|1.||“NFPA 70E doesn’t apply to me.” A notorious phrase in the electrical industry, many electricians believe that because they have never seen or experienced an arc flash, it won’t happen to them. While arc flashes are relatively rare, their unpredictable nature makes them particularly dangerous. According to a study conducted by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2287 U.S. workers died and 32,807 U.S. workers sustained lost time injuries due to electrical shock or burn injuries over a seven year period starting in 1992. Subsequently, when an individual is exposed to an arc flash, the results can be life-changing. A good example is the Donnie Johnson accident. Johnson was an electrician for almost 20 years before he was severely injured in an arc blast in 2004. At the time of the incident, Johnson was not wearing the proper flame-resistant clothing outlined by NFPA 70E. As a result, he has focused on educating the industry about the importance of following these important safety procedures.|
|2.||“NFPA 70E is just product.” Another common misconception among organizations is that employees are safe if they have the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). While flame-resistant apparel and other PPE is important, these items become useless if not used properly. For example, if employees roll up their sleeves while wearing flame-resistant shirts, their safety is compromised. As a result, a big part of NFPA 70E consists of training employees in the proper use and care of PPE. A Cintas rule of thumb for organizations interested in promoting safety and compliance is to view NFPA 70E as 10 percent product and 90 percent training.|
|3.||“If I buy a flame-resistant shirt or coverall, then I’m compliant.” When an arc flash occurs, it fully engulfs a worker—360-degrees. In order to reduce the severity of injury, workers need to don a full ensemble of flame-resistant apparel, including shirts, pants, gloves, face shields, balaclavas (sock hoods), safety glasses and shoes. NFPA 70E requires that organizations classify the work performed at their facility into one of five risk hazard categories (0-4). Based on the amount of energy that individuals are exposed to per cm2, the appropriate apparel is selected to match the hazard so it won’t break open in the event of a flash. It is also important for organizations to routinely maintain and inspect their PPE.|
|4.||“Every time an NFPA 70E flame-resistant garment is laundered, it becomes less flame-resistant.” If flame-resistant apparel is washed properly, it does not lose its integrity. However, it’s vital that employees wash their garments according to the instructions on their care labels and those outlined by NFPA 70E. It is also essential that flame-resistant apparel is constructed and repaired using flame-resistant thread, which is seldom found in retail stores. To limit liabilities, many organizations opt to work with industrial launderers who can inspect, launder, repair and replace garments if necessary.|
For more information about flame-resistant clothing from Cintas, visit www.cintas.com/protectiveapparel.About Cintas Corporation: Headquartered in Cincinnati, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized services to businesses of all types primarily throughout North America. Cintas designs, manufactures and implements corporate identity uniform programs, and provides entrance mats, restroom cleaning and supplies, tile and carpet cleaning, promotional products, first aid, safety, fire protection products and services and document management services for more than 1 million businesses. Cintas is a publicly held company traded over the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol CTAS and is a component of the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.