Personal Protection Equipment Descriptions

NFPA 70E 2015 Articles 130.7(C)(9), (10), and (11) provide detailed guidance for the selection of personal protective equipment to be used for specific tasks and hazard levels.

Eye Protection: Safety glasses meeting requirements of ANSI Z87.1 provide protection from impact and also filter damaging ultraviolet energy. Protective eyewear, in the form of safety glasses, always must be worn under the face shield or hood viewing window. Goggles may be worn only if they have an arc rating.


Figure 1: Safety Glasses

Face Protection: Face shield - nonconductive PPE with wrap-around guarding for the face, neck, and chin. Must have an arc rating at least as great as the predicted incident energy. Must wear eye protection (safety glasses or goggles) under face shield or hoods


Head Protection: Helmet - Nonconductive, arc-rated, head protection (ANSI Z89.1, Class E or G).



Figure 2: Hard Hat with Face Shield and Chin Guard

Balaclava: Minimum arc rated to the incident energy exposed to. Required to be used under a face shield in (HRC 2 for 2012) . Also must be used if the back of the head is exposed within the arc flash boundary.


Hair nets and/or Beard nets: Must be non-melting and flame-resistant.



Figure 3: Face Shield with Balaclava

Arc Rated Hood: Minimum arc rated to the incident energy exposed to. Must be used where incident energy is expected to exceed 12 cal/cm2. May be used instead of arc-rated face shield and balaclava combination.


Figure 4: Double Layer Arc Flash Hood with Hard Hat Inside

Hearing Protection: Hearing protection must be worn while performing work within an AF protection boundary. Ear canal inserts are specifically mentioned because they interfere less with other head or neck PPE than externally worn types.


Figure 5: Hearing Protection

Gloves: For hand protection, arc rated gloves are required made of heavy-duty leather of minimal 0.03 in. (0.7mm) thickness, with or without non-flammable, non-melting materials. Leather gloves are considered arc flash protection up to PPE category 2, however do not offer protection from electric shock.


Additional hand and arm protection (sleeves) against electric shock must be worn UNDER the leather protector gloves. Insulated gloves are arc-rated by tag color with readable information, (not glove color) for the voltage for which the glove will be exposed when working within the flash protection boundary.


The chart in Figure 7 shows the classifications based on maximum usage voltage when worn with leather protectors.


Do not use leather protector gloves alone, always use with the appropriate insulating rubber glove for maximum protection to prevent serious injury or death.


Although not rated for thermal protection, voltage-rated gloves with leather protectors provide significant thermal protection. When the worker's hands are within the flash protection boundary, rubber insulating gloves must be worn with leather protectors. PPE that provides thermal protection offers no acceptable protection from shock or electrocution. Shirt sleeves should fit under the gauntlet of protective gloves to minimize chance that thermal energy could enter the shirt sleeves.

Type I (not ozone resistant) and Type II (ozone-resistant)

Ozone, a form of oxygen that is produced in the air surrounding a high voltages conductor which can damage rubber products such as Type I natural rubber insulating gloves, causing cracks to form making them unsafe to use. Type I rubber gloves can also be negatively affected by UV rays (sunlight) and thus must be properly stored and inspected.

The Type II gloves (typically made from synthetic rubber) although not as susceptible to damage from ozone and UV rays, are not as flexible or comfortable as Type I to wear.


Figure 6: Arc Rated 00 Gloves with Leather Protectors


Figure 7: Voltage Classifications for Arc-Rated Insulating Gloves

Clothing: Arc flash rated within the AF protection boundary and wherever there is possible exposure to an electric arc flash above the threshold incident energy level for a second-degree burn (1.2 cal/cm2). Clothing must cover potentially exposed areas as completely as possible.


Non-melting, non-flame resistant undergarments (such as 100% cotton underwear) may be worn under arc-rated outerlayers as long as they are not exposed to potential arc flash. The innermost arc-rated layer of PPE must not break open, be rolled up or shortened exposing the non-flame resistant material or skin. Non-arc rated Arc-rated undergarments generally provide better system arc rating than non-flammable, non-melting underlayers.


Note that the small amount of elastic material used in non-melting underwear and socks is permissible.


Figure 8: Fire-Resistant, Shirt, Pants, Shop Coat and Coveralls

Arc Flash Suits: Is a complete arc rated clothing/equipment system that may include pants, jacket, coverall and hood to cover the body entirely (except for the hands and feet). Arc flash rated to minimum incident energy level exposed to.


Figure 9: Arc Flash Suits–40 cal/cm2 Protection

Footwear: Shoes with an arc rating are not available. Heavy-duty leather, safety-toed shoes provide some AF protection to the feet. Shoes made from lightweight material should not be selected.


Figure 10: Footwear

IPE (Insulating Protective Equipment

Includes items such as:

  • Insulating (rubber) line hose, blankets, and hoods.
  • Insulating barriers made of fiberglass or phenolic resin.
  • Live-line tools such as hotsticks, switchsticks, and shotgun sticks.
  • Plastic or fiberglass hardcover items that can be installed with live-line tools.

Like PPE (for example, insulating gloves and sleeves), IPE is used to provide workers protection from contacting energized conductors, but unlike PPE it is not worn on the body. Rubber and hardcover IPE items must be rated for the voltage of the parts being covered (phase to ground or phase to phase).


Figure 11: IPE Shot-Gun Grip-All Stick