Frequently Asked Questions

Gloves should be sent to an accredited laboratory for retesting. To find a laboratory in your area, you can visit the North American Independent Laboratories for Protective Equipment Testing (NAIL for PET) site: http://www.nail4pet.org.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 1910.137(c)(2)(viii), all electrical gloves must be tested periodically and prior to being placed into service. All glove manufacturers incorporate some form of production code or date coding to indicate the date of initial testing. Rubber insulating gloves must be tested before first issue and every six months thereafter or upon indication that the insulating value is suspect; after repair; and after use without protectors. Also, if the insulating equipment has been electrically tested but not issued for service, the insulating equipment may not be placed into service unless it has been electrically tested within the previous 12 months. For additional information on in-service care of electrical gloves reference ASTM F496-14a. 

These testing requirements can sometimes be a little confusing to interpret. Here’s an example: You’re considering using your electrical gloves for the first time on January 1, 2017, and notice the date stamp is November 1, 2016. Would you need to get the gloves retested before use? No, because you will be putting the gloves into service within the allowable 12 month window.


No, Oberon does not offer a lift front option. Oberon believes that these types of hoods are extremely dangerous due to the increased likelihood of the user opening the hood within the arc flash boundary. Since Oberon invented the first ever arc flash suit hood in 1987, we have promoted the safest possible product solutions for worker safety. The bee-keeper traditional style hood provides more protection than a lift front style by fully protecting the workers face and head.  It is critical to not expose any part of the body (especially the face) inside of the arc flash boundary. Oberon believes that the combination of our TCG clear lens technology with exceptional clarity and our Hood Ventilation System (HVS) as a total protective system prevent any need for the worker to compromise their safety by lifting the front of their hood.

A common misperception is that a person wearing an arc rated suit is “bullet proof” from the hazards associated with electricity. There are 3 main potential hazards when working with electricity: Electric Shock, Arc Flash and Arc Blast. An arc flash suit can protect you from an arc flash provided that the incident energy level that the suit is exposed to is equal to or less than what the suit is rated for.  All arc tested suits will come labeled with an estimated APTV level measured in calories/cm2.  Oberon recommends having a risk assessment done before working on any electrical equipment to help identify the possible risks associated with the work task to be performed.  Once this analysis is done the appropriate APTV level needed can be determined and the proper PPE selected.

This leaves two other potential electrical hazards that could potentially harm you.  The arc blast is high pressure sound wave that is caused by a sudden arc fault.  It can cause molten metal droplets to be propelled at high speeds as well as sudden expansion of air pressure that can blast out.  An arc flash suit offers some protection from these types hazards, but only in a limited capacity.  For instance, if a blast pressure wave were to be strong enough to propel a worker across a room an arc flash suit would not be able to protect the worker from the force of the wave.

The last type of electrical hazard that a worker can be exposed to is electrical shock.  Shocks are caused when contact is made by a worker with an electrical energy source.  Arc flash suits are not tested or designed to protect workers from this type of hazard.  Typically workers will wear rubber electrical gloves with leather protectors when there is a risk of electrical shock while performing their work task.

This is a challenging topic to consider as many variables must be considered when determining when an arc flash suit needs to be replaced.  Things like the age of a suit, frequency of use, laundering care, and the environment your suit is stored in can all play roles in how long it will last.  Oberon recommends  a pre and post inspection after every use of your arc flash suit.  The diagram below lists out some common things to look for when doing your evaluation.




In the end, the final determination on when to replace your suit should be a part of your established electrical safety program.  Please contact your local Oberon Company representative if further assistance is needed.

Selecting appropriate arc flash PPE knowing only the voltage is impossible.  You must have the fault clearing time and the available fault current as well as the voltage.  If the equipment is in normal operating condition, you may be able to utilize the NFPA 70E 130.7 tables to select appropriate arc rated PPE.

No, it is impossible to know what protection is necessary without first completing an arc flash risk assessment. While it is true that the majority of energized work does fall within Arc Flash PPE Category 2 or have thermal incident exposure values below 8 cal/cm2, you can’t assume anything. You must use either the Incident Energy Analysis Method or Arc Flash PPE Category Method as part of your arc flash risk assessment to determine what protection is necessary.

