Recently, a reader asked a question that I thought would be great to post publicly. I’ve been asked this question before, and I’m sure there are many people out there that would benefit from knowing the information.

Q: “If a garment has exposed snaps [that] are metal, would they have a tendency to attract the arc during an arc flash event?”

A: I contacted one of the technical people who has worked with Hugh Hoagland, from, for years and helps with arc testing and developing new arc test methods. Here is the answer he provided:

‘Arc shape and form and propagation direction is determined by electromagnetic forces that in turn depend on electrode configuration. Shirts with metal snaps or non-metal buttons or other types of closures could only be in the path of the arc but cannot attract the arc.

Keeping in mind that metal is an excellent heat conductor and that temperature on the surface of a single layer shirt can reach 300 – 400ºF, there is a potential of spotty skin burns if snaps have a direct contact with skin. But if there is a layer of FR fabric between the back of the snap and the skin, I think there is no extra risk or danger.’

Please feel free to email me if you have any further questions about this topic: