List of Documents and Appendices

Applies to: 

  • Employees who work on electrical equipment that is or may be energized
  • Supervisors of electrical workers

Does not apply to: 

  • Users of plug and cord electrical equipment


The Electrical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) program provides requirements to ensure electrical workers are protected from electrical hazards while working on electrical equipment. Employees who work with electrical equipment shall be provided with appropriate electrical PPE and be knowledgeable in the selection, use, limitations, inspection, donning, doffing, and maintenance of PPE.


This electrical personal protective equipment procedure provides guidelines for determining when electrical PPE is required and how to select, use and maintain electrical PPE. This procedure describes electrical hazards, including electrical shock and burns, arc flash burns, arc-blast impacts, and other potential electrical safety hazards. Refer to NFPA 70E for additional guidance.

Definitions (See Appendix A)

 Arc Flash Risk Assessment

An arc flash risk assessment is a process to determine if an arc flash hazard exists. If it does, the risk assessment shall determine the appropriate safety-related work practices, the arc flash boundary, and the personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used within the arc flash boundary.

Arc Flash Suit

A complete AR (Arc-Rated) clothing and equipment system that covers the entire body, except for the hands and feet.  Arc-Rated apparel is a broad category of clothing designed to protect employees from electrical arc events during completion of energized tasks. (Such a suit typically includes pants, jacket, and a “beekeeper” style hood fitted with a face shield). (see NFPA 70E 130.7(C))

Arc Hazard

A dangerous condition associated with the possible release of energy caused by an electric arc. 

Arc Rating

The maximum incident energy resistance demonstrated by a material (or a layered system of materials) prior to “breaking open” or at the onset of a second-degree skin burn.  This rating is assigned to electrical protective clothing and is normally expressed in calories per square centimeter (cal/cm2).  (See NFPA 70E-9)


A distance from an electrical device or system which are used to specify what activities and personnel are allowed, and what personal protective equipment are required within that distance from the electrical device or system. Two independent boundary categories exist: arc flash and shock protection.  Within shock protection there are also two boundaries defined: limited approach and restricted approach.

Boundary, Arc Flash

Distance from exposed live parts within which a person could receive a second-degree burn if an electrical arc flash were to occur.  This boundary may only be crossed by a qualified person wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).

Boundary, Shock Protection

The shock protection boundaries identified as limited approach boundary and restricted approach boundary shall be applicable where approaching personnel are exposed to energized electrical conductors or circuit parts.

Boundary, Limited Approach

The distance from an exposed energized electrical conductor or circuit part within which a shock hazard exists.

Boundary, Restricted Approach

The distance from an exposed energized electrical conductor or circuit part within which there is an increased likelihood of electric shock, due to electrical arc-over combined with inadvertent movement, for personnel working in close proximity to the energized electrical conductor or circuit part.


Free from any electrical connection to a source of potential difference and from electrical charge; not having a potential different from that of the earth.

Electrically Safe Work Condition

A state in which an electrical conductor or circuit part has been disconnected from energized parts, locked/tagged in accordance with NCSU policy, tested to ensure the absence of voltage, and grounded if determined necessary.


Electrically connected to, or is, a source of voltage.


Capable of being inadvertently touched or approached nearer than a safe distance by a person. It is applied to electrical conductors or circuit parts that are not suitably guarded, isolated, or insulated.


A source of possible injury or damage to health.


Involving exposure to at least one hazard.

Incident Energy

The amount of thermal energy impressed on a surface, a certain distance from the source, generated during an electrical arc event.  Incident energy is typically expressed in calories per square centimeter (cal/cm2).

Live Parts

Energized conductive components.


Activities which promote the operation or extend the life of equipment or systems.


An acronym for “Personal Protective Equipment”.

Shock Hazard

A dangerous condition associated with the possible release of energy caused by contact or approach to energized electrical conductors or circuit parts.

Qualified Person

One who has demonstrated the skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training to identify and avoid the hazards involved.

Unqualified Person

A person who is not a qualified person. A person who has not received safety training and/or who has not demonstrated the skills and knowledge related to the construction and operations of electrical equipment and installations.

Working Distance

The distance from the source/origin of a potential arc flash and the plane defined by the employee’s face and chest. Note: The working distance as defined by the table method is fixed, whereas it can vary when the incident energy method is employed.

Working Near

Any activity within a limited approach boundary.

Working On

Intentionally coming in contact with energized electrical conductors or circuit parts with the hands, feet, or other body parts, with tools, probes, or with test equipment, regardless of the personal protective equipment (PPE) a person is wearing.


