Updated December 2023
Q: Can an electrical worker wear a normal belt buckle? Are there arc-rated or dielectric belts?
A: NFPA® 70E® prohibits qualified persons from taking conductive objects into the restricted boundary in 130.4(G). Belts and belt buckles aren’t specifically prohibited. We recommend limiting any metal on the body if clothing and work permits.
From the arc side, there are a few leather belts with no buckle you can find online. Some are advertised as mechanic’s or “electrician’s” belts, but the only one we know that has been tested is the Arc Belt. It was tested in January of 2016 using the set-up of the ASTM F2621 procedure. The test results showed no melting, ignition, or dripping at an energy level of 40 cal/cm².
Arc Belt is a handmade, leather belt that contains very few metal parts – no buckles and just two prongs on the back side of the belt. It’s made in North Carolina and can be embossed with the company name. It has no exposed metal parts which makes it nice from an electrical worker perspective. Sure beats a large metal belt buckle that says, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas!” (That could be one of my favorite country songs).
There is NO arc rating for belts since they aren’t considered “protective,” but this one has been exposed like the ASTM F887 standard requires for a harness to assure it will not add injury to a worker by ignition, melting or dripping. It performs like a charm.
If you are an electrician or lineman, or you work around electricity, this is a great addition to your arsenal of personal protective equipment (PPE).