PPE

SURVIVE-ARC® offers a range of garments from head to foot which are both ATPV and EBT rated. When a garment is given an ATPV or EBT rating, this should be displayed on the garment along with the calorie rating, so that the end-user dresses to the numbers. The ATPV calorie rating is prominently displayed and clearly visible on all SURVIVE-ARC® garments, in an easy-to-read format which is in line with the industry standards.

Contact CHARNAUD Today With Your Arc Flash PPE Needs

CHARNAUD brings you head-to-foot protective wear for your workforce and we are happy to give advice on what will work specifically for your business. Contact us today to ensure your workforce is the safest they can be.

Now Read: How to Care for and Clean Your PPE