What is NFPA 70E Compliance

The NFPA 70E Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces is a standard put out by the NFPA to help protect electrical workers from workplace hazards such as electrical shock, arc flash, and arc blast. The NFPA 70E is compatible with OSHA requirements and is used as a basis for evaluating and providing electrical safety in the workplace

Attaching embroidery and emblems that are not flame resistant

This question of the attachment of non-flame resistant embroidery and/or emblems is one that I am asked quite often from customers.

What’s “new” in 70E 2004

The 2004 edition of NFPA 70E has a new name, a new format, and a new look. The technical committee
worked diligently through the recent revision cycle to ensure that the standard contains the latest techniques to provide for maximum worker protection.

Flame Resistant Fabric

There are always many questions concerning flame resistant fabric. This list of short FAQ answers are what we hope will help you out with your concerns. There are always a basic set of questions that are asked about flame resistant fabric and the garments that are made from this material. We hope that you will find the answers here or please do give us a phone call if you would like a more in depth explanation at 888-440-4668.

Indura Garments

Indura flame resistant garments are a 100% cotton fabric that has been treated with FR properties. The flame resistance properties are implanted in the core of the thread and can not be degraded by laundering. 

How does Indura compare to inherently flame resistant garments?

Flame resistance in fabrics can be achieved either through the application of a flame retardant chemical to a fabric as with INDURA engineered fabrics or as an inherent property of the fiber, such as Nomex® IIIA synthetic fiber-fabric. Both INDURA and Nomex fabrics are acceptable for protective clothing because they each self-extinguish and pass the vertical flame test throughout their service life.

Indura Ultra Soft

Westex’s INDURA Ultra Soft flame resistant fabrics are a blend of 88% cotton and 12% high tenacity nylon. The nylon fibers are intimately blended with cotton fibers in the warp yarns. The product is engineered to focus the excellent abrasion resistance of the nylon on the face of the fabric to enhance garment wear life, while the cotton fibers are focused towards the skin to optimize comfort.

What is this new line of flame resistant cotton called Excel that Bulwark now provides?

Article on this new line of flame resistant cotton fabric that Bulwark has introduced which will replace their Indura fabric.

Nomex Fabric Characteristics

Guideline for evaluating the NOMEX® fabric for the use as a protective garment.

Nomex Garments

Nomex garments are are an inherently flame resistant synthetic fiber-fabric and has passed the vertical flammability requirements which is an essential criterion for protective clothing fabrics. Nomex fabrics are acceptable for protective clothing because they self-extinguish and pass the vertical flame test throughout their service life.


What is NFPA 70E Compliance

Workers in the electrical maintenance and electrical contractor Industry are being exposed to the risk of an electric arc flash fatality or injury.
Many workers are unaware of the potential hazards associated with the possibility of electrical arc hazards and must be made aware of the potential consequences.

Employees who are not properly protected through the 70E 2000 compliance standard may be subject to the affects and consequences of an electric arc flash.

An electric arc flash consists of a short circuit through the air that originates from electrical equipment sources. The results can be in the form of air born pieces of metal causing injury to workers and severe burns due to the amount of arc flash energy that is generated.

The general industry electrical installation standard has not been updated since 1981, so it is important that we update these requirements to reflect the most current practices and technologies in the industry,” said OSHA Administrator John Henshaw. “These changes will strengthen worker protections and help eliminate inconsistencies and possible confusion between OSHA’s requirements and many state and local building codes which have adopted updated NFPA and NEC provisions.”

Proposed changes to OSHA’s general industry electrical installation standard (1910 Subpart S) focus on safety in the design and installation of electric equipment in the workplace. The changes draw heavily from the 70E 2000 edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces (NFPA 70E), and the 2002 edition of the National Electrical Code (NEC).

The NFPA 70E 2000 compliance standard will help eliminate some of the risk to workers exposed to electric arc hazards.
Although the 70E compliance standard may seem a burden to some due to the costs of increased PPE it can be looked at as a type of arc flash insurance. Companies that do not comply with the 70E 2000 compliance standard may be subject to claims for personal injury and incidents resulting to death. This could therefore cost millions of dollars in legal costs.
Downtime may also come into affect due to the electrical arc incidents that have occurred through flashes resulting in thousands of dollars per minute. 