  • Supervisors, Departments, and Managers
    1. Ensure that hazards of tasks are evaluated to determine what protective equipment is required by using a documented PPE Hazard Assessment Form.
    2. Ensure that employees are provided with and use electrical personal protective equipment.
    3. Ensure employees receive training in the selection, use, limitations, inspection, donning, doffing, and maintenance of PPE and maintain documentation of such training.
    4. Understand the proper use of the precautionary techniques, applicable electrical policies and procedures, PPE, insulating and shielding materials, and insulated tools and test equipment.
  • Employees
    1. Follow safe work practices described in this procedure.
    2. Attend all training required relative to this program.
    3. Use electrical PPE as required.
    4. Report any concerns related to electrical safety personal protective equipment to their supervisor.

Electrical Hazards

  • Electrical workers are exposed to electrical hazards when working on or near electrical equipment that may be energized at or above 50 volts AC or DC. Working near electrical equipment means placing any body part within the limited approach, restricted approach, or arc flash boundaries.
  • Electrical hazards include shock hazards and arc flash hazards.
  • Shock Hazard:
    1. The level of shock hazard is determined by the voltage to which the employee may be exposed. PPE is selected based on the level of shock hazard.
    2. Mandatory Appendix B specifies the shock protective PPE and other shock protective equipment required.
    3. Shock protective PPE is required for parts of the body potentially exposed to the shock hazard.
  • Arc Flash Hazard:
    1. Arc flash hazards are determined by the incident energy in the electrical equipment and must be determined by calculation or using appropriate NFPA 70E tables. Arc rated PPE must provide protection at or above the rated incident energy level or PPE category level.
    2. Typically, arc rated PPE incudes apparel that protects all body parts.
  • Approach Boundaries
    1. Limited and restricted approach boundaries for shock protection are described in Mandatory Appendix C for AC and DC Systems. Electrical PPE is required when working on or near equipment within the limited or restricted approach boundary.
    2. The arc flash boundary is identified in Mandatory Appendix D for AC systems and Mandatory Appendix E for DC systems. Arc rated PPE is required for working on or near equipment within the arc flash boundary

Other Hazards:

  • Working on or near electrical equipment may expose employees to other hazards including falls from elevation, slips, trips, or falls, lacerations from sharp edges or tools, pinch and nip points and rotating equipment from electrical driven gears and motors, heat, cold, or burns, and atmospheric hazards when working in confined or enclosed spaces.
  • These hazards must also be considered when selecting PPE for electrical hazards.

General Requirements for Electrical PPE

  • NC State will provide electrical PPE required by this program. Qualified employees shall use appropriately rated shock and arc rated PPE for the specific body part to be protected, as specified by the manufacturer.
  • PPE shall be tested and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Employees are responsible for providing compliant under layers of clothing made from natural fibers.
  • Exposed body parts shall be protected with nonconductive materials.
  • Protective equipment and clothing intended for protection from an arc flash must be rated by the manufacturer for use in the environment where the energized equipment is located.
  • Arc rated clothing is tested and rated as an assembly.
    1. Qualified employee shall always use all components of the assembly required by the manufacturer.
    2. Qualified employees shall not mix components from other arc rated manufacturers unless permitted to by the manufacturer. Specific under layers, undergarments, safety glasses, and hearing protection devices are typically not specified by the manufacturers of arc rated outer wear.

PPE Hazard Assessments

  • General Requirements
    1. PPE hazard assessments shall be performed, using the PPE Hazard Assessment Form, to determine if hazards are present or are likely to be present which require the use of personal protective equipment per 29CFR1910, Subpart I, 29CFR1926, Subpart E, and NFPA 70E.
    2. For each task, determine the electrical hazards and potential electrical hazards to all parts of the body and determine what PPE provides appropriate protection.
    3. For arc flash protection, Mandatory Appendix F describes specific tasks for which arc rated PPE is or is not required.
  • Body Protection Information

Appendix G Body Part Information provides information on the selection of PPE to protect the body from injury.  Determine PPE requirements for specific body parts, as listed below.

  1. Head and Face protection:
    • Nonconductive hardhats shall be worn when whenever there is a danger of head injury from electric shock or burns due to contact with live parts or from flying objects resulting from an electrical arc flash explosion.
    • Arc rated hoods protect the entire head.
    • Balaclavas fit over the head to cover the forehead, cheeks and chin. This protection extends down to shield the neck over a full 360 degrees. In addition the front of the balaclava can be pulled up over the mouth to provide additional protection for the face. The protective mask does not cover the eyes
  2. Eye protection:
    1. Employees shall wear PPE for the eyes and face whenever there is a danger of injury from electric arcs, flashes, or from flying objects resulting from an electrical explosion.
  • Face shields with the appropriate arc flash rating (in cal/cm2) shall be used for electrical work. Safety glasses or goggles must always be worn underneath face shields.
  • Nonconductive safety glasses or goggles are to be worn.
  • Eye protection may be tinted to protect from flash injury. If necessary, use additional illumination when using tinted face shields during electrical work.
  1. Torso and Limb protection:
    1. Employees shall wear nonconductive protection for the torso and limb whenever there is danger of injury from exposure to electric arcs, flashes, or from flying objects resulting from an electrical arc flash explosion.
  • Electrical workers shall wear arc rated natural fiber apparel such as long sleeve shirts, long pants, jackets, coats, bib overalls, or coveralls to protect the torso and limbs from arc flash hazards.
  • PPE must be arc rated at or above the incident energy or category level of the equipment being worked on.
  1. Hearing protection :

Hearing protection is required when working in the arc flash boundary. Hearing protective inserts are used to protect the employee in the event of an arc blast. The sound pressure level of an arc flash incident could exceed 140 decibels.

