Q&A: Hearing Protectors for Arc Flash

Q&A: Hearing Protectors for Arc Flash


Safety professionals in the energy sector may be concerned about the use of hearing protectors in potential arc flash environments.

In 2009, the National Fire Protection Agency published NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, defining the requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) in hazardous electrical environments.
Q.  Does NFPA 70E define an arc flash testing requirement for earplugs or earmuffs?
A.  No.  Hearing protectors fall under the category of PPE that only needs to be Flame Resistant (FR).  In short, there is no separate "arc flash requirement" for hearing protectors (as there might be for clothing or gloves or other PPE).
Q.  Are Howard Leight earplugs Flame Resistant?
A.  Yes.  All Howard Leight earplugs meet the Flame Resistance requirement, meaning they are tested for ignitability and pass this test.
Q. What earmuffs should be worn in hazardous electrical environments?
NFPA 70E states that conductive articles (such as metal headbands) should not be worn where there is danger of electrical contact with energized circuits or parts.  Dielectric (non-conductive) headbands are available for many popular earmuff models, including the Thunder, Viking and Clarity lines of Howard Leight earmuffs.
For more information, see "NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace."
Blog Author:  Brad Witt  
Blog Catagories:  Ear Plug  Ear Muff  

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