Electric Arc Flash has become more of a concern through the requirement of increased power consumption for Industrial applications. For this reason the 70E 2000 compliance standard has that much more benefits for the applications involved.

Electrical arc flash hazards do not just occur in the presence of high voltage industrial facilities. Locations consisting of many low voltage equipment sources actually account for the most electrical arc flash ocurrences.  

It may be that electrical personal do not realize this increased risk of electrical arc flash exposure through lack of information about the 70E 2000 compliance standards and the potential consequences of non compliance.

OSHA, enforces safety practices in the workplace. Its 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910.333 states, in part, “Safety related work practices shall be employed to prevent electric shock or other injuries resulting from either direct or indirect electrical contacts…” Traditionally, many electrical contractors have guarded primarily against electrical shock and electrocution. Many of them believe that if they don’t touch something that can shock them, then they are protected from an electrical arc flash. Clearly however, arc flash doesn’t require an electrical worker to touch a piece of energized equipment in order to be harmed; it is an example of the “other injuries” included in OSHA 1910.333.

Due to the implications of the hazard of electrical arc flash the 70E 2000 compliance standard will help promote the requirement of employee safety training for arc flash hazards.

Safety programs should involve standard practices for employees that may come into contact with electrical arc flash hazards. The use of the appropriate PPE and standards for the operation of the electrical equipment must be implemented through guidance included in the 70E 2000 compliance standards. 

Proper standard practices should be integrated into employee training programs to comply with the NFPA 70E 2000 standards. These programs should focus on such issues as on the job 70E 2000 compliance in the form of proper use of PPE associated to the electrical job task at hand. 
Electrical contractors coming on site to work that may be exposed to electric arc flash must be informed of the local safety program in order to be in compliance with the 70E 2000 standards.

As most standard practice procedures will state that the best way to prevent electrical arc flash incidents from ocurring is to lock-out or de-energize the equipment. Industry standards are now focusing on the incidents where the electrical power can not be turned off. This is where the 70E 2000 compliance standard will help ensure the safety of the workers involved.

The NFPA 70E 2000 compliance standard states that electrical workers must de-energize equipment to be worked on except in critical situations where the power must be left on.

NFPA 70E 2000 also provides tables that will determine the PPE required for certain electrical arc flash situations based on the voltage involved with the equipment being worked on.

Also of note is the OSHA and NFPA 70E standards that require that equipment to be worked on must be put into a state of being de-energized as to avoid electrical arc flash exposure. 

The use of proper PPE for the task of pre de-energizing of electrical equipment is  a safety precaution that must never be over looked.

The fact that electrical arc flash protection apparel can some times be viewed as uncomfortable can be lead to the PPE not being worn by the electrical workers. The 70E 2000 compliance standards have been introduced to protect the worker for this reason.

Pre de-energizing of electrical equipment must be performed while still in an energized state. This can lead to the possibility of an electric arc flash occurring that could cause a fatality. The use of large uncomfortable electrical PPE is a small price to pay for the insurance that a worker can return HOME safely on any given day.

The 70E 2000 compliance standard considers the fact that the risk of an electrical arc flash may ocurr within a certain area surrounding the source of electrical discharge points.
This potential arc area is determined by a number of parameters those being the voltage, current and distance from the electrical equipment.

The proper electrical arc PPE required for the job task can be determined by the use of certain software or NFPA 70E provides a table that can determine the arc risk. The table will determine the calories per square centimeter which is how the potential of electrical arc is measured.
Once this is established the appropriate PPE can be issued.

Specific software programs are available that provide a much more accurate calculation compared to the NFPA 70E tables. The NFPA 70E compliance tables can sometimes under estimate the CAL rating due to fluctuations in energy source.  

NFPA 70E has established the requirement of an on site safety program that ensures adequate electrical arc PPE is available and worn by workers.
Electrical arc can cause fatalities and/or serious burn injuries to those exposed to the area of concern.

For this reason every facility must conform to the NFPA 70E compliance for work place safety.


