Arc Flash Hazard Analysis vs Arc Flash Risk Assessment

Why, as of 2015, will the NFPA be referring to an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis as an Arc Flash Risk Assessment?

The reason why the NFPA has made this change is to help clarify that an electrical panel is not necessarily always a hazard. If the equipment is properly maintained and kept up to date the panel actually being a “hazard” or hazardous is very minimal but the “risk” for an Arc Flash Hazard is still there. Which is why proper precautions, such as the application of the appropriate voltage rated PPE, must still be taken.

The definition however is still basically the same but a bit more simplified…

NFPA 70E 2015 Article 130.5nfpa 70e 2015

An Arc Flash Risk Assessment shall be performed and shall:

(1) Determine if an arc flash hazard exists. If an arc flash hazard does exist, the risk assessment shall determine:

a. Appropriate safe-related work practices

b. The arc flash boundary

c. The PPE to be used within the arc flash boundary

(2) Be updated when a major modification or renovation takes place. It shall be reviewed periodically, at intervals not to exceed 5 years, to account for changes in the electrical distribution system that could effect the results of the arc flash risk assessment.

(3) Take into consideration the design of the overcurrent protective device and its opening time, including its condition of maintenance.

Also, as of 2015, it is required for the Arc Flash Risk Assessment results be documented. NFPA 70E 2015 130.5 (A)

Click here for an example of qualifying “Documentation”

 NFPA 70E 2012 Article 130.5NFPA 70E 2012

An arc flash hazard analysis shall determine the arc flash boundary, the incident energy at the working distance and the personal protective equipment that people within the arc flash boundary shall use.

The arc flash hazard analysis shall be updated when a major modification or renovation takes place. It shall be reviewed periodically, not to exceed 5 years, to account for changes in the electrical distribution system that could affect the results of the arc flash hazard analysis.

The arc flash hazard analysis shall take into consideration the design of the over current protective device and its opening time, including its condition of maintenance.

NFPA 70E 2015 Arc Flash PPE Selection

Were there any changes in the NFPA 70E 2015  Standard regarding the selection of Arc Flash PPE (Personal Protection Equipment)?

Yes,   here is how it is worded in both the 2015 and the 2012 versions:

NFPA 70E 2015 Article 130.6(C)

NFPA 7OE 130.6 (C) Arc Flash PPE. One of the following methods shall be used for the selection of PPE. Either, but not both, methods shall be permitted to be used on the same piece of equipment. The results of an incident energy analysis to specify an arc flash PPE Category in the table 130.7 (C)(16) shall not be permitted.

NFPA 70E 2015 Arc Rated PPE(1) Incident Energy Analysis Method. The incident energy exposure level shall be based on the working distance of the employee’s face and chest areas from a prospective arc source for the specific task to be performed. Arc-rated clothing and other PPE shall be used by the employee based on the incident energy exposure associated with the specific task. Recognizing that incident energy increases as the distance from the arc flash decreases, additional PPE shall used for any parts of the body that are closer than the distance at which the incident energy is determined.

(2) Arc Flash PPE Categories Method. The requirements of 130.7(C)(15) and 130.7(C)(16) shall apply when the arc flash PPE category method is used for the selection of arc flash PPE.

NFPA 70E 2012 130.5 (B)

Protective Clothing and Other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for the Application with an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis. Where it has been determined that work will be performed within the arc flash boundary, one of the following methods shall be used for the selection of protective clothing and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

(1) Incident Energy Analysis. The incident energy analysis shall determine, and the employer shall document, the incident energy exposure of the worker (in calories per square centimeter) The incident Energy exposure level shall be based on the working distance of the employee’s face and chest areas from the perspective arc source for the specific task to be performed. Arc-rated clothing and other PPE shall be used by the employee based on the incident energy exposure associated with the specific task. Recognizing that incident energy increases as the distance from the arc flash decreases, additional PPE shall used for any parts of the body that are closer than the distance at which the incident energy is determined.

(2) Hazard/Risk Categories. The requirements of 130.7(C)(15) and 130.7(C)(16) shall be permitted to be used for the selection and use of personal and other protective equipment.

Arc Flash Warning Labels and Equipment Labeling

Have there been any changes in NFPA 70E 2015 regarding Arc Flash Warning Labels or Equipment Labeling?

Yes, for the most part everything is the same except one big item has been left off the required list.

