It is my understanding that I need natural fiber undergarments to be worn under my FR shirt and pants when performing work on circuits over a certain voltage. Is my employer responsible for the cost of such items?
My understanding is such; If as a result of a required risk assessment the employer has determined that undergarments are required protective equipment or personal protective equipment then the answer would be yes. This however has not been my experience. Undergarments are not typically considered PPE. Now if the risk assessment required arc rated undergarments and they are used to increase the arc rating of the clothing system then the employer would be required to pay for the undergarments as PPE.
Article 130.7(C)(9) of the NFPA 70E-2015 allows for the integrating protective clothing with flammable non-melting apparel. A good reading of that article is recommended.
OSHA has very similar language in that it prohibits clothing that could melt to the skin. Exceptions are allowed in both the 70E and OSHA standards for an incidental amount of elastic provided that the clothing system will ensure that the elastic is not exposed to enough heat energy to allow it to melt onto an employees skin.
To my knowledge undergarments are not required at all. However, they are recommended and a typical layering system might include natural fiber undergarments.
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