PHS Besafe, the Flashest Cleaners in the Business

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PHS Besafe introduce Arc:Gear, a new and innovative layered garment collection alongside a 12-point procedure covering every step from collection, cleaning and delivery for maximum protection.

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According to the Sentinel card scheme there are over 80,000 workers registered to work with AC on their PTS cards. Reacting to this ever growing statistic, companies such as Gore-Tex produce special fabrics for such applications. These have multiple layers, making sure that, in the event of flash, the layer closest to the skin will not melt and cause severe burns, while the outergere simultaneously provides adequate weather proofing.

A major issue with these garments is not their success as a new product but their declining effectiveness when they get dirty or oily through use out in the field. Efficient cleaning techniques is therefore vital as dirt and oil can actually reduce the effectiveness of the protection. However, regularly cleaning these garments raises even more issues as the continual washing processes can result in compromising the garments’ protective properties further.

In order to solve this problem and come up with an efficient and effective cleaning process without compromising of safety, PHS Besafe began conducting trials. Paul Sharky, National Sales Manager at PHS Besafe explains how they addressed the problem, “It started at Infrarail 2012, when we were approached by a fabric provider who told us they had some unique fabric that could protect workers from Arc Flashover. We were asked if we could do some trial work to see if the material would withstand the rigorous washing processes that a railway PPE product has to go through. It took us four trials until we finally got to a finished process where the fabric could withstand the washing cycle.

“We were also approached by Luke Evdemon of Shield 360, whose product technology is used for arc-resistant protection. Luke has been in the PPE industry for many years and he came to us because of our experience in laundering specifically rail PPE. He wanted to conduct some washing cycle trails. At the same time, we became aware of Gore-Tex Paris PPE equipment which was also undergoing trials.

“We thought if we could combine the base layer Shield 360 (SSM) special fabric with a coverall technology, we would have a product that could protect workers from arc flashovers”.

After nine months of trials PHS Besafe took the three layered Hi Viz garments to Network Rail. Impressed by what they were presented with, their immediate response was to request that Besafe issue the new GORT 3279 Arc Coverall to their 500 substation immediately.
In support of their comprehensive trials PHS Besafe have devised a specific 12-point procedure process which covers everything from collection from site, through the cleaning itself, to final inspection and packaging before the garments are returned to the user.

Unlike most PPE washed at 60˚Arc:Gear is washed at 40˚ with different drying times and a smaller drum allowing for garments to tumble and fall with a patented detergent mix removing oils, grease and general soiling. Once fully clean, each garment is inspected and any necessary repairs made. Once folded and then wrapped individually the whole process is recorded by barcoding to ensure each item goes back to its’ original wearer.

Paul Sharky explains reactions to this exclusive product , “Over a six week period we visited 36 sites. There have been numerous trials since with different types of workers who all seem to like the Arc:Gear PPE and find it easy to work in”

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Danielle Noakes
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