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How old is your/company/client's arc rated clothing (excluding face shields, gloves etc.)
Less than 12 months
12 to 24 months
More than 24 months
It Depends
Doesn’t apply
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ekstra   ara
 Post subject: Age of Arc Rated Clothing
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 9:56 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:00 pm
Posts: 1197
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
This week’s question is quite simple.

How old is your/company/client's arc rated clothing (excluding face shields, gloves etc.)
Note: Some PPE such as moon suits may be older than other daily wear if they are not worn as much.

Less than 12 months
12 to 24 months
More than 24 months
It Depends
Doesn’t apply


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Arc Rated Clothing
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 11:20 am 
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Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 5:00 pm
Posts: 76
I listed 12-24 months but that is for Level 2 PPE. Level 4 isn't used that much and I believe it might be 3 or 4 years old.


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Arc Rated Clothing
PostPosted: Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:37 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:08 am
Posts: 1736
Location: North Carolina
It is my understanding that if it is integral to the material, it doesn't matter how old it is.

E-Hazard did a study on this with some Canadian PPE about 5-10 years ago and found no appreciable degradation with age.

I noticed some sort of crystals appearing on a pair of jeans that were I believe Milliken Mills fabric that were about 2-3 years old that had been sitting in a retail store for that length of time but nothing else visibly wrong with them. Not sure if they actually lost any functionality or not.

Finally back around 2004-2005 where I worked in a foundry they had the welding greens and these were "community" items...turn them in and check them out as needed...no name tags. The tendency was that the employees always wanted the oldest ones because they were the softest and the local laundry (I don't remember which one) didn't have any sort of replacement policy. Well needless to say these were the kind where the fire retardant treatment washes out after about 50 washings or so with a commercial laundry. One of the mechanics was working on an air compressor and got some oil on his greens. When the motor (ODP) threw sparks, his very well worn and comfortable greens burned off in seconds. Subsequent policy at first was to simply replace everything every 2 years since the laundry exchanged everything every week and most of the guys didn't wear them over Christmas and summer outages which were one week long, leaving 25 washings per year maximum. Subsequently they switched over to a Westex fabric which used an ammonia process and totally bypassed the washing issue.

I've seen rubber gloves kind of get that soft, spongy feel in an area and either fail an inflation test or fail the hi pot test when they are sent out for testing. I have no idea how this would fair in an arc flash test.

Face shields in general shouldn't be a problem. They go cloudy or get gunked up or scratched up with something well before they get more than a couple years old.


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Arc Rated Clothing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 7:23 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:43 am
Posts: 147
Location: Colorado
I still use my shirts I bought back in 2002. I don't wear them often and they are in good shape. I do question the validity of the flame retardant but I assume it is still good since the shirt is in good shape.


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Arc Rated Clothing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:00 pm
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My arc rated clothing is Westex ultrasoft 8.7 ATPV. It is getting close to 2 years old and I sent twice for inspection to our agent. Tomorrow I ll be in the field and the temperature is going to be 110 degree Fahrenheit. It wont be pleasant, but we are aware of devastating consequences of arc flash and I wont discount my PPE.


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 Post subject: Re: Age of Arc Rated Clothing
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:25 am
Posts: 19
My employer went for a cotton based uniform treated with Tetrakis(hydroxymethyl) Phosphonium Sulfide (ammonia cure as stated above). We started out with 8 sets of uniforms and get an added two pair a year and toss out ones as they become too worn. The guys like the older uniforms also because they are softer, a few people for 'comfort' issues that I will get into below. We have found the cotton uniforms to not hold up to our previous non-arc flash synthetic uniforms. Basically they look ratty, worn, maybe it is our laundry service but we sure do not look as professional now with the new uniforms.

On the 'comfort' issue. I developed a skin sensitivity to the fire retardant and have been given the THPS treated clothing. I am the outlier on the bell curve (a canary in the coal mine) and got an extreme reaction to the clothing within one to two hours of wearing them. The others who have been irritated by the uniforms usually can wear them all day but get an itching and burning feeling when sweating. Some have found that the feeling subsides when the uniforms have been washed a number of times. Could also be the reason some of the people mentioned go for the well washed uniforms.

Because of my sensitivity I had been given Nomex fabric type of uniforms, at first one to try. For months I had the one uniform and I had to wash it every night, eventually got a number more. After probably more washings that the cotton based uniform would see in its useful life the Nomex uniform I had looked relatively new and worthy of wearing (we work in a hospital setting). For the added cost of the upscaled uniform I would recommend them over the cotton ones. They last longer and look much better during their life. They are also softer and not as hot to wear as compared to the treated cotton. My two cents.


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