Safer start to New Year for Ausgrid electrical crews

Ausgrid is introducing safer arc-rated protective clothing for its electricity workers on January 1, 2015, to better protect them from hazardous arc flashes. An arc flash is an arcing electrical fault that can generate a large amount of heat and may ignite flammable materials or cause serious burn injuries to anyone nearby.

This safety initiative commenced in 2011 and includes extensive lab testing and field trials and consultation. All Ausgrid employees who undertake Electrical Safety Rules training will be wearing the new arc-rated clothing when carrying out field-based duties.

While cotton clothing provides protection up to the point that it ignites, it is flammable, and once ignited will continue to burn. Arc-rated fabric is ‘self-extinguishing’ and will not continue to burn after the arc is extinguished.

The new workwear includes a high-visibility orange shirt and navy-blue cargo-style trousers, or overalls with an orange upper torso and navy lower torso and legs. The workwear is constructed from a flame-retardant fabric with an Arc Thermal Performance Value (ATPV) of 6 calories/cm2.

External contractors and Accredited Service Providers will also be required to wear arc-rated clothing around the Ausgrid network from July 1, 2015.