Q: Have leather coats been tested for arc flash (we use them for our battery rooms)?
Some of our workers perform work on batteries with sulfuric acid as an electrolyte. How well do leather coats stand up in that environment? Ours are unlined.
A: I have not tested a leather jacket, BUT...
I would recommend using AR rainwear in a working environment with sulfuric acid since rainwear is rated for acid withstand and has an arc rating.
This is the NFPA 70E-2018 recommendation in Table 130.7(C)(15)(b) Arc-Flash PPE Categories for Direct Current (dc) Systems. The note below says,
“(1) Apparel that can be expected to be exposed to electrolyte must meet both of the following conditions:
(a) Be evaluated for electrolyte protection
Informational Note: ASTM F1296, Standard Guide for Evaluating Chemical Protective Clothing, contains information on evaluating apparel for
protection from electrolyte.
(b) Be arc-rated
Informational Note: ASTM F1891, Standard Specifications for Arc Rated and Flame Resistant Rainwear, contains information on evaluating arc-rated
I have tested leather gloves and did leather panels many years ago. The ATPV rating for leather gloves is 10 cal/cm². A coat would have a rating much higher than that. Leather could be very good, but, typically, coats are lined with melting materials.
I am aware of one company who wanted to make leather coats with an arc-rated lining. But they didn’t see enough value to do the testing. The leather may work, and I would not recommend against it. But the AR rainwear will have a rating for many chemical splash exposures, and it will also be arc-rated if it meets ASTM F1891.
Don’t trust “FR” rainwear unless it also has an arc rating.
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