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Consider this comparison: Seatbelts used to be optional but are now enforced and regular practice; calculating arc flash values were once impossible but are now saving lives.  Once standardized arc flash calculations were put into place in 2002 (IEEE 1584) the electrical safety world was changed forever. The fact is, now that we can calculate arc flash to warn workers, we must, regardless of when other entities decide to start implementing this practice.

Here are a few standards that support those requirements:

OSHA 1910.132 requires that employers identify and protect their workers from workplace hazards. Every energized electrical system has shock and arc flash hazards, performing an incident energy analysis is how we identify arc flash. 

NEC (National Electrical Code) 110.16 requires that electrical equipment be labeled warning of arc flash hazards.  Keep in mind that the NEC is the installation standard, so this must be done early-on.

NFPA 70E (Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace) requires that workers appropriately protect themselves from arc flash hazards throughout the standard including:

Section 130.5 Arc Flash Analysis – requires an arc flash risk assessment to be performed: to identify arc flash hazards, to estimate the likelihood of occurrence of injury or damage to health and the potential severity of injury or damage to health, to determine if additional protective measures are required, including the use of PPE, energy at the working distance, and the PPE that people within the arc flash boundary shall use. This assessment shall be reviewed at intervals not to exceed 5 years.

Section 130.5 (H) Labeling – requires all equipment “likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall be field marked”… with a label containing voltage (for shock) and arc flash hazard information which allows the worker to identify severity, establish boundaries and properly choose PPE. Applicable work requiring this information would include any energized testing or troubleshooting activity.  Additionally:  “The owner of the electrical equipment shall be responsible for the documentation, installation, and maintenance of the marked label.”

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