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Stay warm – but stay safe

Nov 2018 General | Comments Off on Stay warm – but stay safe
Stay warm – but stay safe
 

Cold weather poses hidden dangers to those at risk of an arc flash and you should pay as much attention to the layers you are adding under your outer PPE, says ProGARM

As the warmer months come to an end and the cooler months begin to draw in, it can be very tempting to start adding layers of clothes to keep warm while outdoors. However, many workers are unaware of the dangers that are posed to them by layering up with non arc-resistant clothing underneath their outer PPE.

While many people think that outer protective clothing is sufficient protection, in reality all garments need to be arc flash resistant otherwise the wearer is still at risk of injury. The material worn beneath an arc flash protective jacket is just as crucial to protecting from the event as outer clothing. While the outer garments are key components for providing protection, they are not enough to match the risk posed to an operative’s safety and effective base layers are needed to defend against the risk of an arc flash.

From the outside in

The flames caused by an arc flash may not actually come into contact with skin or indeed the clothing beneath the protective outer layers, but the extreme heat from the event can melt the materials used to manufacture everyday undergarments, including nylon, cotton, and polypropylene. This will inflict burns on an operative and potentially cause any day-to-day undergarments and layers to melt into the skin underneath their PPE.

In order to not compromise on safety, while also ensuring workers stay warm during the colder weather, workers should layer up with arc flash protective base layers, such as leggings, tops and even boxer briefs, beneath their outer garments.

As well as this, workers should be kitted out with arc flash resistant outerwear items including gloves and helmet hoods, allowing them to stay fully protected and also providing that extra layer of warmth, without compromising on comfort or the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

Mark Lant, technical sales manager at ProGARM, added: “During the colder months, it’s understandable that workers want to layer up beneath their jackets to help them keep warm during the day. However, it is important to raise the profile of this issue to ensure that employees are not unknowingly putting themselves at risk in the event of an arc flash occurrence. When it comes to lives being put at stake, it’s essential that nobody compromises on safety.”

ProGARM is dedicated to protecting lives through the manufacture and supply of arc flash and flame resistant safety clothing. The fabrics have been developed to be the most comfortable in the marketplace, while offering the levels of protection required.

The company suggests the following tips to help maximise protection among workforces against arc flash:

1. Prevention is better than the cure

As with all on-site health and safety matters, prevention is the most effective way to stay safe. To ensure the correct measures are taken, education is key. With this in mind, first and foremost any workforce that could be impacted by an arc flash incident should be trained on how to optimise safety on site – helping to reduce the chances of experiencing an arc flash from the offset.

2. Educating your workforce

If your workforce doesn’t properly understand the dangers posed to them by arc flash hazards because it hasn’t been explained in full, then they may not wear their PPE correctly – leaving them vulnerable to the injuries sustained by an arc flash. Training a workforce is essential to ensuring optimum safety levels on the ground.

3. Take your time

A reduction in time available for clearing fault conditions has been proven to have a dramatic impact on the energy released during an arc flash incident. This consequently affects the severity of damage and injury. When conducting this vital inspection, time must be taken to ensure that all steps have been taken to prevent a potential arc flash incident.

4. Awareness raising

Not all arc flash protective garments are manufactured equally. While many garments meet minimum standards, it’s important to ensure that the level of protection and quality of garment is sufficient to provide the protection the wearer needs.