Safety Facility Equipment Identification Catalog Page 10 Key Business Issues

10 Key Business Issues Arc Flash Comply with New Regulations, Increase Safety and Save Costs with Proper Identification. There is a risk when working on live, energized electrical circuitry that can result in serious injury or death from a phenomenon known as Arc Flash. Arc Flash is a short circuit through the air that flashes between one live conductor to another conductor or to ground, causing a severe, explosive release of energy. It can be caused by a worker coming too close to a high-amp source with a conductive object, dropping a tool that makes contact with live components, breaks or gaps in wiring insulation or even poor maintenance practices. Arc Flash has the potential to generate extremely high heat, a forceful blast and intense light, caused by the rapid expansion of metallic components transforming to gas and molten particles in a fraction of a second. Experiencing an Arc Flash can cause severe injuries including loss of vision and hearing, third and fourth degree burns, along with the potential for severe electrical shock. Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA, has become more involved in the Arc Flash issue and has begun citing employers for failure to protect workers from the dangers of Arc Flash incidents. While no specific standard exists regulating Arc Flash, OSHA utilizes Section 5(a)(1) of the OSHA Act, often referred to as the General Duty Clause, by basing enforcement actions on an employer's duty to "furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm" To provide guidance on best practices for protecting employees from Arc Flash hazards, OSHA refers employers to the NFPA 70E Standard, "Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace." NFPA70E 2012 - "Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace" Article 110.16 in the NEC and Article 130.5 in NFPA 70E state that relevant electrical equipment shall be "field marked to warn qualified persons of potential electric arc flash hazards." Once an arc flash hazard analysis has been conducted in which the arc flash boundary, the incident energy at the working distance, and the personal protective equipment required has been determined, Article 130.5 (C) in the 2012 edition of NFPA 70E further dictates that the label must contain these important elements: 1. At least one of the following: a. Available incident energy and the corresponding working distance (An incidental energy analysis is used to help predict the incident energy of an arc flash for a specified set of conditions. Incident energy is the amount of energy impressed on a surface, a certain distance away from the source, generated during an electrical arc event. This should be measured and labeled in cal/cm2.) AND/OR b. Minimum arc rating of clothing (This also should be expressed in cal/cm2. Arc rated clothing indicates it has been tested for exposure to an electrical arc. This was formally expressed as flame resistant in previous NFPA editions.) AND/OR c. Required Level of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) AND/OR d. Highest Hazard/Risk Category (HRC) for the equipment 2. Nominal System Voltage A value assigned to a circuit or system for the purpose of conveniently designating it's voltage class (i.e. a 12-volt battery, 24-volt system, or 480-volt electrical panel.) 3. Arc Flash Boundary What Needs To Be Labeled, And By Whom? The NEC states that any of the following types of electrical equipment located in manufacturing and commercial establishments (other than dwelling occupancies) must be field marked with a warning label if subject to examination, adjustment, service or maintenance while energized: Switchboards Panelboards Industrial control panels Meter socket enclosures Motor control centers The labeling requirement is the responsibility of the employer, not the manufacturer or installer of the equipment. OSHA Regulation Summary:

Previous Page
Next Page