WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Sailors aboard U.S. Navy ships soon will have new protective clothing for low voltage maintenance work, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) announced, Jan 26.
A new type of coverall featuring flame resistant fabric and accompanying safety equipment will provide Sailors greater comfort and protection against arc flashes. Sailors will be able to use the coveralls like standard shipboard coveralls while conducting initial voltage verification checks, fuse removal, authorized energized work, or when an electrical circuit breaker is installed or removed.
"The new electrical safety coveralls are designed for initial voltage verification or approved work on energized equipment, and are designed to protect Sailors from inherent heat, excessive pressure," said Khosrow Moniri, NAVSEA electrical systems technical warrant holder.
Sailors can expect to use the coveralls and associated equipment such as a face shield by late spring, on board naval ships with electrical systems between 300 and 1,000 volts, such as Arleigh Burke destroyers.
The clothing compliments existing heavier and bulkier coveralls designed for high voltage verification checks on board naval ships with electrical systems greater than 1,000 volts, such as aircraft carriers.
The low- and high-voltage coveralls are rated at 12-calorie and 40-calorie (per centimeter squared). NAVSEA determined that these ratings adequately provide the required amount of thermal energy protection based on National Fire Protection Association and U.S. naval warship design criteria. The calorie/cm-squared rating represents a value of the energy necessary to pass through any given fabric to cause a 50 percent probability of a second or third degree burn.
Both types of coveralls protect Sailors against arc flashes, which occur when an electrical current passes through air gaps between ungrounded conductors or between conductors and grounded components. Use of electrical systems on board U.S. Navy ships is increasing rapidly. Accordingly, the probability of arc flashes increases as well. The blast or explosion that results from arc flash may be fatal or cause major injuries such as burns, the loss of eyesight and hearing.
"While arc flashes don't happen often, this new safety equipment represents a significant advancement in how we protect our Sailors," said Moniri.