Arc Week Season 2, Ep. 3: “You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat” – CAT 3 & 4 Arc Flash Suits

Tyndale presents Arc Week: a unique, week-long educational look at the world of arc flash hazards through the lens of Shark Week. Join Scott Margolin – our dedicated technical expert by day and passionate shark enthusiast in his free time – for engaging, memorable parallels that bring important lessons about risk protection and PPE to life.
Catch it all: Season 1,
Season 2, Season 3.

So far in Season 2, we’ve taken a look at PPE for CAT 1 & 2 tasks and layering for hazards above CAT 2 (from 8-20 cal/cm2). Today, our host Scott Margolin is joined by special guest Rich Gojdics, Vice President of Business Development at Enespro PPE, to answer frequently-asked questions about PPE for CAT 3 & CAT 4 hazards – with some help from the plot of a famous shark movie:

How do we decide when layering dailywear is no longer adequate and we need an arc flash suit?

It all comes down to the incident energy potential and the arc rating of your AR clothing. Specifically, the limiter is the arc rating available in pants. When potential incident energies approach or exceed 18-20 cal/cm2, which is the ceiling of the arc rating on most pants (Scott talks about why in Episode 2), it’s time to switch from a layering approach to an arc flash suit.

When the incident energy dictates we use an arc flash suit, how do we decide between a CAT 3 and a CAT 4 suit?

Most of the market uses 40 cal/cm2 (CAT 4) suits to protect the worker in both CAT 3 and CAT 4 tasks. Enespro PPE is leaning into innovation for CAT 4 products, resulting in lightweight, easy-to-use CAT 4 suits that can be used in both hazard categories without compromising on comfort.

What variables should I consider in my purchasing process for CAT 4 suit?

CAT 4 kit pieces have advanced significantly – for example, hoods are now available with fans and lift-front face shields, and face shields themselves have changed in color from yellow-green to clear gray. In terms of the suit, look for comfort features – not just suits that are light in weight, but suits that are designed to maximize range of motion, with features like ventilation under the arms, and other attributes that make them easy to take on and off.

How do we transport and protect the suit?

Gone are the large, nondescript bags that were used to house previous generations of arc flash suits. Now, bags have structure to protect the face shield during storage and transport, and have evolved in other ways to free workers’ hands and make it easier for them to get to where they’re needed for quick energized tasks. In fact, some bags even resemble backpacks. If you like the idea of a backpack kit enclosure, beware: not just any backpack will do. Look out for a backpack that’s specifically designed for electrical PPE, one that can properly house and protect your gloves, balaclava, and face shield.

Do you have a flash fire – rather than an arc flash – hazard? It’s critical that workers wear the right PPE, and wear it properly. Don’t just take our word for it; see for yourself in these real-world flash fire demonstrations featuring all sorts of common non-FR and FRC worn properly and improperly. Reach out to a National Account Executive today to check out the latest technology the industry has to offer – enhancing safety, comfort, and compliance.

Check out Episode 4: Famous Sharks & Arcs Through History. Special guest Duane Siders, Chief Revenue Officer at National Safety Apparel (NSA), joins our host Scott Margolin to look back at some of the most famous arcs in history – and how far we’ve come. But not before we take a look back at some of the most famous sharks in history, Arc Week style. Trust us, it’s one for the record books.


Series: Arc Week

What do sharks and electric arcs have in common? Watch the full series to find out. In each episode you’ll find engaging, memorable parallels that bring important lessons about risk protection and PPE to life. Visit each season’s hub to catch it all:

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