What’s “new” in 70E 2004

The standard governing electrical safety in the workplace has been extensively revised. Here’s what’s new and different
necdigest™, Spring 2004
by Ken Mastrullo, Ray A. Jones, and Jane G. Jones

The 2004 edition of NFPA 70E has a new name, a new format, and a new look. The technical committee worked diligently through the recent revision cycle to ensure that the standard contains the latest techniques to provide for maximum worker protection. The content was a team effort that involved committee members, alternates, task group members, and members of the public who offered proposals and comments. Proposals and comments considered by the technical committee included best practices and techniques that have proved to be effective in an industrial work environment.

New title, new cover, new look
The new title, NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the WorkplaceStandard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, is a tribute to the increasing acceptance and effectiveness of the document for providing comprehensive electrical safety for workers. The committee tried not only to increase the technical accuracy of the standard, but also to improve its user friendliness.

The committee reformatted the document to comply with the NEC Style Manual. The 2000 edition format consisted of four parts, with chapters in each part, which created some confusion. The new format provides a unique designation for each topic. Because many of the 70E users are very familiar with the NEC, the committee applied the NEC rules, such as moving explanatory, non-enforceable material to annexes and fine print notes. A new cross-reference index in the annex compares the 2000 and 2004 editions. The index is available on the 70E website.

Chapter locations reorganized
Committee members considered several proposals to reorganize the material to enhance usability and comprehension. They agreed to move the existing Part 2, Safety-Related Work Practices, to Chapter 1, for two reasons: First, safety-related work practices for workers are the main focus of the standard , and second, most questions  focus on safety-related work practices. The existing Part 3, Safety-Related Maintenance Practices, was moved from Part 3 to the new Chapter 2. The existing Part 4, Special Equipment, was relocated from Part 4 to Chapter 3. The existing Part 1, Safety-Related Installation Practices, was relocated to Chapter 4. The committee agreed to retain some NEC requirements in the body of the standard to provide an essential basis for OSHA to enforce installation requirements that are important for worker safety.

Safety-related work practices chapter reorganized
Through the hard work of a task group, the committee analyzed and reorganized the chapter on safety-related work practices to utilize the theme of the document and provide the information in a logical sequence. The task group suggested that the content of Part II be reorganized to emphasize strategic concepts that are embraced by the technical committee. Since NFPA 70E is a standard, the strategies are not stated as requirements. However, the four basic strategies discussed below are embedded within the requirements defined in the standard. The task group formulated a proposal and comment to accomplish this approach without changing the requirements.

The requirements were reorganized from the existing five chapters to three. The new articles of the chapter are general, establishing an electrically safe work condition, and working on or near live parts.

An electrically safe work condition
The primary protective strategy is to establish an electrically safe work condition. The simplicity of the strategy is that once the electrically safe work condition has been established, no electrical hazard exists. The strategy ensures that the energy has been completely removed and the worker is not at risk. Qualified persons know that the process of establishing an electrically safe work condition can be hazardous and requires the same considerations as working on live parts. Once the electrically safe work condition exists, however, all electrical hazards have been completely removed and cannot reappear. No work should ever be performed on or near live parts until this primary protective strategy has been considered.

Training is the second protective strategy and is essential for both qualified and unqualified persons. Electrical safety training must be designed to build understanding of the following issues:

  • Electrical hazards
  • Personal limitations of the workers
  • Authorization requirements
  • Approach boundaries
  • Characteristics of protective equipment

Employers must ensure that the electrical safety program includes procedures that enable workers to understand processes of the plant’s specialized equipment and then train the workers to use those procedures. Worker input, including input from workers in the actual training programs is absolutely necessary for procedures to be effective. A training program should be timely and interesting, and apply specific work tasks.

Workers understand that the hazards of working with electrical energy are unique because they are somewhat unpredictable. To prevent an incident and resulting injury, a worker must understand electrical hazards in detail. At a minimum, he or she must do the following:

  • Know where and when an electrical hazard exists.
  • Understand when and how he or she is exposed to any hazard.
  • Know how to eliminate any exposure to the hazard or how to mitigate the effects of any hazard that remains while the task is being executed.
  • Be familiar with and use the procedures and practices that are in place on the site.
  • Know and realistically accept the limits of their authority, knowledge, and skill.

Training should never be considered complete. Effective training requires continuing effort. To maintain worker knowledge at an elevated level, supervisors must review safety concepts and ideas with their workers at frequent intervals.

