Arc Flash Risk Assessment Frequency Requirements
Friday, July 9, 2021

Section: VIECA

An arc flash risk assessment is one of the most important requirements to recognize, measure, and mitigate risk to electrical workers. In the event of an electrical incident such as arc flash burns or electrical shock, serious injury and even fatalities can occur. The potential costs for an employer who fails to take preventive risk mitigation steps are estimated to be millions of dollars.

When is an arc flash risk assessment required?  

Importantly, an arc flash risk assessment must be completed before a worker is exposed to an electrical hazard. An arc flash study should be reviewed every five years, or any time modifications are made to the facility that can affect the outcome of the study. Major or sometimes minor variations such as fuse type or breaker setting adjustments can have a huge impact on personal safety. 

What does the study include?

As part of a company’s safety protocols, an arc flash risk assessment provides insight into the steps an employer needs to take to protect workers. With the results of these risk assessment analyses, employers can mitigate or reduce hazards to a manageable level. Providing labels to raise awareness, inform employees, and aid in selecting the proper PPE for the task. The studies usually take 4 to 6 weeks to complete, depending on the size of the facility. ESS protocol for arc flash risk assessment includes the following:

  • Data Collection: Collect necessary data about the facility’s power distribution system, including transformers KVA and impedance, nameplate specifications, fuses, breakers, along with lengths and sizes of all cables.
  • Engineering Analysis of the Data: Perform a short circuit analysis to determine the available fault current at each location. 
  • Protective Device Coordination: Determines which upstream overcurrent device will operate first based on fault currents and plotting the time-current curves for the fuses or breakers found in the system. 
  • Arc Flash Calculations: Determine incident energy levels and flash protection boundaries and complete calculations of all relevant equipment based on IEEE. 
  • Arc Flash Study and Analysis Report: Once the calculations are completed a comprehensive report will be built based on the findings in your facility. 
  • Label Installation: Creation and installation of warning labels pinpointing incident energy and working distance, arc flash boundary, and nominal system voltage. Include Limited, Restricted approach boundaries, date, and recommended personal protection equipment (PPE) as well.

By individually analyzing these systems and labeling equipment to warn employees of the specific hazards found at that location, you can increase personnel and workplace safety. 

As part of a company’s safety protocols, an arc flash risk assessment provides insight into the steps an employer needs to take to protect workers.

Can Electrical Safety Specialists help?

As required by OSHA and the NFPA 70E, Electrical Safety Specialists (ESS) offers arc flash risk assessment for ensuring worker safety. The purpose of our visit is to help save lives and money by safe work practices and minimize the possibility of injuries and lost time accidents. Our engineering technicians are experienced and trained on the intricacies of the data collection process for an arc flash study. ESS provides the highest quality of service available anywhere in the United States.