Polyester or nylon clothing while inspecting the distribution panels: a problem?

Is it really a safety problem? Seems pretty minor.

It’s only an issue in the event that there is an arc-flash substantial enough to ignite the material.

The problem is that it ignites easily and can’t be “brushed” off your skin like cotton or other natural materials.

Poly and nylon will stick to you and cause severe burns beyond what you may have received from the initial flash.

Jeff is correct only a problem if your on fire, burns and sticks like styrafoam;)

…burns and MELTS onto your skin… kind of like candle wax that won’t cool off anytime soon. Grab a scrap piece of plastic/nylon/poly rope and put a flame to it. Watch what happens.

That being said… all my work shirts are 100% Cotton. No substitutions, ever. I can almost guarantee you that the one time I wear something else, that is the day the arc-flash will occur. Nope. Not me. Ain’t gonna go there!

It is only minor if nothing happens. I was up north working out of Detroit’s hall years ago when an apprentice was involved in an arc flash. He was wearing all cotton except for his fancy underwear. I will assure you that he will tell you it is extremely important issue. They had to peel his off!!

That all sounds pretty nasty.

Yea, it was. He survived and recovered but he had alot of issues. Needless to say it is one of those things that seems trivial unless it happens to us. I do not personally agree with all the requirements of NFPA70E but I never wear anything made of synthetic material.

work safe! & keep others way back when working around energized equip

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory


8.5.3 Arc Flash
When an electric current passes through the air between two conductors, the temperature can reach 35,000°F. Exposure to these extreme temperatures can result in life-threatening burns. The majority of hospital admissions due to electrical accidents to qualified workers are from arc-flash burns, not electrical shocks. Arc flashes can and do kill at distances in excess of 10 feet. Equipment that presents an arc-flash hazard should be marked with a label describing the available incident energy and level of personal protective equipment (PPE) required for work within the arc-flash boundary when the equipment is energized.
LBNL has concluded that 120 V, single-phase AC power does not constitute a significant arc-flash hazard. Although an arc can occur at 120 V, it is unable to develop enough energy to generate expanding, burning plasma. Therefore, the minimum arc-flash PPE required when working within the limited approach boundary (42 inches) of an exposed energized 120 V AC circuit is: safety glasses, leather gloves, a 100% natural-fiber long-sleeve shirt, and long pants. No synthetics shall be worn beneath the natural fiber outer layer. A copy of the analysis can be found in Appendix A (120-V Arc Flash Hazard Analysis).
8.5.4 Arc Blast
The tremendous temperatures of the arc cause an explosive expansion of both metal and the surrounding air in the arc path. For example, copper expands by a factor of 67,000 times when changed from a solid into a vapor. The dangers of this explosion are of high-blast pressure wave, high decibel levels of sound, and high-velocity shrapnel. Finally, the material and molten metal is expelled away from the arc at speeds exceeding 700 miles per hour. Arc blasts often cause severe injuries and death.
8.5.5 Other Burns
Other burns suffered in electrical accidents are of two basic types: electrical burns and thermal-contact burns. In electrical burns, tissue damage (on the skin or deeper) occurs because the body is unable to dissipate the heat caused by the current flow. Typically, electrical burns are slow to heal. Thermal-contact burns are those normally experienced from skin contact with the hot

Thanks Barry some of my best research is from

Thanks guys!

Sounds like a good article for InterNACHI to write and post online.