Stark Safty Consultants

Arc flash – The dangers persists

According to data from National Fire Protection Association, the National Safety Council, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10 arc flash accidents happen every day in the U.S. – and more than 3,600 disabling electrical contact injuries happen every year.

Last year in Oregon two workers were seriously burned in arc flash incidents:

To read the entire article, click here:

http://www.cbs.state.or.us/osha/construction-depot/2013-02/2013-02-03.html#.USTNpmcQO0J

Unqualified persons need for electrical training to be “qualified” to perform non electrical work.

  • They must know what is and is not safe to touch in the specific areas they will be entering…
  • They must know the maximum voltage of the area …
  • They must know the minimum approach distances for the maximum voltage within the area …
  • They must be trained in the recognition and proper use of protective equipment that will be used to provide protection for them and in the work practices necessary for performing their specific work assignments …

Until these “qualified employees” have demonstrated proficiency in the work practices involved with their work, they are considered to be employees undergoing on-the-job training and must be under the direct supervision of a qualified person at all times. According to the definition of “qualified employee” the employee must also have demonstrated an ability to perform work safely at his or her level of training. It is expected that an orientation familiarizing the employee with the safety fundamentals given here will be conducted before an employee undergoing training is allowed to perform a task on their own as a person “qualified” to perform the task.

Do you need PPE for Operating Breakers

“(Are) operating breakers – opened/closed considered an arc flash exposure even if the hinged cover is on?”
NFPA’s 70E addresses that question in the “Informational Note No. 1 under the definition of “Arc Flash Hazard”:
An arc flash hazard may exist when energized electrical conductors or circuit parts are exposed or when they are within equipment in a guarded or enclosed condition, provided a person is interacting with the equipment in such a manner that could cause an electric arc. (Underlining is mine) Under normal operating conditions, enclosed energized equipment that has been properly installed and maintained is not likely to pose an arc flash hazard.
The two key parts of this statement are:
1. Whenever a person interacts with electrical equipment, such as an opening/closing operation, even though the door is closed or the cover is on, an arc flash hazard may exist.
2. If the equipment has been properly installed, according to the National Electric Code, and properly maintained, using such resources as NFPA’s Standard 70B and the International Electrical Testing Association’s Standard for Maintenance Testing Specifications, an arc flash hazard is not likely to occur.
A person needs to take into account the age of the equipment, the design of the equipment, as well as its installed and maintained condition in order to determine if there is an arc flash hazard when open or closing a circuit breaker.

A similar response was given in an OSHA letter of interpretation:

02/29/2008 – Whether employees who are verifying that an electrical system is de-energized or are turning off circuit
breakers are required to use personal protective equipment.

 

Accurate and up to date one line diagrams are required for valid LOTO applications

New Language in the 2012 NFPA 70E clarifies the importance of one line diagrams for verifying the proper sources of energy are being isolated:

Changed From 2009

•120.2(F)(1)(a): Revised by indicating that the employer is responsible for providing an effective means for locating “all” sources of energy when up-to-date drawings are not available.

Locating Sources. Up-to-date single-line drawings shall be considered a primary reference source for such information. When up-to-date drawings are not available, the employer shall be responsible for ensuring that an equally effective means of locating all sources of energy is employed.

Quick Points to NFPA-70E Compliance

1. Conduct a hazard assessment to determine the incident energy or hazard risk categories, use hazard assessment results to determine the types of PPE required, and designate the flash protection boundary accordingly. Apply equipment warning labels accordingly.

It is critical to have an idea of the magnitude of the hazard before you can truly create a safe work plan of action. Remember not all PPE is created equal.

2. Purchase and make available PPE.

It doesn’t do you any good to do hazard assessment if you’re not going to have the PPE available identified by the assessment.

3. Train employees.

You want to train your employees on arc flash and make sure they’re aware of what the requirements are when working on those panels.  Employees to train would include electrical technicians, maintenance technicians, supervisors, engineers, and anyone else reasonably expected to face arc flash hazards and need to know arc flash requirements. The legal regulations are specific – be sure you understand the training requirements in depth.

4. Have a written electrical safety policy

Documentation of all the steps that have been taken should be written in your policy and define who is to follow and when. Your policy should direct those who are exposed to electrical hazards in any aspect of their job duties.

Upcoming 8 Hr Electrical safe work practices course in Canton, Ohio

Stark Safety Consultants Presents:
8 Hour Electrical Safe Work Practices: NFPA 70E course for Qualified Persons:

Including:  A look at the changes to the 2012 NFPA 70E

This is a must course even if you’ve had similar training in the past!
8 hours of OCILB credit will be given

To view the Course Outline, fees and to register go to:  http://ssc10-4-2011.eventbee.com

 

The Value is in the Details

Conducting an arc flash incident energy analysis is becoming big business.  Unfortunately, this has lead to an abundance of providers, and a sea of information that can be quite difficult for a facility manager to understand.  Is the information provided accurate, appropriate, and complete?  There are a wide range of deliverables that are being offered and one of the biggest areas of concerns is regarding the accuracy of the information used in the calculations of the analysis.

