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NFPA® 70E is a national consensus standard that establishes "best practices" for protection from electric arc flash hazards. The information on this page is meant as an information guide only, and not a guarantee for compliance.

Employers must conduct shock hazard analysis to establish a flash protection boundary. Employers must select the proper flame resistant clothng and personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be worn based on the incident enery associated with the specific task as determined by:

  • Flash hazard analysis
  • Review of the requirements for the task from the PPE Matrix in the standard; OR
  • Using the simplified approach to select appropriate apparel based on whether the task requires "everyday workwear" or "electrical switching clothing"

Three Steps to Compliance with NFPA® 70E:

  1. Conduct an arc flash and shock hazard analysis to determine Incident Energy Potential within the flash protection boundary.
  2. Determine PPE required based on incident energy associated with the specific task.
  3. Select PPE matching the hazard to the arc rathing of the garments. Garments are rated based on their ability to protect against electric arcs. This arc rating is expressed in cal/cm2.

The standard requires that garments have a minimum arc flash rating, which may be either required for specific tasks including double-layer FR, flash hoods, FR hard hat liners, safety glasses or safety goggles, face shields, hard hat, hearing protection, leather gloves, voltage-rated gloves and voltage rated tools.

The NFPA has indentified four FR hazardous risk categories levels, which are numbered by severity from 1 to 4. Hazard Risk Category is the level of arc flash protection clothing you must wear to protect against a minimum level of incident energy measured in cal/cm2.

Employers are required to conduct a hazard analysis to determine the "flash protection boundary." Inside the flash protection boundary, exposure to an electric arc is predicted to cause a second-degree burn injury and PPE is required. Required FR clothing and other PPE is based on the specific hazard present.

The severity of the arc hazard is defined as incident energy in (cal/cm²). It may be deteremined by three methods:

  1. Method A - estimates the incident energy based on knowledge of the electrical systems and work practices
  2. Method B - estimates the incident energy by determining hazard risk category from tables of common work tasks
  3. Method C - lays out a simplified two-category FR clothing system that provides two PPE clothing categories, "everyday work clothing" and "electrical switching" clothing.

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