Arc flash compliance

OSHA mandates that employers identify electrical hazards, warn employees about the hazards and provide them proper protection and training regarding the hazards. Compliance with OSHA is mandatory for all Canadian companies. While OSHA tells you "what to do" for arc flash, they don't tell you how to do it. The role of NFPA 70E, IEEE 1584 and NEC is to provide guidance on "how" to properly implement the OSHA regulations.

1.OSHA Standards 29-CFR, Part 1910. Occupational Safety and Health Standards. 1910 sub part S (electrical) Standard number 1910.333 specifically addresses Standards for Work Practices and references NFPA 70E. OSHA 29CFR 1910.335 (a) (1)(i) requires the use of protective equipment when working where a potential electrical hazard exists and 29CFR 1910.132(d)(1) which requires the employer assess the workplace for hazards and the need for personal protective equipment.

2.NFPA 70E provides guidance on implementing appropriate work practices that are required to safeguard workers from injury while working on or near exposed electrical conductors or circuit parts that could become energized. Part II 2-1.3.3 regarding Arc Flash Study / Analysis states that an " Arc Flash Hazard Analysis shall be done before a person approaches any exposed electrical conductor or circuit part that has not been placed in an electrical safe work condition". This Arc Flash Hazard Study / Analysis must be done to determine the level of Personal Protection Equipment PPE that a worker must use, and the Arc Flash Boundary in inches along with the incident energy found at each location. Each panel must be marked with an ANSI z535 approved Arc Flash Hazard Warning Label.

3.The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 70 - “The National Electrical Code” (NEC) contains requirements for warning labels, including ANSI compliance.

4.The Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) 1584 – Provides the Guide to Performing Arc Flash Hazard Study Calculations.

Arc flash labeling

The NEC? and NFPA 70E require labeling of equipment to warn of potential arc flash hazards. Each panel must be marked with an ANSI approved Arc Flash Hazard Warning Label to warn and instruct workers of the arc flash hazard, voltage, arc flash boundary and required PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Subject to the requirements of the facility and arc flash analysis, labels are attached for each analyzed point of concern.

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The following Tentative Interim Amendment (TIA) has been proposed to NFPA. It is being published for public review and comment. The proposed TIA has also been forwarded to the responsible technical committee for processing. The technical committee will consider public comments received by the date indicated below before vote is taken on the...

  • May 2012
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  • Action on NFPA Codes & Standards