ASTM F696 Adds Arc Test Requirements for Leather Protectors

ASTM F696-24 Standard Specification for Leather Protectors for Rubber Insulating Gloves published May 30, 2024 now contains arc testing requirements.

In 2012 ArcWear (now a division of Kinectrics arc test lab) researched ASTM F696 cuffs and cinches and found many were made of PVC coated polyester in violation of the OSHA 1910.269 apparel rule and NFPA 70E but since there was no requirements for the cuffs other than length and a constriction on design, the standard needed updating. I volunteered to lead this taskgroup upon my retirement and the ASTM committee passed the changed resoundingly last month after a hard fought battle with a small contingent still opposing worker arc flash protection for about 30 years.

The new standard acknowledges that some level of protection from arc flash is inherent in properly tanned leather. It however adds four important changes:

1) allowing for flame resistant thread, 2) requiring cuffs to be leather, arc rated materials meeting ASTM F1891 (rainwear specification) or to be arc tested to assure they do not melt, drip or ignite and continue to burn in a potential arc flash 4) allowing leather protectors to be labeled as arc rated as part of the specification. This will result in safer cuff materials and also allow materials like Kevlar for cut resistance. This has been allowed in the ASTM F3258 standard for some time but now both protector glove standards will safeguard workers better from arc flash.

Hugh Hoagland

Hugh is an expert in arc flash, flame and thermal testing and electrical safety. He has participated in over 200 incident investigations for arc flash, flash fire and electrical shock events since 1994. Hugh has been part of committees in NFPA, ASTM, IEC, ANSI, CSA, ISEA, and worked with various national committees on electrical safety.

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