We are working in conjunction with specialist organisations who recommend a hierarchy of measures to eliminate, reduce, isolate and control the risks before considering the requirement for PPE. Providing all other reasonably practicable measures have been taken to minimise the risk, we consider that wearing appropriate FR clothing can play a role in reducing the wearer’s exposure to the thermal effects of an arc flash in the event that an incident should occur.
"When flame resistant clothing is required, it is now subject to the norm IEC 61482-2/CDV which contains performance specifications for protective clothing when tested according to one of two procedures ("open" or "arc in a box").
Arc flash clothing is designed to provide a barrier from heat and flame, to minimise total burn injury and to help provide the wearer with extra seconds of protection to help escape possible secondary explosions or fires in the work area. It can increase the chances of survival and decrease the need for medical treatment (skin grafts) and the chances of subsequent infections.
A compelling reason for electrical workers to be provided with FR clothing is that ordinary clothes, especially synthetic fabrics like nylon, in an electric arc incident may make injuries worse than if the skin was not covered at all. Denim jeans and jackets, cotton shirts, cotton/synthetic T-shirts, sweatshirts, fleeces or nylon jackets are fuel sources that ignite, burn and frequently melt onto the skin. The heavier the weight of the fabric, the more fuel there is to burn. While the explosion may be over in a fraction of a second, non-flame resistant clothing may keep burning; it takes just three seconds to sustain third degree burns."
Source: Electrical Safety UK