Tackling invisible hazards through arc flash analysis
Tackling invisible hazards through arc flash analysis
An arc flash analysis or arc flash assessment evaluates the risk of an arc flash incident, which is an explosive release of energy caused by an electrical current flowing through the air between conductors. The assessment determines the incident energy to which a worker may be exposed and how to protect the worker from an arc flash accident and other electrical hazards. Based on this assessment, appropriate safety measures and personal protective equipment (PPE) are determined to mitigate risks and protect workers.
The most effective assessments provide a short circuit analysis, a protective device coordination study, and a one-line electrical diagram.
A short-circuit study determines the thermal energy and magnetic forces that are released into the electrical system which can cause insulation and conductor melting as well as explosions contributing to major equipment burn‐downs. Magnetic forces can bend bus bars and cause violent conductor whipping and distortion. These conditions have grim consequences on electrical systems and equipment. Each equipment within the electrical distribution is evaluated to determine the short-circuit withstanding rating.
A protective coordination study, sometimes called a selectivity study, is performed to improve the reliability of the electrical distribution system. A poorly coordinated system can cause power outages that can escalate into major blackouts. That results in dangers to onsite personnel and loss of production.
Reduce your risk of electric fires with safety audits from TÜV SÜD Global Risk Consultants (GRC). Our engineers perform short-circuit, protective device coordination and arc flash risk analysis to identify electrical hazards. We are licensed throughout the United States and will identify code or electrical safety violations during the survey. We also help you develop training programs to prepare your employees to operate safely and prevent accidents.
Arc Flash Assessments are Required in the Following Scenarios:
An arc flash risk assessment is required by government regulations like OSHA, NFPA 70E and NFPA 70. Those regulations can be difficult to follow, so here is a handy breakdown:
NFPA 70E provides guidance on safety requirements for workers engaging in the installation, inspection, operation, maintenance, and demolition of electric conductors and other equipment. It requires an arc flash analysis to determine the proper boundary and safe work processes. It also requires that each panel be marked with an Arc Flash Hazard Warning Label.
NFPA 70 has been adopted in all 50 U.S. states as the benchmark for safe electrical design, installation, and inspection. It addresses PPE, labeling, and electrical handling procedures.
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 1584 provides formulas and methods for determining arc flash boundaries and incident energy.
OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910 requires that an employer conduct an assessment to determine if hazards are present which necessitate personal protective equipment (PPE). It also requires that employees wear appropriate PPE for protection and use insulated tools or handling equipment.
1. Phase 1 – Field Survey
2. Phase 2 – Electrical One-line
3. Phase 3 – Data Entry/Analysis
4. Phase 4 – Draft/Final Reports
5. Phase 5 – Arc Flash Label Installation/Requirements
An arc flash assessment is conducted by experienced risk engineers who are trained to identify electrical hazards and evaluate their potential severity and likelihood. During the assessment, they can identify hidden risks in your electrical systems and provide recommendations for safety measures to reduce the risk of accidents. They can also help you create arc flash labels and determine the appropriate personal protective equipment and boundaries needed to keep your workers safe. By performing an arc flash assessment, you can identify and mitigate potential electrical hazards and ensure compliance with safety regulations to protect your workers and your facility.
An arc flash assessment is required every five years. It is also required if you have made major additions or modifications to your facility, if your equipment is greater than 50 volts, your state adopted the 2017 edition of NFPA 70, or you can’t de-energize equipment remotely.
Arc flash studies are required under codes and standards like NFPA 70E, NFPA 70, IEEE 1584, and OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910.
The purpose of an arc flash study is to identify potential electrical hazards and violations of safety regulations within your facility. The study calculates the amount of energy that could be released during an arc flash incident and evaluates the potential risks to workers. Based on the results, the study recommends appropriate safety measures and protective equipment to mitigate those risks and help prevent accidents. By conducting an arc flash study, you can ensure that your facility is in compliance with safety regulations, and that your workers are protected from potential electrical hazards.
Electric shock, arc flash, and arc blast are three hazards to watch out for. They can lead to temperatures of 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than the surface of the sun. They can injure workers and even lead to fatalities.
The importance of an arc flash analysis or study lies in its ability to uncover potential electrical hazards in your facility that can lead to fires, explosions, injuries, fatalities, and significant downtime. By identifying these hazards and evaluating their potential risks, you can take appropriate measures to mitigate them and ensure the safety of your workers and your facility. An arc flash study can also help you comply with safety regulations, prevent equipment damage, and reduce the risk of costly downtime due to accidents or unplanned maintenance. Overall, an arc flash analysis or study is critical for maintaining a safe and efficient workplace and protecting your business from potential losses and liability.
Minimize arc flash injuries and business interruption
Find out if your facility requires an arc flash assessment under NFPA 70E and NFPA 70
Raise the bar on arc flash safety
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