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No matter how much work is done on reducing the energy of an electric arc, it will probably always be a requirement to wear flame retardant / arc resistant work wear when working on high powered switchgear and apparatus.
It must be remembered though that this kind of PPE has limitations and although it allows people to survive devastating flash overs, it is likely that some injuries will still be suffered unless other forms of protection are also utilised.
The material testing standards specify the rating of arc resistant PPE to 'a 50% chance of receiving a second degree burn'.
It is also widely accepted that at PPE is unlikely to prevent death at arc energies above 40 cal/cm
².
Standard flame retardant PPE is not designed to withstand the pressure of an arc, so may tear open and fail to protect the wearer at higher arc energies. Never use it in place of arc resistant PPE.
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Copyright 2004 arcaware