Dangers of Improper Wear: Episode 1 – Insect Repellents

Our Dangers of Improper Wear series examines many of the common mistakes people make when wearing arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing, with real-world arc flash video footage that shows just how substantial each mistake can be. In each episode, you’ll find powerful examples of why wearing the right PPE, and wearing it properly, makes all the difference – with expert commentary from Scott Margolin, Vice President of Technical.

Welcome to episode #1 of our Dangers of Improper Wear blog and video series!

Let’s join our guide, Tyndale’s Vice President of Technical, Scott Margolin as he explains today’s improper wear topic: Insect Repellents. We focus on the differences between two insect repellents – and discover the impact each has on wearer safety. And, we’ll give valuable insight on how to avoid choosing poorly.

Arc rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing are valuable tools to keep you safe on the job, and they will do their job during an arc flash. But, when covered with a flammable substance (in this case, DEET insect repellent) they will ignite and burn just as quickly as a non-FR garment.

Many insect repellents have flammable components, and it’s difficult to tell by reading the ingredients listing alone. The only way to know for sure is to test these insect repellents in a live arc-flash scenario.


This video shows an AR / FR long sleeve button-up shirt. The right side (khaki) is pre-treated with Perimeter Insect Guard that is approved for use on AR / FR clothing – good for 50 launderings. The left side (navy) is pre-treated with a DEET-based repellent. Both are exposed to the same arc flash.

We can see from the video, once the arc happens there is an immediate flame produced on the left side (navy) that was pre-treated with a DEET-based repellent. The fire rapidly spreads across the left side as the DEET is both flammable and has a significant fuel load. You'll notice the face shield begins to melt as the face shield is arc-rated, but not able to handle a sustained fire. This video shows the significant impact of adding DEET (fuel) to an AR / FR garment, and why this is a major improper wear no-no.

Up next, we turn our focus to meltable base layers, and why they are a significant hazard when exposed to an arc flash. Stay tuned for those videos next week!

Share this page to help others avoid these common AR / FR clothing mistakes that can have devastating consequences. You could save a life!


Series: The Dangers of Improper Wear

Have you ever made any of these PPE mistakes? Follow along with our Dangers of Improper Wear series as we share powerful videos, each focusing on a common mistake made when wearing AR / FR clothing. Watch and learn – it could save your life.

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