What is the Importance of Arc Flash Testing

Arc flash testing provides the information necessary to protect workers in the case of an arc flash event. Knowing the response of fabric in an arc flash event can be the difference between minimal and critical, even fatal injury.

Below is an example of two similar garments under arc flash testing conditions. These two rainwear jackets may look the same, but one is arc flash and fire resistant and the other is only fire resistant. The test results of these two jackets in arc flash conditions provide information vital to safety in an arc flash event.

Before an Arc Flash Test

Above are two rain jackets placed on mannequins before arc flash testing. Both garments provide dry protection, however, only one of them would withstand an electrical arc flash event.

After an Arc Flash Test

The jacket on the left melted during arc flash testing, it is not flame resistant by any clothing standard. If a worker had been wearing it, they would have sustained severe burns. Much of that jacket would be melted onto the workers face. The jacket on the right was burned but did not melt because it is an arc rated, flame resistant product. Which one would you want to be wearing in the event of an electrical arc? Rainwear tested according to ASTM F1891 using the ASTM F1959 arc test will not melt and drip in an arc flash and provides from 5-20 cal/cm2 of protection to the worker in a single layer. Arc rated rainwear is one of the best garments to protect a worker in arc flash events. Some companies even use it as a switching jacket over their AR daily wear.

Arc Flash Testing Matters

Arc flash testing (getting an arc rating) is an important tool used to evaluate the response of fabric to an arc flash event and facilitate electrical safety. Knowing the response of a material can minimize burn injury, or even death, in the unlikely event of an arc. Data from arc flash testing arms customers with the information necessary to provide safe clothing for workers that may have exposure. Knowing the arc rating of any material you purchase assures you can comply with NFPA 70E, CSA Z462, AU NEMS-09, OSHA 1910.269, and other applicable OSHA regulations.

ArcWear provides arc flash testing, arc ratings, full specification testing, and third party certification to ASTM F1506, and IEC 61482-2 with our partners Kinectrics, BTTG, and SEI. Third party testing and certification assists companies in meeting the requirements of OSHA and NFPA 70E.

Why Should I ask for an ArcWear Report?

  • We provide the most timely and highest quality results in the electrical industry
  • ArcWear has the most qualified team in the industry
  • Customers receive full ASTM F1506 test results issued in one report
  • ArcWear provides credible test reports trusted by end users
  • We offer the most competitive prices in the industry for ISO 17025 accredited testing
  • ArcWear works with BTTG, SEI, and Kinectrics to offer FlashCert services for global third-party testing and certification to NFPA 2112, NFPA 70E, IEC 61482-2, and other workwear standards.

Testing

ArcWear is the only experienced, independent accredited lab with a scope encompassing the ASTM F1506 and NFPA 2112 specifications. ArcWear has set the standard for over 20 years with our experience in arc flash testing and incident investigations. We were the first independent company to arc test directly and to include the textile testing in one report. This experience allows us to service you with results for the full ASTM F1506 specification and IEC 61482-2 for the EU.

FlashCert

ArcWear has partnered with BTTG, SEI, and Kinectrics to offer premier thermal testing and certification with fast, accurate results and over twenty years of product development experience. Our FlashCert services cover flame resistant clothing specifications in the US and Europe.

Standardization Experence

The ArcWear testing team has sat on committees for ASTM F18 and IEC TC78 from the beginning, and continues to participate on the standards development committees for ASTM F18- Electrical, ASTM D13-Textiles, ASTM F23-Personal Protective Equipment, NFPA 2112 and IEC TC78. We have consulted for Brazil, South Africa, China, New Zealand, and Australia on their arc flash standards.

Staying active in standard development means that ArcWear assists in the creation and revision of testing standards which keeps us technically up to date. Since we are constantly communicating with manufacturers, suppliers, and end users, participation on standards committees allows us to have a platform for voicing industry and testing concerns to enable problem solving and contribute to the progress of the industry in a positive way.

ArcWear performs arc testing exclusively at the Kinectrics High Current Lab providing the most reliable and fastest turn around in the industry. We have a week carved out of every month dedicated to arc testing, ensuring that our clients get results as quickly and efficiently as possible. ArcWear has served as the premier testing company on almost 95% of the world's arc testing.

Further, we are not "just a test house". We do not perform any test a client wants. We use our expertise and technical knowledge to help you determine the testing you need in an effort to save you time and money, but to assure that you do not produce a non-compliant test. Some labs will perform NFPA 701 and other flame tests not designed for clothing; we will not issue a report with these improperly used standards. You can trust ArcWear; the team wants to help you to understand the industry requirements and to get compliant, useful products into the market. We also provide quick verification to end users about our reports; we work with end users to assure the results they receive are from a legitimate source. Upon request, ArcWear even provides verification services using standard testing to assure the end product is the same as the original tested. We will work with manufacturers to understand your testing and your results. We didn't get into this testing because it was lucrative. For ArcWear, testing and your safety is a calling we take very seriously.

Research and Development

The scientists on our team have consulted and collaborated with manufacturers to create many of the inventions which protect from arc flash, including the arc flash shield, goggles, face shields, rainwear, racking shields, specialized vented shirts, flame resistant inks, arc tested ear protection, safety glasses, cold weather battings, amongst many other products. However, ArcWear takes no financial interest in these innovations. The experts at ArcWear regularly contribute to journals on arc flash and flame resistant textiles. When Dr. F. Selcen Kilinc, senior researcher at the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was looking for an expert on arc flash to write for the Handbook of Fire Resistant Textiles, she chose ArcWear president Hugh Hoagland to author the chapter.

Accident Investigatoins

ArcWear experts have direct experience with over 150 accident investigations, making us your lowest-risk supplier of arc flash testing.

ArcWear Reports

For the past twenty years, we have been building relationships, performing testing, and consulting with clients while aiding in the development and knowledge of arc flash phenomena and testing. As a result, end users trust and confide in us to confirm the legitimacy of their arc testing reports.

Contaact ArcWear

If you have any questions regarding arc flash testing we'll be happy to assist you with the answers. Our customer service team has an unparalleled reputation in the industry and we look forward to working with you.