This is the final post in a six-part “Fundamentals of Arc Flash” series. Check out previous posts in this series which offer valuable information on topics such as, what is an arc flash, and arc flash causes, characteristics, ratings, and more.
An arc flash hazard analysis or risk assessment is a study conducted by a trained safety expert to evaluate electrical equipment and power systems in order to predict the potential for or incident energy of an arc flash. This information can be used by companies to effectively train employees on the hazards associated with their job responsibilities and to identify the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) necessary to keep workers safe in an arc flash incident. As part of OSHA’s 2014 final rule for 29 CFR 1910.269, OSHA mandated employers in electric power generation, transmission, distribution, and related fields to complete an arc flash risk assessment. NFPA 70E requires this work as well.
Both OSHA and NFPA 70E require employers to train their employees on the hazards associated with their work environment. PPE and Flame resistant (FR) clothing are considered the “last line of defense” in the event of an arc flash – meaning it is there to protect workers from injury when all other safety measures and precautions have been unsuccessful in preventing an incident.
The latest edition of NFPA 70E defines a risk assessment as, “An overall process that identifies hazards, estimates the likelihood of occurrence of injury or damage to health, estimates the potential severity of injury or damage to health, and determines if protective measures are required.” (p. 12). Risk Assessment is further examined in the footnote to Table 130.5(C): “The estimate of the likelihood of occurrence contained in this table does not cover every possible condition or situation, nor does it address severity of injury or damage to health. Where this table identifies “No” as an estimate of likelihood of occurrence, it means that an arc flash incident is not likely to occur. Where this table identifies “Yes” as an estimate of likelihood of occurrence, it means that additional protective measures are required to be selected and implemented according to the hierarchy of risk control identified in 110.1(H).”
An arc flash risk assessment is unique to each company, allowing employers to calculate how much energy will be released during an arc flash and how it will affect employees based on their distance from the electrical equipment. With this knowledge, companies are able to accurately match worker’s clothing to the specific hazards they face. Watch our video below featuring Tyndale’s Vice President Technical, Scott Margolin, to learn more about arc flash risk assessment:
Want to learn more? Browse our blog posts for more helpful information about protecting workers with FR and the answers to other frequently-asked questions. Plus, learn about FR product options and how our managed program can help you maximize compliance and protection while enhancing service and satisfaction.
Have additional questions? Schedule a complimentary 15-minute technical session with Scott Margolin, Tyndale’s Vice President – Technical. Simply complete the form below and Scott will contact you at a mutually agreeable time to speak one-on-one.