Arc Flash Study
Every industrial / commercial power system includes inherent risks – specifically electrical shock and arc flash, anytime employees are “interacting with” electrical equipment while energized. Interacting with electrical equipment includes operation of fully enclosed switches and power circuit breakers as well as any exposure to energized equipment or circuit parts, including all energized testing or troubleshooting activities.
NFPA 70E – Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, Section 110.3
Requires “The employer shall implement and document an overall electrical safety program that directs activity appropriate for the electrical hazards, voltage, energy level and circuit conditions.” Section 110.3 (F) specifically includes identifying and quantifying the risks of both shock and arc flash hazards, before work begins.
NFPA 70E, Section 130.5 Arc Flash Analysis
States “An arc flash hazard analysis shall determine the arc flash boundary, the incident energy at the working distance, and the personal protective equipment (PPE) that people within the arc flash boundary shall use.”
NFPA 70E Section 130.5 (C) Labeling
Requires all equipment “likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall be field marked” … with a label containing arc flash hazard risk identification, severity of the risk, arc flash boundary and required PPE level among other things. This includes and energized testing or troubleshooting activity.
NFPA 70E, Section 110.1 (A) Host Employer Responsibilities
Requires that host employers of contractor or outside service personnel are responsible for notifying the contractor of the hazards they may encounter in the performance of their work. This holds the host employer / facility owner responsible for identifying the hazards a contractor may encounter on the site. Therefore using contract maintenance and electrical workers does not reduce the need for arc flash study.
It is impossible to know what level of arc flash hazard risk is inherent in your power system without assessment by knowledgeable technical resources. However, it is a true statement that every industrial / commercial electrical system has some level of inherent arc flash hazard. In order to protect the safety of your employees or contract employees working on or operating your electrical equipment an arc flash assessment must be completed and the equipment appropriately labeled.