Voltage does not determine the arc flash hazard. Knowing the voltage is only one piece of determining Arc Flash PPE. The electrode orientation, available fault current (amps), the working distance between the worker and the equipment, the clearing time of the circuit protection device, the spacing between conductors or from a conductor to ground, the number of phases, whether the conductors are in an enclosure, and the equipment configuration must all be considered when determining the potential severity of an arc flash hazard. NFPA 70E provides two methods for the selection of arc flash PPE as part of an overarching requirement to complete an arc flash risk assessment. The two selection methods are;

  • Incident energy analysis method. Often referred to as an “arc flash study”, requires engineering calculations to determine the potential thermal incident energy in the event of an arc flash. Arc flash PPE is then selected so the arc rating (protection) matches or exceeds the calculated incident energy. Both the thermal incident energy and protective arc ratings are calculated as calories per square centimeter (cal/cm2).
  • Arc flash PPE category method. Otherwise known as the “table method”, involves a simplified approach using the tables from within the Standard to determine a category number from 1-4 and corresponding arc flash PPE minimum requirements. The table method requires validation of the parameters used in the creation of the categories, otherwise the user is forced into using the incident energy analysis method. Refer to Oberon’s catalog on page #5 for arc flash PPE category product information.

Either, but not both, arc flash PPE selection methods can be used on the same piece of equipment. The engineering calculations used in the incident energy analysis method cannot be used to specify an arc flash PPE category. Keep both methods separate and document your decision making processes within your company’s Electrical Safety Program.

The bottom line is that you can’t rely on voltage alone to figure out what arc flash PPE you need. NFPA 70E requires the employer to complete an arc flash risk assessment. If additional protective measures are required, arc flash PPE can be applied as a control to mitigate the risk of an arc flash. Refer to the latest edition of the NFPA 70E Standard to learn more about the requirements for an arc flash risk assessment.

There are three different types of arc-rated flame resistant (FR) fabrics available on the market; Treated non-inherently FR fabrics, Inherently FR fabrics and Treated Inherently FR fabrics. Treated non-inherently FR fabrics, either 100% cotton, or cotton blends, have no flame resistant properties and require a chemical treatment application to become flame resistant. (FRT) Inherent fabrics are engineered to be flame resistant (IFR), and there is no chemical that needs to be added to them for their protective capabilities. Treated Inherently FR fabrics are when traditional Inherently FR fabrics are treated using a similar process to non-inherently FR fabrics, resulting in a lightweight inherently FR fabric that provides more protection. Regardless of the type of FR fabric, the material must still be arc-rated with either an Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV) or an Energy Break-open Threshold (EBT).

Arc Flash PPE is tested to determine its protective ability, this is called an arc rating. This testing is done on the fabric or a finished product using various different testing methods according to applicable Standards. Arc-rated clothing provides insulation that protects a worker from the thermal incident energy caused by an arc flash incident.

There are various different types of arc ratings. In North America, the most popular product options have an ATPV or EBT rating. An arc rating is reported as either ATPV or EBT, whichever is the lower value. The ELIM is a new way to evaluate the arc thermal resistance properties to select PPE with a lower risk of a worker skin burn injury. All of these values are provided in calories per square centimeter (cal/cm2).

ATPV: Arc Thermal Performance Value, the incident energy level at which there is a 50% probability of sufficient heat transfer to cause the onset of a second-degree skin burn injury.

EBT: Break-open Threshold Energy, the incident energy level at which there is a 50% probability of the formation of holes or tears in the layer closest to the skin.

ELIM: Incident Energy Limit, the highest incident energy data point without breakopen and without reaching the onset of a second-degree skin burn injury

The most common type of arc rating is the Arc Thermal Performance Value, or ATPV. Selecting PPE with an arc rating that matches or exceeds the highest level of potential thermal incident energy exposure from an arc flash incident, is critical in protecting your electrical workers. It is critical to know the incident energy potential of the equipment in your electrical environment to effectively choose the correct Arc-Rated PPE with the appropriate arc-rating.