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An arc flash analysis is an essential safety measure that helps ensure people’s and equipment’s safety in industries where high voltage is used. It is a comprehensive process that identifies potential hazards, assesses risks and calculates incident energy levels to create an effective safety plan. This blog will outline the steps required for an arc flash analysis, how to interpret the results and the benefits of conducting analysis regularly.
An arc flash analysis is a safety measure determining how much energy is produced when a fault occurs in an electrical system. This information is vital because it helps companies develop strategies that protect employees from the hazards of arc flash occurrences.
An arc flash is an explosion due to an electrical current flowing through the air between two conductors. It can cause fire, severe burns, hearing loss, and other severe injuries. An arc flash analysis is essential as it helps companies create a safety plan that adheres to the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.
The first step in an arc flash analysis is identifying areas in your facility where an arc flash could occur. To do this, a qualified electrical engineer will conduct a visual inspection to identify areas where potential arc flash hazards exist, such as switchgear, transformers, and circuit breakers. They will also consider factors like proximity to employees or combustible materials.
Once potential arc flash hazards have been identified, the next step is assessing each hazard’s risk factor. An electrical engineer collects data and analyzes the electrical system’s design, disabilities, and the type and condition of electrical equipment. This process involves examining the type of electrical equipment, existing levels of protection, and the maintenance procedures that are currently in place.
The last step in an arc flash analysis is calculating the incident energy level. Incident energy is the thermal energy a worker’s body could experience at a specific distance from an arc. An electrical engineer can determine what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) each worker will need by calculating incident energy levels.
Regularly conducting an arc flash analysis is essential to maintain safety within a facility. The research should be done whenever electrical equipment is added, replaced, or modified.
Regular analysis ensures your safety plan is updated with the latest information and facilitates compliance with OSHA and NFPA safety regulations. Additionally, identifying potential hazards proactively saves a company time and money in terms of the reliability of plant operations and avoids costly litigation arising from arc flash incidents.
The best approach to ensuring compliance and staying safe is by hiring qualified electrical engineers. They will ensure that an arc flash analysis is conducted in compliance with the OSHA and NFPA safety standards.
Other site-specific recommendations should be followed to promote electrical safety, such as installing arc flash labels on equipment and enforcing the use of personal protective equipment to minimize the risk of injury.
An arc flash can be a catastrophic event, causing severe injury, loss of life, and damage to equipment and plant operations. Therefore, regularly conducting an arc flash analysis is critical in implementing an effective safety plan. An arc flash analysis involves identifying potential hazards, assessing risk factors, and calculating incident energy levels.
The study’s results can aid in determining equipment and personal protective equipment requirements. Implementing a safety plan reduces the risk of injury, litigation, and disruption to plant operations. Finally, following site-specific recommendations and guidelines from qualified electrical engineers ensures compliance and promotes electrical safety.