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#150132 09/30/04 09:16 AM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 55
Big Ed Offline OP
Maybe one of you can assist me. The company that I work for (utility) currently provides us FR clothing through a rental service. The intent of this was to comply with the reccomendations of NFPA 70E. Our facility has been purchased by another company that is hell-bent on cutting the budget to the bone.

It looks like they will be cutting out the uniforms. Their reasoning is that they don't have uniforms at any other plant, and they have coveralls for use in "high voltage" work.

NFPA 70E requires FR clothing for even as low as 600 volts.

My question is this:
Does OSHA mandate NFPA 70E or is it volentary? If it is required by OSHA, I don't see how they can not provide the protective clothing.

Thanks all,


Arc Flash PPE Clothing, LOTO & Insulated Tools
#150133 10/01/04 11:29 AM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 73
It took a while but I found it.
From CFR 29 Parts 1900 to 1910.999 (7-1-01):
"1910.335 Safeguards for personnel protection.
(a)(1)(i) Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed."
The way I understand it, OSHA enforces CFR 1910 (for existing installations) and CFR 1926 (for construction). NFPA 70E is just a recognized standard of how to do it.
There is also Section 5(a)(1) of the William Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, better known as the "General Duty Clause", which says:
5. Duties
(a)Each employer
(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;
(2)shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.

#150134 10/05/04 09:26 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
Big Ed,
I'd go along with the post that Ralpha494 submitted above.
I was of the opinion that as far as PPE went
employers are required by law to provide it.
I'd be seriously taking my employer to task about this issue, if I were you, this just isn't right, who cares if they don't provide the same PPE at other plants, they should do!.

#150135 10/08/04 11:09 AM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 206
Big Ed, I spoke with our company Safety Officer today. He is a former OSHA Inspector. NFPA 70E would be used as reference material for OSHA to issue citations with. Ralpha494 is right on with CFR 29 1900-1910. The "General Duty Clause" would require your employer to provide FR clothing. The company I work for provides us with any safety equipment we need. Good luck convincing your employer on the need for this equipment.

#150136 10/09/04 03:35 AM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 11
All the posts on this subject are accurate however the original one refers to "utility" which I assume to mean transmission and distribution (above 600 volts)work.

If I'm correct and your going use the requirements of NFPA 70E then you'll need to do the calculations and if you do... you'll find that the "FR" clothing typically issued to these workers doesn't even come close.

Work it de-energized or use hot sticks to stay beyond the required flash protection boundary.

I agree that "FR" clothing will help but it's PPE which should be the last line of defense.

Jim Humphrey
#150137 10/09/04 07:01 AM
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 55
Big Ed Offline OP
It is a small power station, 132MW. I am the I&E leadman. We don't often work with the really high voltage stuff. Generally we are working with 120V-480V.

We do work on the higher stuff 4160V, 13.8KV and we have a suit for that. That stuff we do not work hot.

The way that NFPA 70E reads, you need FR clothing for doing voltage checks in a 480 bucket that still has 120 control power on. That is why we went to the uniforms in the first place, we do "level 2" work on a daily basis.

We have already had one incident where the uniforms have done their job. We had a man place a Fluke 87 across 4160V. The results were not pretty. We found most of the parts of the Fluke.
Fortunately he had on the nomex shirt and indura pants. He was also wearing an indura jacket. We had gotten the jackets a week before, after much wailing and gnashing of teeth by me. My argument was that it makes no sense to have FR clothes if you put a nylon jacket on over top of them.

He walked away with no injuries. The jacket had to be replaced. It had saved him from recieving any burns.

Sadly the company that bought us, and is cutting our budget to ribbons, is a major utility.

#150138 10/19/04 01:43 AM
Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 8,443
Likes: 3
Big Ed,
We have already had one incident where the uniforms have done their job. We had a man place a Fluke 87 across 4160V. The results were not pretty. We found most of the parts of the Fluke.
Good Lord!.
It was just lucky that the guy was wearing that protection, I've heard of these sorts of accidents occuring, but I've never seen one first-hand.
BTW, Nylon work gear is not allowed over here as well as Polypropylene gear, because of the fact that it melts under Arc flash conditions.
There was a guy here that had Nylon overalls melt to his skin after an explosion in an LV switchboard, the nylon more or less stuck to his skin. [Linked Image]

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