Tips for Arc Flash Analysis

Arc Flash Analysis, Hazard Engineers, Power quality Analysis

What is an Arc Flash?

Our arc flash hazard engineers help facility owners to understand that Arc Flash is a dangerous situation associated with the explosive release of energy caused by an electrical arc, due to a power system fault. This fault can result from many factors, including dropped tools onto energized parts, accidental contact with energized electrical systems and components, build up of conductive dust, corrosion, improper work procedures or any other actions that short circuit energized parts.

In the event of an arc flash hazard incident, the intense energy from the arc vaporizes the adjacent material that produces a sudden air expansion through the open side of the enclosure toward the maintenance worker. The energy released by the arc is function of voltage of the system, the magnitude of the current and the duration of the arc.

Do You Need an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis?

Arc flash analysis combines the information available from short circuit studies and protective device coordination studies to optimize the protective device performance. Arc flash hazard engineers evaluate the amount of heat released in the event of a fault in the power distribution system and determine the minimum PPE required at each piece of equipment.

Standards for electrical safety in the work place require that any fault should be cleared quickly as possible to reduce the duration and magnitude of the heat released by the short circuit currents. We review engineering practices to obtain faster fault clearing times even if that means some compromise in device coordination.

Short circuit studies should be performed to determine available fault currents and arc flash hazards. Previous industry studies have shown that by performing short circuit studies, the minor revisions in breaker settings or fuse changes can lead to major reductions of facility arc flash hazards.

Per NFPA 70E Arc Flash Hazard Analysis shall be performed to protect a person from the possibility of being injured by an arc flash. The Flash Hazard Analysis must be performed to determine the appropriate PPE required for personnel working near any exposed electrical conductor or circuit part. In order to determine the appropriate level of PPE required, the available fault current at the energized electrical equipment being serviced must be calculated and the clearing time of the device opening the circuit to the fault reviewed.

Using the Default Tables vs. Doing a Calculated Analysis?

A realistic assessment and calculation can be obtained if performing a proper arc flash analysis, and you can enable your workers with the proper protective safety equipment. The cost of the arc flash analysis is a small price to avoid the expenses and lost productivity that may result from over or under specification of PPE that can happen when using default tables of NFPA 70E compared to when an analysis is not performed.

Current Solutions, P.C. provides these electrical power system studies and electrical safety training, with recommendations to help improve your overall power system safety. In today’s ever changing environment of electrical power distribution systems – equipment, savings, safety and reliability are becoming the focal point of facilities.

Features of the Arc Flash Study:

Current Solutions, P.C. engineers will assist you in determining what your facility must do to comply with the National Fire Protection Association guidelines that are being enforced by Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). The assessment could include:

May Want to Consider An Arc Flash Study, When:

Current Solutions P.C. Arc Flash Related Services:

Current Solutions, P.C. offers Arc Flash Analysis, to identify appropriate levels of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for employees working on electrical equipment. In addition to arc flash analysis, our engineering staff can perform an assessment of your facility’s needs for compliance and a review of the overall power system. Our engineers will consult with you and understand your application.