Arc Flash Labeling Requirements – Are You Really in Compliance?
Arc flash hazard is a subject that is undergoing increased discussion and scrutiny in today’s safety conscious environment. Arc flashes in electric equipment are hazardous to workers and can result in fatalities, costly damage to equipment, and delays in production until repairs can be made.
Arc flash labels on electrical equipment are required by the National Electrical Code and NFPA 70E; OSHA regulations requiring warning labels have existed since approximately 2000. Unlabeled equipment is a safety violation, and if facilities managers have not hired people to label their electrical equipment, they also risk increased insurance costs. According to one expert, the average medical expense for an employee who survives an arc flash is $1.5 million. The price of litigation and settlement in arc flash cases can be between $5 million and $10 million.
To increase safety and ensure compliance throughout the workplace, it is essential to identify arc flash hazards in your facilities. Each piece of equipment operating at 50 volts or more and not put into a de-energized state must be evaluated for arc flash and shock protection. Arc flash labeling is an important responsibility that should be addressed by the employer and includes the labeling of electrical equipment such as switchboards, panel boards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures and motor control centers.
Proper maintenance and coordination of protective devices is vital when doing an arc flash hazard analysis. All the studies in the world are useless if the equipment does not function as expected or designed. And it is very important for electrical safety to have up-to-date single-line diagrams available.
After an arc flash hazard analysis has been completed, additional engineering may be required to lower high levels of incident energy to manageable levels. Only a complete electrical system analysis by a qualified professional can identify the level of personal protective equipment required at each location in the system.
Feel free to contact us to discuss your electrical system in detail. We have the technical expertise, practical experience, and specialized software including SKM Power*Tools® for Windows to perform your power systems analysis, so you can be confident that your electrical system is in good hands. Arc flash risk assessment, short-circuit and protective device coordination studies are prepared by an Alabama licensed professional engineer skilled in performing and interpreting the results of the studies. – Paul McCain, P.E.