for Electrical Safety

New ASTM International Protective Equipment Standard to Measure Electric Arc Exposure

A new ASTM International standard, F 2621, Practice for Determining Response Characteristics and Design Integrity of Arc Related Finished Products in an Electric Arc Exposure, is the latest in a series of standards developed by Subcommittee F18.65 on Wearing Apparel to reduce the number of fatalities and injuries caused by electric arcs. ASTM Practice F 2621 provides procedural guidelines for conducting arc testing on finished products intended for use as thermal protection by workers who may be exposed to electric arcs. Subcommittee F18.65 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee F18 on Electrical Protective Equipment for Workers. F 2621 was developed because of a need within the protective equipment industry to determine the qualitative arc exposure performance of arc resistant garments and other personal protective equipment (PPE) tested on a mannequin to simulate the way the garments and PPE are used by a worker in a real hazard situation. “A standard was needed that would show how the garment closures, sewing thread, buttons and pant jacket overlap areas perform in an arc exposure in order to improve protective clothing design,” says Neal, who notes that arc flash demos or accident simulations were being conducted without a standard and consistent way of conducting the exposures. F 2621 will be used by both manufacturers and large end users of personal protective equipment, as well as by companies that have had arc flash accidents and want to recreate the exposure conditions for analysis. The standard will be used for the improvement of protective clothing design, for dealing with problems related to closures, labels and sewing thread in protective clothing, and for the assessment of overlap areas when more than one protective garment is worn. Other standards developed by Subcommittee F18.65 to protect electrical workers include F 1506, Specification for Flame Resistant Textile Materials for Wearing Apparel for Use by Electrical Workers Exposed to Momentary Electric Arc and Related Thermal Hazards; F 1959/F 1959M, Test Method for Determining the Arc Rating of Materials for Clothing; F 1891, Specification for Arc and Flame Resistant Rainwear; and F 2178, Test Method for Determining the Arc Rating and Standard Specification for Face Protective Products. ASTM International standards are available for purchase from Customer Service (phone: 610/832-9585; or at For technical information, contact Thomas Neal, Neal Associates Ltd., Guilford, Conn. (phone: 203/458-2208; Committee F18 meets Oct. 21-24 in Nashville, Tenn. For membership or meeting information, contact Jeffrey Adkins, manager, Technical Committee Operations, ASTM International (phone: 610/832-9738;
Paul Chapman
BWXT Y-12 Electrical AHJ
BWXT Y-12 Safety
Phone: 865-574-1560
Pager: 865-873-9289

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