Power supply for electric car charging Electric car charging station Close up of the power supply plugged into an electric car being charged

As the electric vehicle (EV) industry accelerates its growth, it brings about an evolving landscape in occupational safety, particularly concerning the risk of hazards such electric arc flash. Arc flashes are hazardous electrical explosions due to a fault or short circuit, releasing intense heat, light, and pressure, capable of causing severe injuries or fatalities. With the rise of EVs, the number of workers exposed to potential arc flash hazards has significantly increased, necessitating advanced personal protective equipment (PPE) tailored specifically for this emerging industry. In this blog, we’ll discuss the emergence of the EV industry and highlight one of the most critical types of arc flash PPE for EV technicians – face & eye protection.

The Emergence of the EV Industry

The transition towards electric vehicles represents one of the most significant technological advancements of the 21st century. Driven by the imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependency on fossil fuels, governments and automakers worldwide have invested heavily in EV technology. This surge is exemplified by the proliferation of EV manufacturing plants, charging infrastructure, and maintenance facilities. However, the electrical systems in EVs, particularly their high-voltage batteries and power electronics, introduce new safety challenges. The complexities of maintaining, repairing, and handling these high-voltage systems mean that workers are often at heightened risk of arc flash incidents.

Arc Flash Hazards in the EV Industry

Arc flash incidents can occur during various tasks such as diagnostic testing, maintenance, and assembly of electrical components. In the EV sector, the risks are amplified by the high voltages and currents inherent in EV batteries and power systems. An arc flash can produce temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun, intense UV radiation, and pressure waves, posing severe risks to unprotected workers. Consequently, the demand for specialized arc flash PPE, including arc flash face shields, continues to increase.

Arc Flash PPE Considerations in the EV Industry

Given the specific nature of the electrical work involved in EV production and maintenance, PPE must be tailored to meet stringent safety standards while ensuring worker comfort and operational efficiency. Here are some key considerations for arc flash PPE in the EV industry:

  • Compliance with National Safety Standards: PPE must comply with relevant safety standards, such as NFPA 70E and ASTM F2178, to ensure adequate protection against arc flash hazards. Regular testing and certification guarantee that the equipment meets the necessary performance criteria.
  • Enhanced Protection: The primary function of arc flash PPE is to shield workers from the thermal and blast effects of an arc flash. This includes flame-resistant (FR) clothing that can withstand high temperatures and prevent burns. In the EV industry, PPE must be tested to meet stringent standards of NFPA 70E, ensuring it provides adequate protection against the specific hazards presented by EV systems.
  • Comfort and Ergonomics: Comfort is a critical factor in PPE adoption and effectiveness. EV workers often perform tasks that require precision and mobility; thus, PPE should be lightweight, breathable, and allow for a full range of motion. Ergonomically designed PPE can reduce fatigue and improve job performance, encouraging workers to consistently wear their protective gear. Features like adjustable fit, moisture-wicking fabrics, and strategically placed ventilation can greatly enhance comfort without compromising safety.


Specific face & eye PPE considerations for EV technicians include:

  • Enhanced Visibility: Arc flash face shields must provide excellent optical clarity to allow workers to see clearly during precision tasks. High-definition visibility ensures that workers can accurately perform intricate operations without compromising safety. This includes highly transparent face shields that allow for full color recognition.
  • Antifog and Anti-Abrasion Coatings: To maintain visibility in varying conditions, face shields should include protective coatings to prevent visual obstructions that could lead to errors or accidents.
  • Lightweight Design: Given the long hours that workers often spend in PPE, face shields must be lightweight to minimize fatigue. Ergonomically designed cap brackets that distribute weight evenly can significantly enhance comfort.
  • Impact Resistance: Face shields should provide robust impact resistance to protect against flying debris and secondary hazards that may occur during an arc flash event.

World-Class Arc Flash PPE for EV Technicians

The rapid expansion of the EV industry is paralleled by an increased need for skilled labor and, consequently, high-quality arc flash PPE. As more workers engage with high-voltage systems, the potential for arc flash incidents rises. This growing demand underscores the importance of continuous innovation in PPE design to address the unique challenges of the EV sector. Safety professionals and PPE manufacturers must collaborate to develop solutions that not only meet safety standards but also enhance worker visibility and comfort.

Toric AmpShield - 3M - Deployed

Paulson Manufacturing is a global leader in producing the best arc flash face & eye PPE in the world. Designed with worker comfort in mind and featuring a proprietary nanoparticle formulation, our face shields provide EV technicians with superior visibility, durability, and a level of protection that is second to none.

For more information on our full line of arc flash face & eye PPE for the EV industry, please contact us today.

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