Protective clothing against the thermal hazards of an electric arc

IEC 61482-2 / EN 61482-2 iconIEC 61482-2 / EN 61482-2

Despite all cautions, a large number of electric arc accident occur every year. IEC 61482-2 specifies requirements for clothing protecting against the thermal hazards of an electric arc. These clothes belong to the Risk III category, which defines garments used in high-risk environments, and are certified to eliminate second-degree burns in the event of an electric arc flash (flashover).

Electric arc protection is all about protection against energy, measured in calories (cal/cm2). In order to measure the product’s level of protection, the garment is subject to two different test methods: Open arc test and Box test. The test methods use different test set-ups, arc configurations, test parameters, test procedures and result parameters. The test methods’ results can be neither physically compared nor mathematically transformed into each other. The arc rating has to be tested and assessed either to the one or to the other method.

For the Open arc method, the test results are specified as ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value) or EBT50 (Energy Break-open Threshold; when holes begin to form in the fabric). Neither value is better than the other. Basically, garments/fabrics that get an EBT50 value are typically more insulating than they are strong and ATPV garments/fabrics are usually stronger than they are insulating. In a box test, the object is subjected with a directed arc flash of either 4kA (class 1) or 7kA (class 2)

ELIM – (Incident Energy Limit) ELIM is a new value that complements the ATBV- and EBT50- value for Open Arc Testing. ELIM eliminate the risk of a second-degree burn. Whereas the ATPV or EBT50 value gives an indication of what energy level you run a 50% risk of getting a second degree burn at, the incident energy limit (ELIM) defines the energy level at which you avoid the risk of a second-degree burn. Remember, however, that there is still a risk of getting a first-degree burn injury.

NOTE! All garments worn must protect against electric arc! Including underwear, socks, gloves, underpants and t-shirts or shirts worn underneath the outer layer. And remember that the more layers of electric-arc-protective clothing you wear, the higher your protection.