Arc flash risk assessment is one of the most important processes to recognize, measure and mitigate risk to electrical workers. In the event of an electrical incident such as arc flash, electrocution or something else, serious injury and even fatalities can occur. The potential costs for an employer who fails to take preventive risk mitigation steps are estimated to be millions of dollars.
As part of a company’s safety protocols, arc flash risk assessments provide insight into the steps an employer needs to take to protect workers. With the results of these risk assessment analyses, employers can follow the NFPA 70E steps to eliminate or substitute de-energization, labeling to raise awareness, provide training, and select the proper equipment for the job. The studies usually take 4 to 6 weeks to complete, depending on the size of the facility. Importantly, an arc flash risk assessment must be completed before a worker is exposed to an electrical hazard. Arc flash risk assessments should be completed every five years or any time a major modification is made to the facility that may result in increased risk or severity in the event of an incident. ESS protocol for arc flash risk assessment includes the following:
- Data Collection: Collect necessary data about the facility’s power distribution system, including details of the arrangement of component, nameplate specifications and lengths and cross-section of all cables.
- Engineering Analysis of the Data: Perform a short circuit analysis followed by a coordination study and feed the data into NFPA 70E equations to determine the minimum PPE requirement.
- Protective Device Coordination: Coordinate PPE to ensure selection and arrangement are sufficient for mitigating arc flash hazards.
- Arc Flash Calculations: Determine incident energy levels and flash protection boundaries and complete calculations of all relevant equipment busses.
- Arc Flash Study and Analysis Report: Once the calculations are done, deduce the results of the report carefully.
- Label Installation: Create and install warning labels pinpointing incident energy and working distance, arc flash boundary, and nominal system voltage. Include Limited, Restricted and Prohibited approach boundaries, date, upstream protective device and recommended personal protection equipment (PPE) as well.
Numerous industrial, commercial and institutional electrical systems and construction electrical products are prone to arc flash hazards. By individually analyzing these systems and labeling the arc flash boundary, you can increase personnel and workplace safety.
As required by OSHA and the NFPA 70E, Electrical Safety Specialists (ESS) offers arc flash risk assessment for ensuring worker safety. The purpose of our visit is to help save lives and money by safe work practices and minimize the possibility of injuries and lost time accidents. Our engineering technicians are experienced and trained on the intricacies of the data collection process for arc flash risk assessment. ESS provides the highest quality of service available.