Arc Flash Analysis studies the power system in a facility
Why is this important? Because it is the only way to determine how much incident energy your employees are exposed to when they interact with different pieces of electrical equipment in your facility. The experts at North Central Electric have broken down what Arc Flash Analysis is and why it’s important, so you can keep your facility compliant and your employees safe.
OSHA Requires It, Your Employees Need It
According to the OSHA 1910.132 requirement, employers are responsible for identifying workplace hazards and keeping their employees safe from them. Because every commercial/industrial power system involves hazardous risks—especially electrical shock and arc flash—an Arc Flash Analysis is crucial. Whether your employees work with fully enclosed switches and power circuit breakers, test equipment energy, troubleshoot equipment or are exposed to energized equipment or circuit parts, an Arc Flash Analysis needs to be completed.
A Method to the Madness—Three Arc Flash Analysis Methodologies
There are three different types of Arc Flash Analysis: Standard Bracketing Method, Detailed One-Line Method and Calculate to the NFPA 70E Tables Method. Here’s a breakdown of these methods:
- Standard Bracketing Method: The most common and cost effective; it identifies Arc Flash PPE (personal protective equipment) requirements at the last downstream device a accounts for its connected horsepower.
- Detailed One-Line Method: Labor intensive and more expensive than the Standard Bracketing Method; it provides a one-line drawing of power distribution system and provides an arc flash analysis at each piece of equipment. This is the best method for verifying the incident energy your employees may be exposed to throughout the facility. This method involves collecting all electrical equipment information & ratings and utilizing software to perform a short circuit, coordination, and arc-flash analysis. The IEEE Standard 1584 and NFPA 70E Annex B are the most used standards for conducting an arc flash analysis.
- Calculate to the NFPA 70E Tables Method: Typically used in smaller facilities, this method saves on upfront analysis costs compared to the Standard Bracketing Method. It calculates the equipment type listed in the NFPA 70E HRC tables and when the equipment meets these requirements.
Safety Starts with Arc Flash Analysis and Ends With Additional Safety Precautions
Bringing in an engineer to conduct an Arc Flash Analysis is a great start to ensure your facility and your workers are protected. Here are other ways to keep your facility and your workers safe:
- Train workers in electrical and arc flash
- Develop engineering controls including a lockout/tagout system
- Label equipment with the following information:
- Arc flash boundary
- Minimum arc rating of clothing
- Nominal system voltage
- PPE Level Requirements
- PPE site-specific levels (must be equal to or greater than incident energy)
- Working distance of incident energy