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 Post subject: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 10:19 am 
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The industrial plant I work in has a policy that you must have long sleeves when inside an electrical room. Yesterday we had our annual "cold day", where all turbine generators are offline and we are disconnected from the electric utility. During that period it is common practice for electricians to where short sleeves only. However, there doesn't appear to be a facility policy to that effect, so someone made a fuss and we are having to clarify the policy.

The first part of the discussion is is that an appropriate practice? The proposed policy would be that you can have short sleeves as long as you have all power sources to the room locked out.

The second part of the discussion is does it really matter if you have long sleeves or short sleeves? To my thinking if you aren't wearing a full set of arc flash hazard equipment (e.g. 4 cal, 8 cal, 40 cal, etc) then it doesn't really matter what you are wearing, except that it not be flammable.


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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 5:45 pm 
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Here's my thoughts: Unless you are interacting with energized equipment in such a manner that causes/has the potential to/increases the risk of an arc flash, then AR PPE is not needed. Just going into an electrical room does not require AR PPE unless the site policy requires it, which IMHO is overkill.

Wearing the appropriate PPE is always part of a Job Hazard Analysis. If a plant operator is in the electrical room to take meter readings, what does the JHA require? Same for working in an area where all sources of energy are LOTO. What is the arc flash hazard?

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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:12 pm 
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Even if there is a potential for an arc flash hazard, your arms are going to be at a significantly higher incident energy but the ATPV of the PPE is uniform throughout, but we don't increase the level of required PPE as we approach the extremities. So from a very practical point of view any arc rated PPE requirement beyond the face/chest area personally seems kind of silly. But if we back off from this point of view to considering other situations if there is no arc flash hazard (ie, the likelihood is less than one in a million), then arc flash PPE is simply not required. This would occur for instance when walking through the room or switching operations when the equipment is in good working condition.

Beyond this, the standard uses the Stoll curve which is the point at which a 2nd degree or more severe burn will occur on BARE SKIN. There are two major properties of arc rated PPE. First it is thermally insulative. This is a property of the material itself. A 12 oz. ordinary untreated cotton shirt is going to give you exactly the same ATPV (about 10 cal/cm2) right up to the point where it ignites. The second property and that's where the ignition property comes into consideration is that arc rated PPE will burn just as well as untreated or non-arc rated textiles but it will not propagate a flame...the textile quits burning as soon as the flame is removed.

So if you are working below 1.2 cal/cm2, it is kind of silly to have a long sleeve shirt policy in the first place as far as arc flash is concerned and even then from a practical point of view although the standard requires it, it is kind of silly to even have it even above 1.2 cal/cm2 since the only protection afforded is not propagating a flame.

There might be other valid reasons though outside of any concerns for arc flash or shock. I've had lots of cuts and scrapes happen when reaching back into panels and scraping up against fiberglass boards as well as the occasional cuts from sharp metal. And if you are soldering (yeah I know, who does that these days), it will bead up and roll right off a shirt instead of splattering and sticking.


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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:07 am 
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Long sleeves are required as soon as you cross the threshold of the electrical room, regardless of what work might be planned. Going in the room to look at a pilot light or gauge requires long sleeves.


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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 7:04 am 
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Why are long sleeves required in the electric room but not a specific level of PPE, balaclava, face shield... What about walking past any other electrical equipment?

Seems over the top just for being in a particular place. Why not plant wide???


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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 8:41 am 
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Voltrael wrote:
Long sleeves are required as soon as you cross the threshold of the electrical room, regardless of what work might be planned. Going in the room to look at a pilot light or gauge requires long sleeves.


IMHO that is overkill. Why just the electrical room? Sometimes equipment downstream may have a higher incident energy value, such as a panel or maybe a machine where there is a transformer. If the plant deems it worthy for the electrical room, why not when walking past disconnect switches (non-fused ones may be overdutied) or panels?

