Electronics Protection - Fall 2015 - (Page 6)

Feature Beat the Heat: Six Best Practices for Protecting Your People and Your Business from Arc Flash Hazards Wally Vahlstrom, Director Technical Service Emerson Network Power, Electrical Reliability Services If your business relies on energized electrical equipment, then the potential for arc flash to occur always exists. In fact, arc flash happens more often than you might imagine. The Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) reports that 2,000 workers are admitted to burn centers each year for extended injury treatment caused by arc flash, and it has been said that arc-flash incidents claim one life every workday. Arc flash happens when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is not sufficient to withstand the applied voltage; the air dielectric breaks down (ionizes); and the resulting fault current passes through the ionized air creating an arc flash. The flash can produce an explosion-type blast with temperatures up to four times hotter than the surface of the sun, and it can be powerful enough to fatally burn someone standing more than 10 feet away from the source. Arc flash can also seriously damage equipment, facilities and your bottom line. While arc flash has devastating consequences, the good news is that facilities can take highly effective steps to protect their employees and operations. Perhaps the best way to accomplish this level of protection is by staying current with the latest requirements from organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). OSHA recently published its first-ever arc flash protection requirements for the electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry, making significant changes to electrical safety requirements in high-voltage environments. In addition, the most recent version of NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace includes changes to safety, maintenance and training requirements designed to better protect people and businesses. Below you'll find best practices based on these standards. Follow the recommendations, and you'll be well on your way to creating the electrically-safe and regulatory-compliant workplace your business and employees deserve. 1. Use Engineering Analysis to Determine the Severity Of Arc Flash Hazards OSHA has always made employers responsible for identifying hazards and risks employees face on the job including arc flash risks. In addition, NFPA 70E 2015 specifically requires facility owners to perform an arc flash risk assessment prior to allowing workers to perform tasks on or near energized equipment. While the arc Flash personal protective equipment (PPE) 6 Fall 2015 * www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com Categories Method (sometimes referred to as the table method) for determining arc flash boundaries is outlined in 70E as an alternative method, the tables are often misused in the field, which can put workers at risk. To correctly use the table method, a worker would need to know the magnitude of the available fault current and protective device clearing time that apply to the specific equipment on which he or she will be working. But as a practical matter these parameters can only be determined by calculation. The engineering analysis method involves reviewing technical data and using software to perform calculations. Performing an engineering analysis clearly takes more time and expense than using the tables, but putting in the extra effort delivers more accurate, site-specific results that lead to more effective safety practices and could even save a life. 2. Give Your Workers Hands On Training Based on the results of your arc flash hazard analysis, you can customize a safety training program that ensures workers fully understand the shock and arc flash hazards present in your workplace. Specifically, NFPA 70E requires that workers must learn skills for identifying and assessing electrical and arc flash hazards and for selecting and using the right PPE. They must also be trained to read and follow hazard warning labels and to implement methods for reducing risk when working on live exposed parts. These training requirements are rigorous, but with lives on the line they are warranted. The training is also ideally delivered in an instructor-led setting as opposed to Web-based training, a preference that has been indicated by OSHA and industry professionals around the world. Per NFPA 70E, such training needs to be provided at least every three years and whenever new procedures or practices are introduced. It's important to keep in mind that today's standards mandate safety training for employees who work on energized electrical equipment as well as for employees who work around such equipment. Furthermore, to ensure compliance, training must be documented and your training program must be audited every three years. 3. Help Your Employees Choose the Right Protection Using the appropriate PPE is one of the best ways to avoid injuries from arc flash. Without it, employees can be seriously injured or even killed, and your organization could be hit with hefty fines as a result. For example, just last year an electric technician working in Buffalo, NY, sustained third degree burns on her hand and first http://www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronics Protection - Fall 2015

Electronics Protection - Fall 2015
Editor's Choice
Beat the Heat: Six Best Practices for Protecting Your People and Your Business from Arc Flash Hazards
Data Center Design and Cooling for Sensitive Electronics
Electronic Access Solutions - Design Considerations for Your Data Center
An Unsung Hero: the Gas Discharge Tube
Innovation Demands That You Break the Rules
Industry News
Calendar of Events

Electronics Protection - Fall 2015