CSA Z462-2021 Adds Arc Flash PPE Category 5

CSA Z462-2021 Adds Arc Flash PPE Category 5

Significant Changes to Arc Flash PPE

The National Standard of Canada for Workplace Electrical Safety is CSA Z462. Every 3 years the CSA Z462 Technical Committee publishes a new revision of the Standard.  Arc flash PPE requirements are updated in every new edition. Up until now, these changes have been minor, such as the requirement to wear an arc-rated balaclava (2012 change). In the 2021 edition there are significant changes including a new Arc Flash PPE Category 5.

Arc Flash PPE Category Review

Arc Flash PPE Category Review

Why did we need Arc Flash PPE Category 5?

Arc flash thermal incident energy is calculated using engineering formulas in the IEEE 1584 Guide. Regardless of how your customer completed their arc flash risk assessment (incident energy analysis or category method), arc flash PPE selection is determined using these calculations. Hidden behind each Arc Flash PPE Category are incident energy calculations based on the equipment parameters from CSA Z462 Table 6a. When the IEEE 1584 Guide was updated in 2018, the new formulas resulted in significant changes. For example, 600V switchgear in Table 6a increased from 40 cal/cm2 up to 73 cal/cm2. The basic principle of arc flash PPE selection is the protection (arc rating) must match or exceed the hazard. Up until now, 600V switchgear required Category 4 protection with a minimum arc rating of 40 cal/cm2. Therefore, the CSA Z462 Standard required a higher category to ensure workers were adequately protected. Arc Flash PPE Category 5 requires a min. 75 cal/cm2 arc rating that would provide adequate protection for this example.

Who does this impact?

Employers covered by the CSA Z462 scope (Industrial, Institutional, Mining, Airports, Commercial, Construction, etc.) are impacted. Electrical Utilities (Generation, Transmission & Distribution of electricity) excluded from the scope are indirectly impacted by these changes. Electrical Utilities are expected to follow the ULC S801 Standard, but everyone in Canada uses CSA Z462 for Arc Flash PPE requirements.

Most arc flash suits on the market are considered Category 4 with arc ratings ranging from 40-55 cal/cm2. Work tasks performed on 600V switchgear are commonly performed in most medium to large size workplaces. Electrical Workers could be under protected and at risk of catastrophic skin burn injuries resulting from an arc flash. Many employers will need new Category 5 suits.

With these new changes in mind, Oberon introduced the all new TCG75 Series Arc Flash Suits with an APTV of 76 cal/cm2.  This suit is the perfect blend of comfort and protection for any electrical worker needing Arc Flash PPE Category 5 protection.

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