The term “engineered assumptions” is pulled from several IEEE documents regarding arc flash studies and it was intended for the experienced engineer to determine what assumptions to make based on the intent of the analysis being performed.  Unfortunately, the demand and urgency of having an arc flash evaluation completed has led some firms to use assumptions as a means to complete studies in a quicker more cost effective manner – but there can be consequences for doing this unless very experienced and knowledgeable electrical safety professionals are involved.

Simply put; assumptions can tip the scale at any point in the system leading to a drastic change in clearing time for a protective device based on the arcing fault current plot on a time current curve.  Just as the 85% versus 100% evaluation of available fault current does in most software based analytical programs.  The fewer assumptions that are made the more accurate the analysis is likely to be.  A distance assumption of 10’ versus 15’ may not make a difference…but it may just as well – and the comfort in using more assumptions can grow from there. It is hard to predict ahead of time if a given assumption will affect the results of analysis at any given point in a system?  Only after the electrical system has been modeled and calculations have been run can you begin to see where assumptions might have been able to be made.  The insurmountable amount of interrelated calculations that are involved with an analysis make it impossible to know where an assumption will or will not change a result to a less conservative value.

The analysis processes in arc flash software programs themselves make assumptions. One core assumption is that the protective device will operate per the manufactures specifications – This assumes proper preventive maintenance has been adequately performed when in fact it may not have been.

It is not necessarily an acceptable reason to assume information just because no one wants to gather the data, pay someone to gather the data, or schedule an outage to be able to get data – much the same as a cost or inconvenience factor is not by itself considered a valid justification for “working” energized.  If the data is there is should be gathered and modeled.

Remembering the purpose for conducting the arc flash analysis in the first place is critical – To provide information to employees and outside contractors to use for determining safe work practices and PPE.  Failing to understand the effects that assumptions can have on your study may not be initially apparent; however, finding out that your system analysis was not based entirely on actual field values, and that “engineered assumptions” were used in order to get the study done cheaper or quicker may be a reality that is not worth the cost to begin with.

 

Stark Safety Consultants specializes in Arc flash hazard analysis and electrical safe work practices training as well as related consulting services to aid in the creation and updating of electrical safety policies. Stark Safety Consultants is a proud National Training Partner of the National Joint Apprenticeship Committee (NJATC) and associate member of the National Electrical Contractors association.

Stark Safety Consultants Will Be Exhibiting At The 2011 NECA Show Booth # 2228

Canton OH, – Stark Safety Consultants will return again to the 2011 NECA Show in San Diego. The show dates are October 22-25 at the San Diego Convention Center. Stark Safety Consultants specializes in partnering with companies to ensure workplace electrical safety. Their flexible, a la carte approach to accomplishing workplace safety sets them apart from others in the industry by allowing companies to choose how much or how little involvement they require of Stark Safety Consultants.

“Our ultimate goal is to create an environment that reduces ‘at risk’ behaviors and keeps your company running smoothly and efficiently,” states Steve Abbott, president of Stark Safety Consultants. “We work with you to develop a plan that details as much or as little SSC involvement as you desire.”

Stark Safety Consultants is a NECA associate member and a national training partner of NJATC. SSC partners with businesses and helps them address their customers’ growing electrical safety needs. Located in Canton Ohio, they have been serving architects, contractors and business owners for 32 years and employ 100 full-time employees. For more information, contact Steve Abbott, President, Stark Safety Consultants, 1935 Allen Avenue SE, Canton OH, 44707; phone: 866.923.7922 or 330.417.4923; fax: 330.452.4343; email: SteveA@StarkSafetyConsultants.com; www.starksafetyconsultants.com.

Stark Safety Consultants Redesigns Website

Canton OH, – Stark Safety Consultants has redesigned its website as of August 2011. The goal of the new site, www.starksafetyconsultants.com, is to offer a compilation of electrical workplace safety and arc flash hazard reduction information and resources.

“The newly designed website will offer potential and current clients the ability to access information about electrical safety – all in one location,” states Steve Abbott, president of Stark Safety Consultants. The site is an on-going project that will be updated frequently and contains blogs, videos, and industry resources, as well as Stark Safety Consultants company materials. According to Abbott, “Our company has a lot of knowledge. We want to educate business owners on the importance of electrical workplace safety and assist them in keeping compliant with federal regulations.”

Stark Safety Consultants is a NECA associate member and a national training partner of NJATC. SSC partners with businesses and helps them address their customers’ growing electrical safety needs. Located in Canton Ohio, they have been serving architects, contractors and business owners for 32 years and employ 100 full-time employees. For more information, contact Steve Abbott, President, Stark Safety Consultants, 1935 Allen Avenue SE, Canton OH, 44707; phone: 866.923.7922 or 330.417.4923; fax: 330.452.4343; email: SteveA@StarkSafetyConsultants.com; www.starksafetyconsultants.com.

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