Arc Flash & Electrical Safety

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Arc Flash Assessment and Electrical Safety Compliance

Electrical safety has been and will continue to be a serious topic discussed across the maintenance and reliability community. With an ever-increasing awareness of regulatory guidelines surrounding electrical safety, many facilities still have misconceptions about the requirements or find themselves allocating precious resources to support compliance measures.

What Is It

As defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an arc flash is a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground. The results are often violent and when a human is in close proximity to the arc flash, serious injury and even death can occur. Causes of arc flash vary and include corrosion, condensation, dust, dropping tools, and faulty installation. 

Within the United States, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) Standard 70E, Handbook for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is the standard that drives the requirement for arc flash risk assessment, equipment labeling, and PPE application. However, NFPA 70E is a voluntary compliance standard and because it is not a government entity, it has no power to enforce compliance with any of its standards.

To learn more, check out this blog on what is really required and how you can become compliant.

Why It Matters

While NFPA can’t enforce compliance with its standards, OSHA is a government entity, and it can enforce regulatory compliance.  In the event of a lost time electrical accident in a facility, what OSHA is going to ask is what measures were taken to protect the employee from the risks they were exposed to in the performance of their duties.

In the United States, did you know:

  • There is an ARC Flash injury every 120 minutes

  • Electrical burns are the most common shock-related, nonfatal injury. These events occur when a worker contacts energized electrical wiring or equipment.

  • 1,900 workers lost days from work due to nonfatal electricity exposure.

  • The number one industry with the most nonfatal electrical injuries? Installation, maintenance, and repair

Are you confident your facility is in compliance with its electrical safety measures?

Source: Electrical Safety Foundation International

How Can We Help

Our NFPA certified subject matter experts provide:

  • Arc Flash Analysis/Assessment studies to determine the incident energy levels that could expose personnel

  • Onsite data collection, electrical system analysis, program development, and training

  • Equipment specific labeling and one-line diagrams

  • Ensure compliance with NFPA 70E and National Electric Code

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Key Benefits

An Arc Flash Analysis/Assessment brings needed focus to areas of your facility that present the highest risk of electrical related injuries to your people. The output of the analysis provides the resolution of required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) use and equipment labeling. Other benefits include:

  • Electrical system specific PPE guidelines ensuring enhanced personnel safety

  • Documented electrical system conditions to guide Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM) applications

  • Cost avoidance due to reduced catastrophic equipment failure and extended downtime

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