What is an Arc Flash Analysis?

An Arc Flash Analysis is a study investigating a worker’s potential exposure to dangerous arc- flash energy, conducted for the purpose of injury prevention and the determination of safe work practices, arc flash protection boundary, and the appropriate levels of PPE .

Why do I need to do an Arc Flash Analysis?

The National Fire Protection Association’s 70E publication (NFPA) 2000, Part II 2-1.3.3 regarding Arc Flash Analysis states that a “Flash Hazard Analysis shall be done before a person approaches any exposed electrical conductor or circuit part that has not been placed in an electrical safe work condition”. This Arc Flash Hazard Analysis must be done to determine the level of Personal Protection Equipment PPE that a worker must use, and the Arc Flash Boundary in inches along with the incident energy found at each location. Each panel must be marked with an ANSI z535 approved Arc Flash Warning Label.

Does OSHA require an Arc Flash Analysis?

OSHA requires employers to obtain, and supply all employees working on or around energized electrical equipment with the “Correct PPE ”. OSHA states that employers are to use “Industry Consensus such as NFPA70E” to determine the level of PPE required prior to work being performed. NFPA70E or in other words “the National Fire Code” states that an Arc Flash Analysis “MUST BE DONE” to determine the level of PPE required. OSHA inspectors are instructed to use the NFPA70E as a guide to determine if an employer acted properly during an investigation. OSHA is levying fines against employers under the general duty clause for workers that do not provide the correct PPE .

What Electrical Panels need to be done ?

The National Electrical Code, NFPA 70E and OSHA list that all panel boards, switch panels, fuse panels, breaker panels, motor control centers, motor control panels be surveyed and labeled with the ANSI approved label. IN ADDITION… the list is concluded by stating “Any panel likely to be serviced by a worker” SO, that means any electrical enclosure such as disconnects and machinery attached to the “hard wired” electrical system in your facility.

What kind of standards must I follow?

This Arc Flash Analysis must be performed to determine the available arc fault currents and arc flash hazards. The most effective ways are based on the NFPA 70E or IEEE 1584 methods. Both of these methods are acceptable methods to use and are allowed by OSHA to comply with these arc flash regulations. OSHA recommends that the Arc Flash Analysis be done by an independent consulting firm to reduce any bias that may occur when done in-house.

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