Arc Flash Resources

May 31, 2013 Dave Weber No Comments

 

 

Lots of companies are confused about how to comply with OSHA’s electric arc flash standards!  Some hire high priced consultants to help them develop their arc flash policies and procedures.  

While I’m no arc flash expert, I have worked at companies where we developed our own arc flash programs in-house, without any outside assistance.  So far, each of these programs have passed OSHA’s scrutiny during multiple on-site inspections. 

I see the arc flash requirements as having some similarity to both the lockout tagout (LOTO) and the confined space requirements that many of us are already familiar with - 

  • If you can disconnect and LOTO all of the electricity to the electrical equipment that is being worked on you no longer need to be concerned with arc flash.
  • Each company should designate and develop their own arc flash “qualified person”.  This person will be the in-house arc flash guru (expert).  He or she should develop the written arc flash policy and procedures for the company.  There are various arc flash training seminars that the company’s qualified person can attend to further their knowledge of arc flash exposures and controls.
  • Those employees, often master electricians, who will be working on or near exposed energized parts, are similar to LOTO “authorized persons”.  They should receive advanced specialized training (often provided by the qualified person) in: OSHA’s electrical safety standards, NFPA 70E, company arc flash policy and procedures, arc flash hazard analysis (AFHA), PPE requirements, arc flash labeling, special insulated tools, and other safety information.
  • All other production employees are similar to LOTO “affected persons”.  They should receive general training to understand: arc flash hazards,  arc flash labels,  flash protection boundary, and the company’s arc flash policy and procedures.
  • Performing electrical work on live systems over 50 volts should require the company’s arc flash qualified person to issue an energized electrical work permit (a procedure similar to confined space entry permit, although the form is totally different). 
  • An arc flash hazard analysis (AFHA) should be done before the electrical work is performed to: evaluate the exposure, reduce incident energy levels, generate an arc flash label, select the proper PPE and tools, and identify safety procedures.  Software is available (see below) that can help with these calculations.  These AFHAs are sometimes done ahead of time for the entire facility.
  • A job briefing should be held between the qualified person and the authorized person before the start of work.       

 

Many of the resources a company needs to figure out the arc flash requirements already exist on the Internet.  Below are my favorite arc flash links.  They will help you to understand the arc flash standards, and to develop your own arc flash policies and procedures.

 

 

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