Safety Culture

Redefining PPE Classifications for NFPA 70E: HRC 0 is Gone

By Bryan Cole

Changes are coming to the way we refer to personal protective equipment (PPE) classifications in NFPA 70E, according to an article on e-Hazard. The new NFPA 70E 2015 version, due in August or September of 2014, eliminates the commonly used term HRC (Hazard/Risk Category), which described the level of PPE needed for specific tasks in the PPE tables. Instead, the new NFPA 70E will use the term “arc rated PPE category,” or simply “PPE level.”

It should be noted that HRC has never been required on clothing. ASTM F1506 and other arc-flash standards such as ASTM F1891 (rainwear), ASTM F2178 (eye and face protection) or ASTM F2675 (gloves) do not require HRC levels; they require that the cal/cm2 garment rating be used.

The HRCs have become common on clothing, and the levels are still there, but will be called PPE categories or PPE levels. The categories remain essentially the same. For example, the current HRC 3, encompassing the range of 25 to 39 cal/cm2, will still be PPE level 3, etc. (see chart). The author recommends using something like ARC1, ARC2, etc., to keep something like the HRC and still be clear to the end user if you choose to use these levels on labels.

redefining PPE Class image








Why did they remove the HRC term? The “risk” has been eliminated from the tables (if you want to use a risk model, you must develop it using Annex F), so there are far more ARC4s than in previous years. There also will be more “No PPE Required” than in previous years because the HRC 0 category has been eliminated (note there are two amendments [TIA’s ] before the NFPA 70E to put this back in, and natural fiber nonmelting clothing is required when equipment is open and the calculated hazard is <1.2 cal/cm2).

To read more of this article, please visit e-Hazard.

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