FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Rozel – Arc Flash Evaluation
How does Rozel complete an arc flash evaluation?
- Rozel evaluates how large an explosion could be, determines incident energy levels and arc flash protection boundaries, we then make recommendations to help lower the risk of potential hazards and finally we label equipment to warn those nearby of the risks associated.
- We gather electrical blueprints, one-line diagrams, and any other applicable plans, determine utility information and available fault current, collect information about transformer ratings, fuses and impedances, collect panel information, conductor sizes and lengths and determine fuse and breaker information and ratings.
- Using the information collected, we calculate incident energy levels, and provide suggestions to lower arc flash potential, if applicable.
- We then assist with Labeling. All equipment is labeled with hazard labels specifying the electrical hazard (arc flash, or shock) for that particular panel or piece of equipment.
What does it take to become compliant with NFPA 70E?
NFPA 70E compliance happens in three major parts:
- Evaluating the electrical system and arc flash potential
– Rozel evaluates how large an explosion could be, determines incident energy levels and arc flash protection boundaries, we then make recommendations to help lower the risk of potential hazards and finally we label equipment to warn those nearby of the risks associated.
- Training of employees
– Rozel offers arc flash and electrical safety training to employees so they can understand what labels mean, what PPE should be worn and how to behave around electrical hazards
- Culture Change
– Staying compliant with NFPA 70E requires that facilities continue to safely practice what they have been trained on and retrain as necessary.
What Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is required?
- PPE for flash will depend on the potential arc flash risk, calculated during the arc flash study. After the analysis, a hazard category level will be determined, and using the PPE matrix found in NFPA 70E, the appropriate PPE is selected.
- PPE for shock hazard is also required and is determined by the voltage of the equipment being worked on.
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Can we just label everything the same (e.g. Category 2 or 3) and not do a full evaluation?
- Labeling everything with a single category could lead to a dangerous situation of underestimating the hazard (almost all facilities have at least one “Dangerous” rating), without doing a calculation there is really no way to know the highest risks.
- Wearing bulky PPE that isn’t necessary is not only uncomfortable, but can increase the risk of other injuries.
What conditions contribute the size of my hazards?
- There are several variables that will affect the amount of energy in an arc flash, both in initial size and duration. Characteristics from your utility provider such as available current and specific characteristics of your protective devices (switchgear, fuses, breakers, etc.) are used for calculations. The amount of time it takes a protective device to clear and the distance from the flash are major variables in our calculations.
- Using a multimeter is an easy way to test for the level of shock hazard, for arc flash you must go through the process of gathering equipment information and calculating the result.
Most of our equipment is under 600V, do we really need to worry about arc flash?
Yes you do. We have found what appear to be identical 480V panels side by side in a facility, completed the evaluation and discovered that one of those panels has a very dangerous arc flash rating (capable of 2nd degree burns at 100″+) and the other has the safest arc flash rating (capable of 2nd degree burns at 18″). A dangerous flash can occur at almost any voltage level.
Why should a facility become NFPA 70E Compliant?
- For the safety of your employees. Most hospital admissions due to electrical accidents are caused from arc flash burns, not shocks. An arc flash takes the form of intense light, dangerous sound and pressure waves, expelled molten metal and shrapnel, and arc temperatures of several thousand degrees Celsius (four times the temperature of the sun’s surface). Injuries can include concussions, collapsed lungs, hearing loss, broken bones, eye damage and burns.
- NFPA 70E is a comprehensive electrical safety standard. Ensuring anyone exposed to an electrical hazard is trained to recognize and work around hazards benefits everyone.
- For the safety of your equipment. Equipment can be destroyed from an arc flash, causing extensive downtime and expensive repair. Arc flash incidents can produce economic damage, including medical bills, litigation fees, insurance increases, fines, accident investigation, etc.
- To maintain regulatory compliance
- Prevent fines, and potentially reduce insurance premiums.
The first edition of NFPA 70E was published in 1979, why is there suddenly so much attention towards arc flash/NFPA 70E?
- Arc flash and shock hazards have existed as long as electricity has. NFPA 70E has contained valuable information to protect against shock, i.e. rubber insulating gloves. It was only in the last 15 years however, that we learned how to accurately calculate an arc flash. The calculations became easier with the advancement of software and computers. Now that we understand how to calculate a shock, let’s protect against it.
- Better studies and calculations have been done to allow calculations of potential arc energies.
- NFPA 70E is not only the recognized standard but it is now becoming more general knowledge. As more people learn the value of this standard, more will be trained.
What is an arc flash/NFPA 70E?
- Arc flash is the explosion associated with an electrical short circuit.
- NFPA 70E is the national Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.
- OSHA requires an employer to provide a safe work environment for their employees – NFPA 70E is the standard for employers and employees to recognize, respond to, and work around electrical shock and arc flash hazards.
- Most people understand the importance of the NEC (National Electrical Code). The NEC’s requirements must be met when building a home, office, restaurant, etc. It is the recognized standard for electrical installation. The NEC is published by NFPA, in fact, it is actually “NFPA 70”. There is another book named “NFPA 70B Recommended Practice for Electrical Equipment Maintenance” which is the recognized standard maintaining electrical equipment after installing it. NFPA 70E is the recognized standard for working around electrical equipment.