Frost & Sullivan research reveals that arc flash PPE sales, although growing, are still below potential due to below-optimal compliance rates, lack of strict regulatory oversight, and laborious risk hazard assessments. Arc flash personal protective equipment provides an effective protective barrier against burns, shrapnel, blast pressure, blinding light, hearing loss due to high decibel levels, and lung damage. Human error is cited as one of the most important factors causing arc flash injuries. The use of specialized protective arc flash PPE addresses the problem at its roots—workers are likely to be more safety-conscious when operating with specially designed protective equipment.
The arc flash market in Europe is expected to unfold over time and uncover significant untapped potential. Technical committees under CENELEC CLC TC 78 are working on more robust methods for calculating incident arc energy. While these efforts are likely to take a number of years to have an impact on the adoption rates of arc flash PPE, there is likely to be a critical window of opportunity for manufacturers to bring to the market new arc flash PPE once the standards are released.
The United States continues to lead the global arc flash PPE market. More recently, it has focused on a more quantified approach to addressing the issues of electric arc flash hazards. The NFPA 70E standard is expected to encourage adoption among the previously non-compliant end users, as the process of identifying risk hazards has been made simpler and also more accurate.
Frost & Sullivan research also reveals that the degree of competition in the arc flash PPE market is low, with the potential for other players to enter this space. A higher degree of competition is likely to drive innovation in the arc flash PPE segment. At present, innovations are limited to a few product segments—arc flash gloves, arc flash head and face protection, and protective clothing.
Positive spill-over effects from revisions to the regulatory standards in Europe and Asia are expected to be critical in bringing about improvements in the compliance rates for arc flash PPE. Additionally, there is likely to be an increased need for creating an environment of electric safety, as countries such as China and India make investments to upgrade their road, railway, and highway networks. While in the past decades, there was less emphasis on equipping workers with arc flash PPE in emerging economies, there is likely to be a stronger focus on safety going forward. High-risk end-user industries are expected to invest more in providing employees with appropriate PPE and also educating them on its use to reduce the risk of arc flash injuries.