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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:00 pm 
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Hi All

Warm greetings from north of the border. I agree with the others, I am not sure why long sleeves are required just for a worker to enter into an electrical room? What if a custodial staff is just going in to sweep the floor or a technician is entering to check the fire extinguishers? Lets start with the rationale for long sleeves. If the concern is for injury from an arc flash, a long sleeve polyester shirt that a worker may be wearing is going to cause more complications to a burn. Further an arc rated flame resistant shirt is only going to protect the mid section, what about the rest of the body. (If in fact the company rationale for a long sleeve shirt is protection from an arc flash)


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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:50 pm 
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Great comments. Above. That OSHA and NFPA 70E standard would require the company to have a policy for PPE. IF NO PPE IS REQUIRED, then short sleeves are fine. Short sleeved AR shirts are pretty common as UNDERGARMENTS and I support them since they add torso protection and prevent undershirt ignition in all events. However short sleeved work shirts can't be primary protection in an arc flash. Paul is so right, the IE for the arms will typically be MORE than for the rest of the body.

Wearing short sleeved AR gear is great at total prevention of arc flash ignition BUT it is never adequate for PPE unless the other layers provide protection and it is worn only for comfort.

Hugh Hoagland
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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 2:01 pm 
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elihuiv wrote:
Great comments. Above. That OSHA and NFPA 70E standard would require the company to have a policy for PPE. IF NO PPE IS REQUIRED, then short sleeves are fine. Short sleeved AR shirts are pretty common as UNDERGARMENTS and I support them since they add torso protection and prevent undershirt ignition in all events. However short sleeved work shirts can't be primary protection in an arc flash. Paul is so right, the IE for the arms will typically be MORE than for the rest of the body.

Wearing short sleeved AR gear is great at total prevention of arc flash ignition BUT it is never adequate for PPE unless the other layers provide protection and it is worn only for comfort.

Hugh Hoagland
ArcWear Testing
e-Hazard Training


But, for any scenario there either is an arc flash hazard, or there isn't. If there is, you have to wear full body protection that matches the incident energy available. If there isn't, then you don't have to wear any arc flash protection.


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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:19 pm 
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Voltrael wrote:
But, for any scenario there either is an arc flash hazard, or there isn't. If there is, you have to wear full body protection that matches the incident energy available. If there isn't, then you don't have to wear any arc flash protection.


Just a little nit pick on wording here. There is either an arc flash RISK, or there is not. Tasks which do not interact with the equipment in a way that could cause an arcing fault might still have some very low likelihood of injury but it should be comparable to or lower compared to other industrial hazards. Examples would include just walking by or switching operations.

As an example of extending PPE requirements to all hazards, red meats, vegetables, and many fruits have been found by the IARC to probably cause cancer, mostly because of the way that they interact with the gut. However the increase in risk is so extremely small that consumption does not pose a health hazard...thus, no risk and even though vegans would like to see this, there is no major public awareness campaign trying to ban meat and vegetables


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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:49 pm 
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PaulEngr wrote:
Voltrael wrote:
But, for any scenario there either is an arc flash hazard, or there isn't. If there is, you have to wear full body protection that matches the incident energy available. If there isn't, then you don't have to wear any arc flash protection.


Just a little nit pick on wording here. There is either an arc flash RISK, or there is not. Tasks which do not interact with the equipment in a way that could cause an arcing fault might still have some very low likelihood of injury but it should be comparable to or lower compared to other industrial hazards. Examples would include just walking by or switching operations.

As an example of extending PPE requirements to all hazards, red meats, vegetables, and many fruits have been found by the IARC to probably cause cancer, mostly because of the way that they interact with the gut. However the increase in risk is so extremely small that consumption does not pose a health hazard...thus, no risk and even though vegans would like to see this, there is no major public awareness campaign trying to ban meat and vegetables


You're right about my careless phrasing. The main point is that either your doing an at risk behavior, in which case you need the appropriate PPE, or you're not doing anything risky, and the difference between a T-shirt and a button up shirt is meaningless.


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 Post subject: Re: Short sleeves versus long sleeves
PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2016 2:36 pm 
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I work in a health care complex (patient care, research) and our management did a knee jerk response and had use in long sleeve 8 cal uniforms at all times. I work on the HVAC system and rarely see exposed conductors, in the last year it was four occurrences. Most of my work is dealing with pneumatics, steam valves and the like. The could not care less of our comfort level, they just want to say they did their due diligence and put us out of their mind. Took them three years to get us gloves and face shield. Sad to say this is what you get when you have paper engineers in charge.


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