Arc Ratings of Hand Protective Products

Since 2009, the National Fire Protection Association has required arc rated gloves in its NFPA70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. A new ASTM standard will now provide arc rating thermal protective values for gloves, which will allow more gloves to be used inside an arc flash zone when there is no shock hazard.

The new standard, F2675/F2675M, Test Method for Determining Arc Ratings of Hand Protective Products Developed and Used for Electrical Arc Flash Protection, was developed by Subcommittee F18.65 on Wearing Apparel, part of ASTM International Committee F18 on Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers.

F2675 will be used to determine the arc rating of hand protective products in the form of gloves, glove material, glove material systems or other protective products designed to fit on the hand and specifically intended for electric arch flash protection.

"The electrical industry wanted to have the same type of rating on their gloves as they had for clothing and face shields since the hands are generally closer to the hazard than any other part of the body," says Hugh Hoagland, senior consultant, ArcWear, and a member of F18.

With F2675, companies can choose a cut resistant or a chemical resistant glove for one hazard. The same glove could be worn when operating an electrical box if the glove is also arc rated.

"The most common use of the new types of arc rated gloves will be for primary operators rather than electricians," says Hoagland. "Electricians will benefit from research using this standard that could offer options other than leather for protector gloves required to be worn over the rubber insulating gloves."

F2675 will be primarily used by those in heavy manufacturing, petrochemical and the electric utility industries to protect the hands of workers exposed to potential electrical arc hazards. Many of the products rated by the standard will have applications for flash fire, cut and chemical applications when rated with other standards.

Hoagland notes that F18 welcomes all interested parties to join in its standards developing activities. The committee would particularly like to see participation from glove companies that are seeking to break into the market with innovative products for protector gloves and multithreat arc rated gloves with new and unique properties.

An upcoming project for F18 will be developing a standard for non-leather protector gloves to protect rubber insulating gloves from cut, puncture and arc flash. "Leather has worked well for almost a century, but this is an area of real potential improvement in worker dexterity, grip, comfort and better ergonomics," says Hoagland. "A standard will be one step in this ongoing development."

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CONTACT Technical Information: Hugh Hoagland, ArcWear • Louisville, Ky. • Phone: 502-333-0510 | ASTM Staff: Kevin Shanahan • Phone: 610-832-9737 | Upcoming Meeting: April 6-9, 2014 • Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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