Congress Urges OSHA to Act on AR / FR Clothing for Industrial Electricians

An arc flash can reach temperatures four times hotter than the surface of the sun, but we can avoid virtually all fatal and catastrophic arc flash injuries with arc-rated and flame resistant (AR / FR) clothing. Why? Because the worst outcomes are not caused by the arc itself, but by flammable clothing igniting and burning against the skin. And because AR clothing, when properly worn, insulates the wearer from second-degree burn. However, despite the existence of both this readily-available lifesaving technology and safety standards that have been in place for 20+ years, there are still 500,000+ industrial electrical workers who are not provided proper protection from this deadly hazard. In 2020, Tyndale became a founding member of the Partnership for Electrical Safety (PES), uniting with other industry leaders to advocate for these unprotected workers.

This group engages directly with the leadership at OSHA and key Congressional committees to raise awareness and call for the protection every industrial electrical worker deserves. Specifically, PES strongly believes that:

  • Industrial electrical work should be de-energized whenever possible, and
  • The PPE requirements of NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace provide the appropriate best practices to ensure worker safety and should be broadly adopted for substantially all live or potentially live industrial electrical work in the United States.

What has this group accomplished so far? Tune in to find out:

In just a short time, PES has achieved two significant steps toward its mission of ensuring each worker has equal protection from arc flash:

  1. Both the House and the Senate have sent bipartisan letters to the Department of Labor (DOL) recognizing the issues raised by PES, agreeing with the concerns that have been raised, and urging OSHA to address arc flash PPE for the 500,000+ industrial electrical workers who are still without it.
  2. During the 2021 confirmation hearings for Doug Parker, the current Secretary of Federal OSHA, Parker acknowledged both his awareness about PES’s concerns, and indicated his willingness to work with OSHA to address them.

We remain hopeful that OSHA will act to address this critical issue and ensure that these workers are finally provided the arc flash PPE that they deserve.

Learn more about PES, monitor our progress, and get involved at https://partnershipforelectricalsafety.org/

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