What does compliance look like?
Performing an arc flash study that’s up to the standards set by the NFPA 70E involves following procedures that are documented according to protocol. While many electrical companies offer arc flash services, only firms with electrical engineers can perform a comprehensive arc flash study compliant with the electrical safety code.
Meeting requirements depends on producing your arc flash study using incident energy calculations.
The Incident Energy Method is utilized according to IEEE 1584 guidelines to calculate a specific incident energy level in calories per cm 2. Based on the calculations, each piece of equipment is rated and labeled, so your team will know what PPE to wear when working on the gear. Labels compliant with the NFPA 70E include the date of the calculation, the incident energy level, boundaries, and voltage class.
To perform incident energy calculations, electrical safety experts like EPSCO collect arc flash data spanning the entire electrical infrastructure of the facility, then create a computer model of the electrical system that produces specific results for each piece of equipment. Labels are compliant only if generated from a comprehensive, system-wide study that uses the Incident Energy Method.
Some companies use the PPE Category or Tables method to generate labels, but this is illegal and could get your facility in trouble with OSHA. The PPE category method provides a suggested range of PPE for a general equipment class. Facilities that rely on the PPE category method cannot produce labels and have to leave PPE calculations up to each individual on their team every time they perform work- This can be costly in terms of time and sometimes lives.
A compliant arc flash results in a report with electrical system data and incident energy calculations. The values on your equipment labels should directly correspond to the calculations. Reports must be signed by a state-licensed professional engineer.
Completing a compliant arc flash study is a critical factor in improving electrical safety at your workplace.
Once complete, the data will help engineers and managers design an electrical safety program for everyone on your team. An effective safety program includes outlining employee tasks and needs, equipment protocols, and procedures everyone should know and adhere to.
Once your facility is arc flash compliant, it’s important to keep current with any changes to maintain compliance. New incident energy calculations will need to be performed if there are updates to equipment or the facility itself. Arc flash specialists like EPSCO retain the data and models from their clients’ studies so that updates can be completed with electrical engineering software that streamlines the compliance process.
Having an electrical safety expert perform your arc flash study relieves a lot of the stress of compliance. Code changes every three years, compliance needs to be renewed every five years, and understanding it all requires an electrical engineer.
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Arc flash safety experts at EPSCO perform a full system analysis of every piece of equipment at your facility. We can help you achieve compliance in an efficient, sustainable, and friendly way to your budget. Connect with us HERE.