DGUV Information 203-077e - Thermal hazards due to electric fault arcing Guide for selecting Personal protective equipment

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Abschnitt 1 - 1 Scope of application

This DGUV Information provides guidance for action in the evaluation of potential thermal hazards due to electric fault arcing associated with electrotechnical work on electrical equipment. This DGUV Information brochure is intended to support employers in their selection of suitable personal protective equipment (PPEaA, comprised of protective clothing, headgear, face shields and gloves) against the thermal effects of an electric fault arc.

This DGUV Information applies to work tasks performed in the voltage range > 50 V AC/DC, where a risk to persons exposed to electric fault arcing exists.

Excluded from the scope of application are:

  • Applications in the high voltage range ≥ 110 kV AC

  • Applications in the high voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission range.

For DC systems, the scope of application relates in practice to short-circuit arcing in the low voltage range (U ≤ 1500 V DC).


Fault arcs that develop longitudinally due to contact faults, contact separation or the like (e.g. in photovoltaic systems or on clamp connectors) are excluded. These do not generally constitute a hazard to persons (skin burns). Above all, fires can result from these electric arcs; fault arcs can also lead to short-circuits with arc flashes at high levels of current and power or energy (e.g. in battery systems), which can prove hazardous to persons.

When working on low voltage installations, PPEaA can be dispensed with if a thermal hazard due to electric fault arcing is not anticipated. This is the case, for example:

  • when working on measuring, control and regulation equipment (ICE) with upstream electric circuit protection up to 25 A.

  • when working on electrical circuitry with rated voltages up to 400 V with upstream protection up to 63 A, insofar as an outfit of customary work clothing comprised of long-sleeved outer clothing and long pants is worn.

  • when working on electrical circuitry with rated voltages up to 400 V AC and a short-circuit current < 1 kA (Such an arc flash will burn unstably and extinguish immediately).

Other hazards, such as electrical shock or airborne particles may require further measures.

Within the context of an activity-related risk assessment, additional requirements related to PPE may be required, such as the capacity for electrostatic dissipation, protection against heat and flame, protection against superficial mechanical injury, etc.

This DGUV Information offers support in the selection of PPEaA for work on both low voltage installations as well as high voltage installations lower than 110 kV AC.

Exemplary work locations:

  • Household installations,

  • Power distribution networks,

  • Industrial networks.

This DGUV Information does not address potential hazards associated with the collateral effects of electric arcing, such as those due to pressure, acoustic shock, particles flying off, radiation, molten particles or gases.

Neither does it apply to the use of electrical equipment conforming to pertinent guidelines or standards, which have been designed or installed for use by unskilled persons.