Arc Flash is the dangerous light and heat produced from an electrical discharge or fault omitted from a piece of equipment that is running at high voltage. Arc flash temperatures can exceed 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit and can have extremely harmful effects such as burns, shrapnel wounds from metal objects, and hearing or memory loss on those who are unprotected. It is our goal to provide training, information and the proper safety equipment to all equipment operators in order to avoid any harmful arc flash effects.
Arc Flash Safety Codes
NFPA 70E (National Fire Protection Association) Requirements
The NFPA has created OSHA-supported codes that promote electrical safety in the workplace. The guidelines are set in place in order to avoid any exposure to dangerous circumstances and cover the installation, maintenance and general use of equipment that could potentially cause an arc flash. Flame resistant clothing, gloves, footwear and proper face protection should be worn in addition to any protective flash gear.
The table below illustrates the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) that are to be worn based on machine risk factors. The entire list of appropriate codes and standards can be viewed here.
|Hazard Risk Category||Clothing||Cal/cm2|
|0||Non-melting, flammable materials (i.e., untreated cotton, wool, rayon or silk, or blends of these materials) with fabric weight of at least 4.5 oz/yd2||N/A|
|1||FR shirt and FR pants or FR coverall||4|
|2||Cotton underwear – conventional short-sleeve and brief/shorts, plus FR shirt and FR pants||8|
|3||Cotton underwear plus FR shirt and FR plants plus FR coverall, or cotton underwear plus two FR coveralls||25|
|4||Cotton underwear plus FR shirt and FR pants plus multilayer flash suit||40|
|Extreme Danger||No PPE available||>40|
IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Standards
The IEEE generates electrical standards that have become accepted internationally that promote safety and standardization for the benefit of humanity. The IEEE calculates and publishes appropriate protocol that should be taken around high frequency machinery that has the possibility to omit arc flash. The IEEE standards and calculations can be found here.
Ensuring Your Safety by Conducting Arc Flash Studies
Arc Flash studies should be conducted in order to assess the safety of work environments. Not only should at-risk machines and equipment be evaluated, but also the scope of the work and environment in which equipment is being used. Often times, short circuits or faults identified when performing assessments can completely eliminate the chances of an arc flash. Any equipment that can potentially emit an electrical arc should be properly marked with Arc Flash labeling.
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