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Arc Flash Evaluation

Protect your facility and personnel by ensuring OSHA compliance with the NFPA 70E requirements.

WHY IS ARC FLASH AN ISSUE?

The last few years have seen a great increase in the awareness of arc flash hazards. Injuries that result from the lack of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) can be severe and frequently fatal. However, arcing faults and electrical burns and injuries have been problems since electricity was first used. So why after over a hundred years is it only now that actions are being taken to define and protect personnel against this hazard?

One of the primary reasons is the shear magnitude and volume of electricity being generated and used all over the world. Utilization voltages have increased in commercial and industrial facilities so that medium voltage switchgear and on-site generators (both standby and parallel operation) are common. There has also been a large increase in the number of facilities taking power directly at high voltages (120kV and above) to take advantage of the lower rates, and the reduction or elimination of utility charges for facilities. As a result, facilities, employees and their contractors are exposed to higher voltages and fault duties than ever before.

Another major reason is the increased need to perform work on energized equipment. When shutdowns (planned or unplanned) can cost millions of dollars, companies look for ways to increase their production by reducing downtime. On-line testing like infrared scans, load and power quality recordings, and partial-discharge cable testing must be performed while the equipment remains energized. Unfortunately, in many locations training has not kept pace with the increased hazards associated with larger sources and the need to do energized work. Without adequate initial training, and routine follow up training, employees may be unaware of (or become complacent toward) the hazards. Consequently they may not understand or use proper procedures to safely perform their work.

A third reason is the liability (and cost) from lawsuits resulting from incidents. Lost production, damage and injury claims, and repair costs can add up to millions of dollars. Companies and jurisdictions are adopting procedures and methods relating to arc flash hazards specifically to address the potential liability.

WHAT IS THE RISK?

Working on energized equipment is inherently risky. The two major risks being shock and burn. Medium voltage locations and larger low voltage locations also include the risk of a concussive injury that can exceed the burn risk in the event of an Arc Flash event.

An Arc Flash event is characterized by extreme heat (35,000 Degrees and above), a rapidly expanding pressure and sound wave that includes molten metal and other shrapnel debris. Since the vast majority of events (>80%) are caused by human error, there is a high risk that one or more people will be in the flash zone. Without adequate PPE, the risk of serious injury or death is high. In order to minimize the risk, standards have been published that outline the responsibilities for employers and employees and safe work practices.

REGULATORY STANDARDS

The two driving regulatory bodies related to Arc Flash are the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

OSHA regulations that apply to arc flash hazards are in 29CFR 1910 Subparts I, and S. These can be broken down into three general areas, hazard identification and PPE selection, training, and proficiency.

ARC FLASH HAZARD ANALYSIS

Mayer Electric can develop and implement an ongoing arc flash hazard program which meets the new regulations noted in NFPA 70E, IEEE-1584, and the current OSHA Standard 29 can be challenging.  Rule of thumb methods could be result in both unnecessary worker exposures to hazards from under protection and significant lost plant productivity due to overprotection.

Industry is recognizing the benefits of obtaining accurate arc flash hazard data.  Recently, the PCIC Safety Committee recommended that arc flash calculations be completed in conjunction with short circuit calculations and protective device coordination to help ensure the most accurate arc flash hazard results.  Mayer Electric’s arc flash hazard analysis could save your company thousands of dollars annually, per worker, in lost productivity.

Performing a study and applying labels is only one aspect of a true arc flash hazard program.  A comprehensive corporate electrical safety program also includes development and implementation of the proper processes, procedures, documentation, and training programs.  Mayer Electric can assist you in developing a complete safety program.

Contact our office today to learn more about our Arc Flash Hazard Evaluation Program.


Arc Flash Information Guide

OSHA requires that all
“Non-Dwelling”facilities have an
Arc Flash Hazard Analysis done

Arc Flash Evaluation

NFPA 70E
Compliance Guide



Arc Flash Evaluation

Arc Flash Video

See this 480 volt 3-phase Arc Flash Demonstration Video

Arc Flash Evaluation

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