The importance of wearer trials when purchasing arc flash PPE

Published:  26 May, 2021

In a heavily regulated world where garments have to be tested to high standards, purchasing decisions around PPE are often based on test results alone. While protection has to be the number one consideration when specifying PPE, comfort should not be overlooked. If PPE isn’t comfortable it can result in the wearer compromising their safety.

This is where wearer trials play an important role. Mark Lant* explains further Awearer trial gives people in the field the chance to try out PPE while actually doing the job. This means they can experience what it’s like to wear the jackets, trousers, polo shirts and other garments while performing the tasks they are expected to.

When trialling garments, it’s important to ask for feedback about comfort, fit, and whether the wearer can move, bend and stretch the way they need to for the tasks they do. It’s also worth checking whether there are enough pockets, and if they are in the right places. All of these factors are important as the kit needs to not only protect from hazards but enable the wearer to get on and do their job.

Why are wearer trials so important?

PPE needs to enable people to do their job, while giving them protection from hazards. However, it is only as good as a worker’s willingness to wear it properly.

For any arc flash protection garment to do its job effectively it must be worn properly buttoned or zipped up so that parts of the skin aren’t exposed to a potential arc flash blast, which could lead to a whole host of injuries. And if a garment is not comfortable to wear, it makes it more tempting for the wearer to roll up their sleeves or undo their jacket to gain more freedom of movement while carrying out their tasks, ultimately putting them at risk of serious or even life-threatening injury. This is why wearer trials are crucial in ensuring your team’s safety

How do wearer trials make your team safer?

A successful wearer trial means you can feel safe in the knowledge that your team will feel comfortable wearing and working in their PPE, ensuring their protection should the worst happen.

A garment can offer the ultimate protection, but if an operative does not feel comfortable wearing it, that protection diminishes when they choose not to wear the garment correctly. Through wearer trials, you can identify in advance any potential pressure points with the PPE garments that you are considering and find suitable alternatives where necessary.

This allows you to be sure that you are specifying PPE for your team that not only offers effective protection to your team, but that your team will be only too happy to wear in the manner they are designed to be worn.

*Mark Lant is technical expert at ProGARM

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