Arc Flash Personal Protective Equipment

Arc flash PPE is PPE for electrical work, where there is risk for the worker being exposed to the effects of an electrical arc, for example when carrying out live work on electrical switchgear.


Once all possible practical measures are in place to mitigate hazards, any residual risk at the workplace should be mapped. The risk level can be assessed by considering:

  • potential power of the arc flash
  • duration of work being undertaken
  • distance between worker and arc flash
  • frequency of work

Residual risk can then be mitigated by using the optimum combination of Arc Flash PPE for:

  • Body
  • Hands
  • Head
  • Eyes
  • Face

Optimum Arc Flash Personal Protection Equipment

All Arc Flash PPE should be compliant with local legislation in addition to relevant international or national standards. A comprehensive range of arc flash PPE is available to protect workers from head to toe to avoid injury at all costs:

  • Protection for the body:

Arc flash protective clothing (sometimes referred to as “arc protective clothing”, “arc flash clothing”, “arc clothing” or “flash clothing”) can be layered to provide additional mechanical, thermal and chemical protection. Lightweight comfortable layering can offer a relevant level of protection whilst ensuring the worker’s movements are not restricted.

Single and multi-layer systems can include several items of clothing including:

    • shirts, polo shirts, sweatshirts
    • jackets
    • trousers
    • coveralls
    • multi-layer jackets and trousers
    • high-visibility / foul weather gear
    • multi-layer suits for short duration wear when dealing with high-level Incident Energy risks
    • underwear (non-melting), to provide additional heat protection

Each item of garment system (e.g. jacket with a shirt ) must be flame-resistant; whilst it is not necessary that every item has an arc-rating, the garment system as a whole has to have an arc rating. The garment system must also carry a marking showing the value of its arc rating, i.e. the value of its arc flash protection performance.

Note: The terms “arc resistant clothing” or “arc proof clothing” sometimes used are somewhat misleading, as all arc flash protective clothing will be damaged by a strong enough electric arc, and would in any case be discarded once exposed to an electric arc.

  • Protection for the hands:

Arc flash gloves or glove systems are certified for protection against the heat of an electric arc. Usually, for live working tasks, one combines them with insulating gloves to provide additional protection against electric shock in case of accidental contact with energized conductors.; in this instance, arc flash gloves should also be insulated or combined with insulating gloves to an arc flash glove system.

  • Protection for the eyes, face & head:

Arc flash protection for the eyes, face and head will prevent skin burns caused by the heat of an electric arc. Arc flash eye glasses, an arc flash visor and/or an arc face shield can also protect eyes against bright light and UV and IR radiation, whilst still permitting good, non-distorted vision and good colour recognition.

Find out more about residual risk and optimum PPE solutions.

Download 4P Methodology

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