Arc flash suits are personal protective equipment (PPE) designed to protect individuals working with and near live electrical equipment from dangerous arc flashes.
Working in areas that have electrical circuits can pose a threat to the safety of employees. Sometimes workers need to deal with sophisticated electrical equipment that exposes them to arc flashes or electrical shocks.
If you’re looking to buy an arc flash suit check out our helpful Arc Flash Suit Buying Guide.
What is an Arc Flash?
An arc flash is a type of electrical explosion that is caused by poor connection shielding along with malfunctioning caused by human error or a lack of maintenance. This results in a dangerous electrical charge moving through the air between voltage connections or to the ground.
Arc flashes are highly dangerous electrical events that can cause serious physical harm or even death.
When an arc flash occurs there is an extremely rapid rise in pressure and temperature in the surrounding area. Temperatures can soar up to 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is close to 4 times the surface temperature of the sun.
Arc flashes can completely melt and destroy electrical equipment. Flying objects, molten copper and debris resulting from an arc flash can cause skin lacerations and shock to nearby individuals.
What is an Arc Flash Suit?
Arc flash suits are full-body protective clothing required for electrical workers to protect them from the heat and energy released during an arc flash. They include the following arc-rated components:
- Long sleeve shirt
- Face shield with wrap guarding
- Flash suit hood
- Hard hat liner
- Rain gear
- Leather boots
- Heavy-duty leather gloves with rubber insulation
- Safety glasses or goggles
- Hearing protection
- Hood Ventilation System (optional)
Arc suits are specially designed to meet the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) PPE categories regarding arc flash incident energies.
For more information, read our post Arc Flash Suit Ratings here.
Arc Flash Suit Materials
Several different types of materials go into making an arc flash suit capable of withstanding the high energy levels of arc flashes. Some of these include:
- Special knitted fabrics
Each manufacturer may include their own proprietary materials to the arc flash suit that meet the NFPA guidelines.
For more information, read our post How Does An Arc Flash Suit Work here.
Arc flashes are highly dangerous phenomena that can occur while working with electrical equipment. To stay protected, electrical workers need to wear the proper PPE safety gear. Arc flash suits are designed for this purpose and can prevent serious injury and even death during an arc flash event.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.