Here is how NFPA 70E 2015 and NFPA 70E 2012 compare:

NFPA 70E 2015 Article 130.6 (D) Equipment Labeling

Electrical equipment such as switchboards, panelboards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures, and motor control centers that are in other than dwelling units and that are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall be field marked with a label containing all the following information:

(1) Nominal system voltageArc Flash Warning Label NFPA 70E 2015

(2) Arc flash boundary

(3) At least one of the following:

a. Available incident energy and the corresponding working distance, or the arc flash PPE category in the table 130(C)(15)(A)(b) or Table 130.7 (C)(15)(B) for the equipment but not both

b. Minimum Arc Rating of clothing

c. Site-specific level of PPE

Exception: Labels applied prior to September 30,2011 are acceptable if they contain the available incident energy or required level of PPE.

The method of calculating and the data to support the information for the label SHALL BE DOCUMENTED. Where the review of the arc flash hazard risk assessment identifies a change that renders the label inaccurate, the label shall be updated.

The owner of the electrical equipment shall be responsible for the documentation, installation, and maintenance of the field-marked label.

NFPA 70E 2012 Article 130.5 (C) Equipment Labeling

Electrical equipment such as switchboards, panelboards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures, and motor control centers that are in other than dwelling units and that are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall be field marked with a label containing all the following information:

(1) At least one of the following:

a. Available incident energy and the corresponding working distance

b. Minimum arc rating of clothing

c. Required level of PPE

d. Highest Hazard/Risk Category (HRC) for the equipment

(2) Nominal system voltage

(3) Arc Flash boundary

Exception: Labels applied prior to September 30,2011 are acceptable if they contain the available incident energy or required level of PPE.

The method of calculating and the data to support the information for the label SHALL BE DOCUMENTED.

Approach Boundaries NFPA 70E 2015 Update

NFPA 70E 2015 130.4 Approach Boundaries to Energized Electrical Conductors or Circuit Parts for Shock Protection.

NFPA 70E 2015 Approach Boundaries Tables

NFPA 70E 2015 Approach Boundaries Table 130.4(D)(a) – Free Download

(A) Shock Risk Assessment. A shock risk assessment shall determine the voltage to which personnel will be exposed, the boundary requirement, and the PPE necessary in order to minimize the possibility of electric shock to personnel.

(B) Shock Protection Boundaries. The shock protection boundaries identified as limited approach boundary and restricted approach boundary shall be applicable where approaching personnel are exposed to energized electrical conductors or circuit parts. Table 130.4(D)(a) shall be used for the distances associated with various ac systems voltages. Table 130.4(D)(a) shall be used for the distances associated with various dc system voltages.

(C) Limited Approach Boundary.

(1) Approach by Unqualified Persons. Unless permitted by 130.4(C)(3), no unqualified person shall be permitted to approach nearer than the limited approach boundary of energized conductors or circuit parts.

(2) Working at or Close to the Limited Approach Boundary. Where one or more unqualified persons are working at or close to the limited approach boundary, the designated person in charge of the work space where the electrical hazard exists shall advise the unqualified person(s) of the electrical hazard and warn him or her to stay outside the limited approach boundary.

Arc Flash Approach Boundaries NFPA 70E

NFPA 70E 2015 Approach Boundaries Table 130.4(D)(b) – Free Download

(3) Entering the Limited Approach Boundary. Where there is a need for an unqualified person(s) to cross the limited approach boundary, a qualified person shall advise him or her of the possible hazards and continuously escort the unqualified person(s) while inside the Limited Approach Boundary. Under no circumstance shall the escorted unqualified person(s) be permitted to cross the Restricted Approach Boundary.

(D) Restricted Approach Boundary. No qualified person shall approach or take any conductive object closer exposed energized electrical conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 volts or more than the restricted approach boundary set forth in Table 130.4(D)(a) and Table 130.4(D)(b), unless one of the following conditions applies:

(1) The qualified person is insulated or guarded from the energized electrical conductors or circuit parts operating at 50 volts or more. Insulating gloves or insulating gloves and sleeves are considered insulation only with regard to the energized parts upon which work is being performed. If there is a need for an uninsulated part of the qualified persons body to contact exposed energized electrical conductors or circuit parts, a combination of
130.4(D)(1), 130.4(D)(2), and 130.4(D)(3), shall be used to protect the uninsulated body parts.

(2) The energized electrical conductors or circuit part operating at 50 volts or more are insulated from the qualified person and from any other conductive object at a different potential.

(3) The qualified person is insulated from any other conductive object.