Arc Flash NFPA 70e

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The Occupational Health and Safety Administration OSHA knew that there was no perfect standard to implement electrical safety in the workplace. And therefore, they requested the NFPA to provide them documentation that would properly help them with administration of safety procedures. As a result, the new flash protection standard came into being in terms of NFPA 70E.

Arc flash NFPA 70E is the standard that addresses electrical safety requirements for employees. It focuses on preventing death and injury from fire and burns. Main aim is to provide protection to workers based on the potential energy to which they could be exposed. It provides multiple methods by which the employer can calculate or estimate the hazard or risk. It covers electrical safety issues like safety related work practices, maintenance of electrical equipments / installations, requirement of special equipments for electrical installation.

Electrical shock has many adverse effects on human body like muscle contraction, pain etc. and can cause chemical imbalance in the body. It may result in memory loss, hearing loss, and damage of vital organs like heart, brain etc. and may be fatal sometimes. Burns from shock may be superficial (surface burns) of the order 1st and 2nd degree burn or may be internal damage, damaging internal organs to the extent of 3rd degree burn. These internal burns may be fatal sometimes. Human body exposed to Arc Flash may be superficial if proper cloths are worn but can be dangerous if proper cloths are not worn and they are ignited.

PRECAUTIONS TO AVOID ELECTRICAL SHOCK

  1. Ensure an electrically safe working condition by lockingout and taggingout all sources and ensure absence of electrical energy.
  2. Take live work permit. Determine limited approach boundary, restricted approach boundary and prohibited approach boundary. Only qualified persons can enter the restricted approach boundary. These boundaries determine when electrical workers must use voltage grade gloves and voltage rated tools. Determine flash protection boundary. Qualified person with flame resistant clothing are only allowed to work with in flash protection boundary. Determine hazard or risk category and select the correct type of PPE to wear. It is important to match the arc rating of the flame resistant apparel with the hazard rating for maximum protection of the worker against the chance of burn injury or death.
  3. All personnel working on electrical installation or equipment operating at voltage above 50 Volts must wear Arc Flash protective garments to prevent injury. This includes flame resistant clothing, use of insulated tools, face shields and flash suits.
  4. Train your employees about construction, operation and hazards associated with different equipments and installations in the factory premises. Train them properly for safe work practices and procedures.

You are well aware that how electricity is dangerous and electricians often encounter many adverse hazards. And therefore, there needs to be NFPA 70e arc flash standards strictly observed and some electrical education should be provided that incorporates NFPA 70 E.


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