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Protection against electric arc

The electric arc is one of the common hazards in the work environment. Although many people are aware of its presence, we rarely realize what an electric arc actually is. Below you will find basic information about this risk and protection options against the effects of an electric arc.

What is an electric arc?

An electric arc (or “flashover”) is an electrical discharge of high intensity current. It travels through the air gap between the conductors, emitting very bright light and extremely high temperature (20,000 ° C). Most often it occurs during short circuits and failure of electrical equipment.

What are the dangers of an electric arc?

An electric arc can result in a fire or explosion. Dangerous may be also sound waves or a flash of ultraviolet light that can even damage your eyesight. The most common effects of an electric arc, however, are burns to the worker’s skin. Fortunately, this is also the effect that is the easiest to protect against. How? With the right clothing.
Protective clothing against an electric arc

Contrary to appearances, only a small percentage of workwear protects against the thermal effects of an electric arc. Such clothing should be designed to insulate the employee’s skin against the heat emitted by the arc and ensures that even in the event of failure of electrical devices, the employee will not be burned. Protective clothing against the thermal risk of an electric arc can be easily identified by the standard IEC 61482-1-1: 2009 or IEC 61482-1-2: 2007. If a fabric meets the requirements of one of these standards, it can be used for arc-hazardous work. Such garments must provide sufficient insulation to protect against fire, metal particles and very high temperatures resulting in second degree burns.

Which arc protection fabric to choose?

In the case of IEC 61482-1-1: 2009, the degree of protection against the thermal effects of an electric arc is expressed in inches per cm2. In contrast, in the case of IEC 61482-1-2: 2007, protection is expressed in classes. An example of a fabric tested for the firts standard is the Keon AP, and for the second is Storm fabric. Both fabrics ensure safety wherever there is a risk of thermal injuries caused by the creation of an electric arc or its effects. Thanks to them, even extremely high temperatures will not result in damage to the body or burns, and hot splashes will not harm the parts of the body protected by clothing.

Electric arc – a threat that you can counteract!