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 Post subject: Leather Pants
PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:28 pm 
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Crazy question, kind of joking, but a serious answer will help me understand the NFPA PPE recommendations a little better.

If you can wear insulated leather boots, can you wear leather pants as part of arc flash PPE?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:14 pm 
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ConvergenceTraining wrote:
Crazy question, kind of joking, but a serious answer will help me understand the NFPA PPE recommendations a little better.

If you can wear insulated leather boots, can you wear leather pants as part of arc flash PPE?


For level 0: Non-melting, flammable materials (i.e. untreated cotton, wool, rayon or silk, or blends of these materials) with a fabric weight at least 4.5 oz/yd2 (1)

Really it depends if the leather has been treated or not. Most leather pants are treated with an oil to make them soft or they have a plastic finish. In that case they would be flammable.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:48 am 
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To be strictly correct, you use the tables of required PPE for the various HRC levels when using the tables to determine the arc flash risk category (0 through 4). When you do your own arc flash hazard analysis, you also take on responsbility for the clothing. Most people do the calculations but then adopt the table which is technically incorrect but it is really a purely academic argument.

12 oz. leather gloves and leather work boots are accepted for a couple reasons. First, the major concern from a fatality point of view is to protect the torso and head area. That is also where the arc flash calculation targets. The incident energy level where your hands are located if you get an arc flash while working on equipment is likely to be significantly higher if you are working on equipment while energized. The other reason that leather gloves (up to 8 cal/cm^2), rubber voltage rated gloves, and leather boots are accepted is that extensive testing was done on a representative sample of materials to the point where it was pretty clear what the limitations of those items are as a class. Thus the rules allow them categorically, just as natural materials clothing is allowed for HRC 0.

Where I work at, we have a lot of acids. As a result, leather boots would not be a good idea. We actually sent out the rubber boots that we stock (both neoprene and non-neoprene) and had them tested. They were just as good as the rubber gloves. So we allow them. The boots are SERVUS "XTRA TUFF" boots, same as the ones that Mike Rowe on the TV show Dirty Jobs likes to wear. We have not released our test data to anyone else though. As I recall the test wasn't all that expensive.

So if you wanted to allow leather pants, have them tested at Kinectrics or Dupont to find out just how effective they are. I'm reasonably certain that the ones that are intended for welders might do fairly well but not so sure about the ones that are supposed to be a fashion statement.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Thanks for the response. I don't work at a facility and I don't own any leather pants. I was mainly just interested in increasing my own knowledge in this area. Thanks!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:35 pm 
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But if you wear chaps, you'd better CYA. :eek:


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