Planning the work
Planning the work is the third, critical protective strategy. Five considerations must be addressed for each task, and each discreet step must be considered:

  1. The plan must be discussed with other people for buy-in and assurance that it can be implemented. The discussion must ensure that each worker understands the plan in the same way.
  2. The plan should utilize a minimum number of people.
  3. The plan should be followed precisely.
  4. The plan is proved within the parameters and cannot be modified without careful review.
  5. If an unexpected condition should arise, the work needs to be re-planned before proceeding.

Personal protective equipment
The fourth protective strategy is personal protective equipment (PPE). The workers must be protected from shock, thermal hazards, flying parts and pieces, and arc blast. Workers must select and wear PPE that will offer protection from each hazard. At the same time, they should recognize that PPE only affords limited protection. Although significant advancements have been made in protective equipment and apparel, the protection is far from perfect. For example, protective apparel is highly effective for arc-flash protection, but it is limited for arc-blast protection. Should an incident occur however, only the PPE worn by the worker can intervene and prevent or minimize an injury. Because PPE is the last line of defense, it is extremely important.

Safety requirements – general industry vs. construction    
The 70E Technical Committee appointed a task group to determine if a separate chapter should be provided in the document to address the work requirements of the construction industry. Such a chapter could parallel the OSHA regulations regarding 29 CFR 1910 for General Industry and 29 CFR 1926 for Construction. The committee determined that no special section for construction is necessary and rules apply to all workers, regardless of their occupation or work category. The decision was based on the fact that electrical hazards are the same for general industry and construction. For example, if a worker is working on an energized 400-amp, 600-volt disconnect switch, he or she is exposed to the same hazard regardless of whether the setting is in general industry or in construction.

Article 100 definitions
The technical committee also modified definitions in several instances. The definitions of prohibited approach boundary, limited approach boundary, and restricted approach boundary were modified for clarity and compliance with the NEC Style Manual. The definitions of energized and live parts were updated to agree with the 2002 NEC. The terms flash protection boundary, incident energy, flame resistant (FR), arc rating, and flash hazard analysis were defined to enhance the usability of the document.

Chapter one, safety-related work practices
The new Chapter One is divided into Articles 110, 120, and 130 and includes several revisions to the work practices. Two significant additions are the multi-employer relationship policy and the energized electrical work permit. The multi-employer relationship policy was added to provide for effective communications among all parties and meet the requirements of OSHA’s multi-employer citation policy.  It raises three distinct issues:

  • More than one employer might be responsible for worker safety.
  • Information regarding procedures, hazards, and protective clothing must be shared.
  • A meeting, with documentation, is required to ensure that these issues have been addressed.

The energized electrical work permit requirement is located in Article 130, Working On or Near Live Parts. Written authorization via an energized electrical work permit is required for work on or near a circuit that is energized at 50 volts or greater. The article specifies elements that must be addressed on the permit. The permit must include, at a minimum, the following:

  • A description and location of the circuit and equipment to be worked on
  • Justification for why the work must be performed in an energized condition
  • A description of the safe work practices to be employed
  • Results of the shock-hazard analysis
  • Determination of shock-protection boundaries
  • Results of the flash-hazard analysis
  • The flash protection boundary
  • The PPE determined necessary to safely perform the assigned task
  • The means employed to restrict the access of unqualified persons to the work area
  • Evidence of completion of a job briefing, including a discussion of any job-specific hazards
  • Signatures on an energized work permit (by authorizing or responsible management, safety officer, or owner)

Testing, troubleshooting, and measuring voltage are permitted to be performed without an energized electrical work permit, provided appropriate safe work practices and PPE are provided and used in accordance with Chapter 1 of NFPA 70E–2004. It is evident that the energized work permit is a great vehicle for verifying that all parties are aware of the hazards and that the proper training, procedures, and techniques are used.

Safety-related installation requirements and annexes
The Safety-Related Installation Requirements have been updated to match the 2002 NEC. This section has been relocated, but it is retained in the document as a requirement.

All of the appendices in the 2000 Edition of 70E have been relocated to the back and have been renamed “annexes.” The sample calculations in Annex D have been modified for accuracy, and a new calculation method has been added using the basic IEEE 1584 methods. A Job Briefing and Planning Checklist has been added to provide workers with a template to develop a form for their companies. A sample energized electrical work permit was added to demonstrate the requirements in Article 130. The general categories of electrical hazards are located in Annex K, which explains electric shock, arc flash, and arc blast in user-friendly text.


