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What Employers Need To Know

What Employers Need To Know

NFPA® 70Eis a national consensus standard that establishes “best practices” for protection from electric arcs, and NFPA® 2112 provides new standards for flash fire protection.

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

  • Flash hazard analysis
  • Review of the requirements for the task from the PPE Matrix (in the Bulwark NFPA® 70E Update Table 130.7(C)(9)(a), OR
  • Using the simplified approach to select appropriate clothing based on whether the task requires “everyday work clothing” or “electrical switching clothing” (in the Bulwark NFPA® 70E Update Annex H)

Three Steps to Compliance with NFPA® 70E: (The information on this page is meant as an information guide only, and not a guarantee for compliance)

1. Conduct both shock and flash hazard analysis to determine incident energy potential within the flash protection boundary.

Employers are required to conduct a hazard analysis to determine the “flash protection boundary.” Inside the flash protective 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 calories per centimeter squared (cal/cm2). It may be determined by three methods.

Method A estimates the incident energy based on knowledge of the electrical systems and work practices; Method B estimates the incident energy by determining hazard risk category classifications from tables of common work tasks; Finally, Method C lays out a simplified two-category FR clothing system that provides two PPE clothing categories, “everyday work clothing” and “electrical switching” clothing, to assure

2. Determine PPE required based on incident energy associated with the specific task.

The NFPA® has identified four FR hazardous risk category 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 calories per centimeter squared. Meaning, electrical equipment, depending upon the energy delivering capability, under fault conditions can cause an explosion, or arc fault of a certain level, again measured in calories per centimeter squared.

The chart, based on specific job tasks, ranges from HRC 1 (which is low risk and allows for 100% treated cotton), up to HRC 4 (which is high risk and requires FR clothing with a minimum arc rating of 40). The HRC is used to determine the necessary arc rating of a garment worn during a given job task. Wearing multiple layers of clothing may be required to obtain the necessary rating required for your job.

Hazard Risk Category Clothing Descirption Required Minimum Arc Rating of PPE Cal/cm2
Cat 1 FR shirt and FR pants or FR coveralls (1 layer) 4
Cat 2 Cotton underwear plus FR shirt and FR pants (1 or 2 layers) 8
Cat 3 Cotton underwear plus FR shirt and FR pants plus FR coveralls, or Cotton underwear plus two FR coveralls (2 or 3 layers) 25
Cat 4 Cotton underwear plus FR shirt and FR pants plus multilayer flash suit (3 or more layers) 40

NFPA® 2112
Provides minimum performance criteria and sets clear guidelines for minimum design, performance, certification requirements and test methods for Flame Resistant garments for use in areas at risk from flash fires—such as those where flammable gases or vapors, or combustible dusts might be present. The standard calls for flash fire testing to be conducted at three seconds with a pass/fail rate of 50% total body burn under ASTM F1930 (Standard Test Method for Evaluation of Flame Resistant Clothing for Protection Against Flash Fire Simulations Using an Instrumented Manikin) testing protocols. Bulwark garments have been certified by Underwriters laboratories to the requirements of NFPA 2112, Standard on Flame Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire and Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) Standard 155.20, Workwear for protection against Hydrocarbon Flash Fire. For more info visit
Click here to find more info on NFPA® 70E and Hazard Risk Categories.

NFPA® 2112 Compliant
Bulwark Products marked as NFPA® 2112 Compliant are Certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or other independent third party laboratories to meet the requirements of NFPA® 2112 Standard on Flame Resistant Garments for Protection of Industrial Personnel Against Flash Fire, 2012 Edition.

National Fire Protection Association, known as NFPA, was established in 1896, it's mission is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. NFPA® is the world's leading advocate of fire prevention and an authoritative source on public safety, NFPA® develops, publishes, and disseminates more than 300 consensus codes and standards intended to minimize the possibility and effects of fire and other risks. For more info visit

3. Select PPE matching the hazard to the arc rating 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 rating, which may be either ATPV or EBT.

Be aware that other PPE may be required for specific tasks including double-layer FR flash hoods, FR hard hat liners, safety glasses or safety goggles, hard hat, hearing protection, leather gloves, voltage-rated gloves, and voltage-rated tools.

The most prudent course for any company faced with an ignition hazard is to select protective clothing made from flame resistant fabrics. Untreated cotton and wool are not flame resistant and fabrics made from these fibers do not make adequate protective clothing for the range of hazardous conditions encountered in industry.

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