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 May 2007
Tech News

New Protective Equipment Standard to Measure Electric Arc Exposure

A new ASTM International standard, F 2621, Practice for Determining Response Characteristics and Design Integrity of Arc Related Finished Products in an Electric Arc Exposure, is the latest in a series of standards developed by Subcommittee F18.65 on Wearing Apparel to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused by electric arcs. Practice F 2621 provides procedural guidelines for conducting arc testing on finished products intended for use as thermal protection by workers who may be exposed to electric arcs. Subcommittee F18.65 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee F18 on Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers.

Thomas Neal, president, Neal Associates Ltd., and F18 member, says that F 2621 was developed because of a need within the protective equipment industry to determine the qualitative arc exposure performance of full arc-resistant garments worn on a mannequin in a testing situation. “A standard was needed that would show how the garment closures, sewing thread, buttons and pant jacket overlap areas perform in an arc exposure in order to improve protective clothing design,” says Neal, who notes that flash demos were often being conducted without a standard and consistent way of conducting the exposures.

According to Neal, F 2621 will be used by both manufacturers and large end users of personal protective equipment, as well as by companies that have had arc flash accidents and want to recreate the exposure conditions for analysis. The standard will be used for the improvement of protective clothing design, for dealing with problems related to closures, labels and sewing thread in protective clothing, and for the assessment of overlap areas when more than one protective garment is worn.

Neal notes that other standards developed by Subcommittee F18.65 to protect electrical workers include F 1959/F 1959M, Test Method for Determining the Arc Rating of Materials for Clothing; F 1891, Specification for Arc and Flame Resistant Rainwear; and F 2178, Test Method for Determining the Arc Rating and Standard Specification for Face Protective Products.


Technical Information: Thomas Neal, Neal Associates Ltd., Guilford, Conn.
Phone: 203/458-2208

ASTM Staff: Jeffrey Adkins
Phone: 610/832-9738