  1. Hand protection:
    1. Employees shall wear rubber-insulating gloves and properly sized leather protectors where there is a danger of hand or arm injury due to contact with live parts or possible exposure to arc flash burn.
    2. Rubber gloves are used for shock protection. Rubber gloves must be tested after each use if not worn with leather protectors.
  • Rubber and leather protective sleeves shall be worn together in combination
  1. Foot protection:

Electrical workers shall wear leather EH-rated footwear. Shoes should be clean and free of oil and debris.

  1. Under Garments:
    • Employees are responsible for providing compliant under layers of clothing that must be made from natural fibers.
    • Non-melting flammable garments (i.e. cotton, wool, rayon, silk, or blends of these materials) may be used as under layers beneath AR apparel.
    • Conductive items should not be worn underneath protective clothing. Examples include jewelry, metal belt buckles, rings, bracelets
    • Meltable fibers such as acetate, nylon, polyester, polypropylene, or spandex shall not be permitted in fabric undergarments next to the skin. An incidental amount of elastic used on non-melting fabric underwear or socks is allowed.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Selection and Use

  • Shock and Arc Rated PPE
    1. Shock protective equipment selection must be determined based on the voltage. Mandatory Appendix B describes shock protective PPE and other shock protective equipment.
    2. Arc rated PPE selection can be determined by incident energy level or by category method. The incident energy method (IE) is the preferred method.
      1. Incident Energy Method: Arc Rated PPE is based on Incident Energy levels of the equipment to be worked on. Labels on equipment may indicate the incident energy level which can then be used to select PPE. See Appendix H for sample labels.
  • Arc Rated PPE is required for incident energy levels above 1.2 cal/cm2.
  • For each piece of equipment, determine the incident energy by calculation.
  • Label equipment to indicate the calculated IE level.
  • IE level may also be indicated on the single line diagrams.
  • Select PPE rated for the calculated IE level or higher.
    1. Category Method (also called the “Table Method”)
  • PPE determination using the Category Method (Table Method) may only be done by a Qualified Person.
  • The planned work must exactly match the equipment and conditions specified in the applicable appendix. If any equipment conditions or parameters are not specified in the appendix, the category method cannot be used.
  • Mandatory Appendix D identifies the PPE Category required for working on the specified equipment and operating parameters for AC systems. Appendix D also specifies the arc flash boundary distance.
  • Mandatory Appendix E identifies the PPE Category required for working on the specified equipment and operating parameters for DC systems. Appendix E also specifies the arc flash boundary distance.
  • Mandatory Appendix I specifies the required PPE assembly for each category.
    • All components of the assembly are required.
    • Clothing and undergarments worn under arc rated PPE must be natural fiber.
    • Leather footwear must be EH rated.
  • Electrical PPE Selection and Use
    1. PPE hazard Assessment – Use Mandatory PPE Hazard Assessment Form.
      • Determine the task to be performed.
      • Identify Required PPE.
    2. Inspect PPE for deficiencies before use. Inspection Guidance can be found in Mandatory Appendix J
    3. Don PPE
      • Undergarments must be made of natural fibers or non-melting flammable garments
      • Exposed body parts must be protected from the electrical hazard
      • Use PPE according to manufacturers’ requirements
      • Use ALL required PPE
    4. Perform Task wearing required PPE
    5. Properly maintain and store PPE according to Appendix J

Care and Maintenance, Mandatory Appendix J

PPE must be maintained in a safe, reliable condition and shall be inspected or tested as required by the manufacturer and OSHA 29CFR1910.137(c). Specific requirements can be found in Mandatory Appendix J. Protective items that may be contaminated with grease, oil, flammable liquids or combustible liquids shall not be used. Manufacturer’s apparel instructions shall be followed.


  • Employees who are exposed to an electrical hazard, and their supervisors, are required to know the following:
    1. When PPE is necessary
    2. What PPE is necessary
    3. How to properly, don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE
    4. The limitations of the PPE
    5. The proper inspection, care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of the PPE.
  • Re-training is required when:
    1. Changes in the workplace require additional or new types of PPE
    2. Changes in the types of PPE to be used require new information be provided

Use of PPE indicate that the employee lack understandi