ARC FLASH STUDIES
The term “Arc Flash” is one that has received much attention over the past few years and for good reason… SAFETY being first and foremost. The good news is that when this issue is professionally and properly addressed, the potential risk can be substantially mitigated and in many cases eliminated altogether.
What is an Arc Flash? In simple terms, a potentially extremely powerful burst of expended electrical energy (light and heat) from an electrical source shorting to ground and or between phases.
Complacency vs. Respect – There has been an ill-fated mindset for many decades via ad hoc training in electrical circles of “what you can get away with” as an electrical worker or one who maintains various systems or equipment. Unfortunately, this sentiment fosters a growing attitude among peers of “complacency” to the detriment of “respect”. That is…until something goes terribly and perhaps tragically wrong.
An Arc Flash Study involves the detailed analytical review of electrical distribution equipment, associated components, feeders, voltages, in rush current availability, etc., and their ability to withstand electrical faults and mitigate resulting damage. It also determines safe and appropriate approach boundaries and suitable ratings of Arc Rated PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) should a worker be required to approach and safely work on the noted equipment while in an energized state.
Upon completion of the study, an equipment specific Arc Flash Warning Ratings Label will be prepared and affixed to the equipment in a prominent, readily visible location. The purpose of the label is to educate the worker that an arc flash review has been performed and the resultant safety information displayed.
The foundation for Arc Flash Studies and the resultant outcomes are based on the best practices as published in CSA Z462-15. As per CSA: “Shock and arc flash are potentially catastrophic events that can cause severe or fatal injuries. Employers have a legal duty to protect workers from workplace hazards and electrical-based hazards present a very real threat to worker safety.”
“The CSA Z462-15 standard provides guidance on integrating electrical safety programs into Occupational Health & Safety management systems, implementing best practices for working on and around electrical equipment, and demonstrating due diligence in preventing electrical injuries.”
Contact the Smith & Long Engineering Services Group to provide your firm with the professional services you need related to Arc Flash Studies to ensure you are doing your part in the path to optimum electrical equipment safety compliance.