Indura Garments


The Original—INDURA 100% Cotton
   Westex’s original INDURA flame resistant 100% cotton fabrics are specification materials engineered to provide optimum performance characteristics for industrial protective clothing. Introduced over a decade ago, INDURA fabrics became the first effective competitor to synthetic flame resistant fabrics. Westex utilizes high strength ring-spun yarns in the construction of the base fabric and only the highest quality dyes available for cotton fabrics are used in the dyeing process.

   Through information collected from the marketplace over the past decade, we can document an expected garment life for INDURA. The two parameters that impact most on garment life are the severity of work activity and the fabric physical and abrasion resistant characteristics.

Assuming garments are industrially laundered every other week the following guideline information can be provided for INDURA fabrics:

Service Life

36–5018–24 months

It is important to recognize that the flame resistance of INDURA is guaranteed for the life of the garment regardless of the number of servicings in either HOME or industrial laundering provided manufacturers laundering instructions are followed.

INDURA 100% cotton fabrics offer:

 Guaranteed flame resistance for the life of the garment.

 Multi-purpose protection from electric arc, flash fire, molten ferrous metal and welding exposures.

 Comfort of Cotton.

*The number of launderings cited above are based on market experience for these types of fabrics and relate to average expected wear life. These estimates do not take into account work activities leading to extreme wear and exposure to thermal sources of high heat and long duration.


How does Indura compare to inherently flame resistant garments?



   Westex guarantees the flame resistance of INDURA Ultra Soft and INDURA fabrics for the life of the garment.  We achieve this durability through our advanced proprietary processing controls. This guarantee has been demonstrated in laboratory testing and through the auditing of samples from the millions of garments in the protective clothing marketplace for over a decade.  There has never been an instance of failure to meet original FR requirements, when garments were properly maintained throughout their useful life. This high level of performance is achieved by Westex’s proprietary treatment process, which combines advanced custom engineered machinery with sophisticated computer equipment to conduct the  “ammonia cure” system.  A high quality phosphonium salt precondensate flame retardant chemical is applied and polymerized with gaseous ammonia forming a long-chain flame retardant polymer impregnated into the core of each cotton fiber.  Testing is performed on every lot of Indura Ultra Soft and Indura in Westex’s government certified laboratory..

How Does INDURA Compare To Inherently FR fabrics?

   Flame resistance in fabrics can be achieved either through the application of a flame retardant chemical to a fabric as with INDURA engineered fabrics or as an inherent property of the fiber, such as Nomex® IIIA synthetic fiber-fabric. Since passing the vertical flammability requirements is an essential criterion for protective clothing fabrics, viable flame resistant fabrics should remain flame resistant throughout their useful service life. Both INDURA and Nomex fabrics are acceptable for protective clothing because they each self-extinguish and pass the vertical flame test throughout their service life; therefore, additional more specific tests should be employed to assist in comparing the protective characteristics of each fabric. The performance of INDURA Ultra Soft and INDURA to electric arc and flash fire exposures will be compared to Nomex later in this brochure.

How Does INDURA Self Extinguish?

   In INDURA engineered fabrics, the flame retardant chemical impregnated in the core of the cotton fiber acts as a catalyst promoting the charring of the fabric. This accelerated charring prohibits the support of combustion by reducing the fuel source. The flame retardant chemical acts in the solid phase to produce this char. The mechanism of action is not based on a gaseous process of extinguishing or “snuffing out” the flame.
   It is very important that flame resistant fabrics be maintained in a clean condition to realize the full benefit of the protective characteristics. Please contact a Westex representative for advice on industrial and HOME laundering procedures to properly clean INDURA products.
   INDURA should not be laundered with hypochlorite (chlorine) bleach because repeated exposures will break down the finish and are destructive to the fabric and the color. Most flame resistant fabrics, including Nomex, bear instructions prohibiting the use of chlorine bleach because it is destructive to the fabric strength and color even if the flame resistance is not affected.


