How It’s Tested: Episode 19 – ASTM F2178, Arc-Rated Eye and Face Protection

Our How it's Tested series explores safety standards and test methods for AR / FR garments and PPE. With Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical as our guide, we examine many of the major tests to understand what they measure, how they measure it, and what that means to someone like you who is specifying or wearing the garment. Whether you are a seasoned professional or just starting out, explore all episodes in this series to make sure you are up to date on the latest information.


If you work alongside the arc flash hazard, chances are you’re used to wearing a balaclava and face shield – particularly when you’re completing PPE category (CAT) 1 and CAT 2 work. Have you ever wondered how these items are tested, or what standard ensures these items – as well as the head protection you wear in higher exposures – have the performance characteristics needed to provide sufficient protection? If so, you’re not alone – this is a question we receive frequently.

The answer lies in ASTM F2178, Standard Specification for Arc Rated Eye or Face Protective Products. ASTM F2178 determines the arc rating and specifies the requirements for products intended for use as eye or face protection for workers exposed to electric arcs with incident energies greater than 2 cal. Special guest Rich Gojdics, arc flash PPE expert and Vice President at Enespro, joins Scott Margolin, Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, to break it down:

As Rich explains, ASTM F2178:

  • Assesses the protective properties of spectacles, goggles, face shields, and the components used to make arc flash hoods and
  • Measures and describes the performance of materials, products, or assemblies in response to convective and radiant energy generated by an electric arc in a lab setting.

To do this, the specification uses a test method that’s almost identical to ASTM F1959, “The Arc Rating Test,” which is used to determine the arc rating of protective fabrics (rather than finished garments). Be sure to look back at How it’s Tested episode 7 to see the fabric test in action.

However, whereas ASTM F1959 tests flat goods on a flat panel, the ASTM F2178 specification for head protection tests eye and face PPE on the head of a manikin that’s outfitted with calorimeters in the eyes and the mouth.

The data collected by the calorimeters is then used to determine an ATPV or a break-open for the component or finished ensemble, establishing the product’s arc rating.

Join us next week as Rich Gojdics returns to walk us through ASTM F2621, which specifies testing for arc flash ensembles.

 

 

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