If NFPA 70E and CSA Z462 require a hood be worn when the incident energy level is above 12 cal/cm2 why does Oberon Company sell a 25 cal/cm2 hard cap and shield combo with a balaclava?

There are many standards involved when dealing with electrical safety in the workplace.  NFPA 70E and CSA Z462 both help to lay the groundwork for companies to create electrical safety programs that protect the welfare and safety of their workers.  While these standards are a great reference for companies to review, they can not cover all situations or environments.  In Article 90 of the NFPA 70E standards certain industries are excluded and are listed below.

  1. Installations in ships, watercraft other than floating buildings, railway rolling stock, aircraft, or automotive vehicles other than mobile homes and recreational vehicles.
  2. Installations of railways for generation, transformation, transmission, or distribution of power used exclusively for operation of rolling stock or installations used exclusively for signaling and communications purposes.
  3. Installations of communications equipment under the exclusive control of communications utilities located outdoors or in building spaces used exclusively for such installations.
  4. Installations under the exclusive control of an electric utility.
These exclusions create some confusion on what to reference should electrical work need to be on installations of this nature.  The National Electric Safety Code or NESC attempts to solve this issue by providing ground rules for safeguarding of persons during the installation, operation, or maintenance of power, telephone, cable TV,, and railroad signal systems.  This is of particular importance when discussing Arc Flash PPE.  Since the installations listed above are not covered by NFPA 70E standards, they will refer to NESC guidelines when selecting Arc Flash PPE.
In Part 4, Section I of the NESC guidelines it states the following.
  • I. Clothing
    1. Employees shall wear clothing suitable for the assigned task and the work environment.
    2. When employees will be exposed to an electric arc, clothing or clothing system shall be worn in accordance with Rule 410A3.
    3. When working in the vicinity of energized lines or equipment, employee should avoid wearing exposed metal articles.
If we then look at Rule 410A3 it states that if an assessment determines a potential employee exposure greater then 2cal/cm2 exists that the installation should, “Require employees to cover the entire body with an arc rated clothing and equipment having an effective arc rating not less than the anticipated level of arc energy.”   This requirement does not stipulate the specific type of Arc Flash PPE to be used, just that it is appropriately rated and covers the entire body.  As a result, workers such as Powerline Technician may have a need for a 20+ cal/cm2 ensemble that allows for maximum flexibility while working.  Oberon Company created an arc flash kit for just such occasions.  It is consists of a coverall, hard cap and shield, balaclava, and kitbag.  All of the components of this kit are rated to protect the worker up to exposure levels of 25 cal/cm2.  We call this kit the TCG25-CKE-NB Series.