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Standards for Electric Arc Protection

Applicable Standards For Protective Clothing Against Electric Arc Effect

There are two key sets of standards which companies can observe: ASTM and IEC.

  ASTM / NFPA IEC
Scope Countries with (or working towards) specific regional/national guidelines and legislation referring to NFPA and ASTM standards Countries with (or working towards) specific regional/national guidelines and legislation referring directly to IEC standards and/or regional/national standards based on IEC standards (e.g. EN standards)
Framework for the hazard assessment Hazard assessment and selection of electric arc PPE according to NFPA 70E (IEEE 1584 is included as an option for hazard calculation) IEEE 1584 is an option for hazard calculation
Requirements for protective performance of materials and garments, for garment design, marking and user information

ASTM 1506

+

eventual specific regional/national requirements

IEC 61482-2

+

eventual specific regional/national requirements

Methods of testing clothing produced for protection against electric arc hazards  Protective performance assessed by “open arc test” Protective performance assessed by “open arc test” and/or “box test”

Fabrics: ASTM F1959/F1959M

Garments: ASTM F2621

Commonly called the “open arc test”.

ASTM F1959/F1959M: to determine the arc rating of the clothing material, which will be equal either to the ATPV or EBT50, whichever is the lower value.

ASTM F2621: to assess the clothing integrity when exposed to an Incident Energy amount equal to the arc rating of the clothing material.

IEC 61482-1-1 (identical to EU regional standard EN 61482-1-1)

Commonly called the “open arc test”.

Method A: to determine the arc rating of the clothing material, which will be equal either to the ELIM, ATPV or EBT50, whichever is the lower value.

Method B: to assess the clothing integrity when exposed to an Incident Energy amount equal to the arc rating of the clothing material.

See Note 1 below table

IEC 61482-1-2 (identical to EU regional standard EN 61482-1-2): Test method for fabrics and garments.

Commonly called the “box test”.

Aimed at simulating two levels of a specific exposure scenario.

Arc Protection (or Box Test) Class 1: attributed to clothing material and clothing, if both pass the performance criteria at the lower level of simulated arc exposure.

Arc Protection (or Box Test) Class 2: attributed to clothing material and clothing, if both pass the performance criteria at the higher level of arc exposure.

See Note 2 below table

See Note 3 below table

How to identify Arc Protective Clothing Clothing which complies with ASTM F 1506 can be identified by the attributed cal/cm2 arc rating value (ATPV or EBT – whichever is lower) on the garment label. Clothing which complies with IEC 61482-2 can be identified by the pictogram below (found on the garment label), by the attributed cal/cm2 arc rating value (ELIM, ATPV or EBT50 – whichever is lower), and/or by the arc protection (“box test”) class.

IEC 61482-2

 or 

  • ATPV and/or EBT50 (cal/cm2) and/or
  • Box Test Class 1 or 2

 

Note 1: The open arc method with the ATPV/EBT50 allows selection of garments that should meet the level of protection determined by the risk assessment. This is not the case for the box test methods below.

Note 2: A common error sometimes made is to say that a Class 1 + Class 1 fabric or garment is a Class 2 fabric or garment. A Class 1 + Class 2 ≠ Class 3

Note 3: Materials or clothing of the same arc protection class do not always offer the same level of arc thermal protection. Two different materials may be Arc Protection Class 2, but one may have a higher arc rating (ATPV or EBT50). The box test method does not allow full differentiation between the arc thermal protective performance of different materials or clothing.

Note 4: For most materials and clothing, the ATPV and EBT values determined by ASTM F1959/F1959M and the ATPV and EBT50 values determined by IEC 61482-1-1 can be considered as identical within the uncertainty inherent in the test method.

For some multilayer materials or multi-garment assemblies, or when the number of wash cycles prior to testing have a major influence on arc rating values, there may be differences between values obtained by ASTM F1959/F1959M and IEC 61482-1-1.

The uncertainty inherent in the test method is on average about 10%. So, for the practical purpose of selecting protective clothing, all materials and garments with arc rating values within 10% of each other can be considered as providing roughly equivalent electric arc protection.

For Europe, protective clothing is governed under either the EU PPE Directive (Directive 89/686) or the PPE Regulation (Regulation 2015/425).

To place on the market, arc protective clothing must have the CE marking (see fig 1) and reference a standard (in most cases) and meet the essential health and safety requirements of the EU PPE legislation.

Fig.1) 

Find out more about standards relevant for Electric Arc Protective Clothing

Find out more about IEC standards

Find out more about North American standards

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