Indura Ultra Soft


The Advanced—INDURA Ultra Soft 88% Cotton 12% High Tenacity Nylon

   Westex’s INDURA Ultra Soft flame resistant fabrics are a blend of 88% cotton and 12% high tenacity nylon. The nylon fibers are intimately blended with cotton fibers in the warp yarns. These fibers are spun using ring-spinning technology to produce the highest strength fabric possible. The product is engineered to focus the excellent abrasion resistance of the nylon on the face of the fabric to enhance garment wear life, while the cotton fibers are focused towards the skin to optimize comfort.
   The fabrics are fully flame resistant and the addition of 12% nylon in no way represents a hazard to the wearer. In fact, as we will highlight later in this brochure the 12% nylon actually enhances the protective performance in some cases, such as an electric arc and flash fire exposures.

      The significant increase in the abrasion resistance of INDURA Ultra Soft has been demonstrated to increase the garment life expectancy conservatively by 50% over 100% cotton fabrics. Therefore, assuming garments of INDURA Ultra Soft are industrially laundered every other week, the following expected garment wear life can be followed:
Launderings*Service Life

60-8028–38 months

   It is important to recognize that the flame resistance of INDURA Ultra Soft is guaranteed for the life of the garment regardless of the number of servicings in either HOME or industrial laundering provided manufacturers laundering instructions are followed.

Advanced INDURA Ultra Soft flame resistant fabrics offer:

 Guaranteed flame resistance for the life of the garment.
 New softer feel for enhanced cotton comfort.
 50%+ extended garment wear life.
 Enhanced protection from electric arc and flash fire exposures.
 Multi-purpose protection from electric arc, flash fire, molten ferrous metal and welding exposures.
 Excellent value equation.



Nomex Garments


Industrial Protective Apparel

Flash fires and electric arc accidents can happen in one unforeseen, life-altering moment. One of the most effective ways professionals protect themselves from the injuries these accidents can cause is wearing the appropriate protective apparel. That’s why they wear protective apparel of NOMEX® it does not sustain combustion in the air at room temperature and will not melt, drip or burn when exposed to heat or flame.

No other protective apparel can do what NOMEX® does: offer superior protection that can stand up to the heat of electric arc accidents. Professionals who wear NOMEX® and their loved ones know they are safe from the hazards they face every day. When NOMEX® is needed, it will more than do its job, so they can concentrate on doing theirs.

Firefighter Apparel

For more than 30 years, firefighters have relied on turnout gear, station wear and accessories of NOMEX® to meet crucial performance needs like durability, mobility, outer-shell thermal damage tolerance, and facecloth friction.

Whether battling a blaze under the most intense heat imaginable, or at the station waiting for the next call to come in, NOMEX® ensures that firefighters can perform to the best of their abilities, because they know they are safe, comfortable, prepared and protected from the inside out.

The last thing firefighters want to think about is their protection. They just want to know that it’s doing all it can to protect them against the extreme conditions in which they find themselves, so, at the end of the day, they can get in touch with their families and let them know they are safe. That kind of peace-of-mind, confidence and security only comes with one brand NOMEX®.

Racing Apparel

Flash fires happen in an instant, and more often than not, when they are least expected to happen. Just ask drivers, pit crew members, track officials and firefighters in the racing industry. Many of them know first-hand how, in just one moment, injuries sustained from flash fire accidents can range from minor to life-threatening. While accidents like these, unfortunately, aren’t entirely within their control, their protection is. That’s why 95 percent of racing professionals around the world rely on flame-resistant apparel of NOMEX®.

Inherently flame-resistant, NOMEX® won’t melt, drip, burn or support combustion in the air. Performance benefits like these play a pivotal role in providing the valuable seconds racing professionals need to escape and survive these life-threatening situations. And, this protection is long-lasting ñ the exceptional flame-resistance provided by NOMEX® cannot be washed out or worn away.

NOMEX® AP fabrics/garments meet the requirements of:

• NFPA 70E
• ASTM F-1506
• CGSB 155.20
• NFPA 2112
• OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269


For an in-depth fact sheet on Nomex fabric and it’s function in garment construction and characteristics please follow the following link:

Why Do We Sell The Bulwark Product? 
Because Bulwark FR is a leader in flame-resistant protective garment industry both in great quality products and even better customer service.

See also…