What can we do about rain protection for arc flash work?
Arc flashes can happen in any space that has electrical equipment or cables. Since it's hard to think of many work environment that doesn't have any of these, arc flash presents a significant risk to quite a number of workers.
What Are Arc Flashes?
Arc flashes are caused by faults and short circuits. The flashes themselves produce heat that can exceed 30,000°F and they can reach that temperature within a second.
With that kind of heat and speed, not to mention the source of the flash, it's clear that workers exposed to arc flashes won't be safe from harm just because they're workign in the rain. Those who are exposed to arc flashes while working outdoors will need PPE that is both arc-resistant and provides them with protection against the weather.
Workers in electric utility operations, such as linesmen, are especially in need of this kind of PPE.
Protecting Workers from Rain and Arc Flashes
Rainwear with arc flash protection is made by taking arc-rated garments and either single- or double-dipping them with a waterproof substance.
When purchasing arc flash PPE, make sure to ask or look up what chemicals are used to give the garment its waterproof qualities. Not all chemicals are the same, and some may not hold up well to laundering or regular wear and tear.
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