NOTE: It has been brought to our attention that we may have some incorrect information in this resource. We will be verifying and correcting this information as soon as possible. Please be sure to get a second opinion prior to making any final decisions, or feel free to contact us directly so we can get back to you as soon as we have the updated info.

Hazard / Risk Category 2 (HRC 2) MISCONCEPTIONS

General misconceptions about Hazard / Risk Category 2

SIMPLY STATED: If you wear a flame resistant garment with a caloric rating (ATPV) of 8.1 calories/cm² you are not protected against all of the potential energy which falls into a Hazard/Risk Category 2 (HRC 2).

TRUE: Most electrical work happens in HRC 2 or lower. However HRC 2 includes energy levels as high as 24 calories/cm²

FALSE: If a person wears an HRC 2 flame resistant garment which has a thermal rating of 8.1 calories/cm2 they are protected against all energy levels present in HRC 2; this is a false statement.

FACT: If a worker is wearing an 8.1 cal/cm² while working in the presence of 24 cal/cm² threat they are only 30% protected even thought the threat and PPE exist within the same HRC category. Considering 1.2 cal/cm² will give you a 2nd degree burn, its safe to assume significant physical trauma will occur in the even of an incident.

FACT: OSHA can site the employer for not protecting the employee from the dangers of arc flash. Match the PPE to the threat using calories/cm², not HRC.

Are flame resistant garments optional?

Contrary to what you may hear no one is exempt from OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). OSHA is in place to set minimum safety standards and requirements to protect workers and the general public from avoidable accidents. OSHA says that if you are working near the threat of electrical arc flash or flash fire you must wear flame resistant garments. While OSHA demands you “comply�? they don’t tell you “how to comply�? this is where other standards and codes such as NFPA 70e, NFPA 2112, NESC 2007 and ASTM 1506 enter into the equation. If you are working on or near energized electrical parts with voltage over 50V you must wear flame resistant protection. If you are working in and area where there can be a flash fire you must wear flame resistant PPE.

If you are working and climbing utility poles to work on electrical lines, telephone lines or cable you must wear flame resistant personal protection equipment.

It’s thinner so it must be cooler? – FALSE

This is a statement that we are constantly battling with. There are synthetic flame resistant materials on the market that are thinner than Benchmark FR. However despite their fabrics thickness other thicker FR materials are going to be warmer to wear than Benchmark FR products and they will raise a workers core temperature. Do not be mislead, wicking moisture does not mean a fabric will be cooler. And wicking material can have potentially fatal consequences in a high risk fire and arc flash environment. As a customer once told us his brand of synthetic fabric was like wearing a thick plastic bag…hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

Are regular blue jeans safe?

It is not correct to wear 100% untreated cotton in place of flame resistant pants. If the potential threat could give you a 2 calorie burn (equivolent to a sun burn) then flame resistant pants must be part of your flame resistant PPE.

An arc flash is the hottest naturally occurring heat source with temperatures averaging from 30,000 to 35,000 F, that is four time hotter than the surface of the sun. At these extreme temperatures a heavy cotton pant will ignite and it will continue to burn. Benchmark Flame Resistant garments are designed to remove the fuel from the wearer’s body. If you are wearing flammable cotton products then you are wearing fuel.