Arc Flash Hazard Analysis

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Steve Bowman, PE
An electrical arc occurs when current bridges a small gap and ionizes the gas (usually air) surrounding the current carrying objects. This action generates intense light, heat, plasma, and physical force which can be extremely dangerous to people and damaging to equipment. Arc flash hazard analysis is an engineering tool which allows electrical system owners a means to safeguard their systems, and more importantly, protect their operations staff.

While we hear a lot about arc flash these days, it is not a new phenomenon – it has been a part of electrical systems since the days of Edison and Westinghouse. What is new is that only in the past couple of decades have we better understood how to predict the amount of energy that an electrical system is capable of delivering. Further, new regulations and standards have been put into place that require arc flash hazard labeling and a more precise identification of the risk.

OSHA is the over arching regulation that requires owners to maintain a safe electrical system for the sake of their maintenance staff. The National Electrical Code – NFPA 70 – requires arc flash hazard labeling for any electrical equipment. The Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace – NFPA 70E – defines more of the specifics related to hazard risk categories and personal protective equipment (PPE). Finally, IEEE 1584 details the calculation methods used to accurately determine the level of incident energy available throughout an electrical system.

Wiley|Wilson takes great pride in the quality of our work because we believe in the importance of accurately labeling electrical equipment. The arc flash hazard labels that we produce will guide people who are maintaining equipment and their safety is our utmost priority.

Please contact us if we can assist you in maintaining a safe electrical system.

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