So you’re about to work on an energised distribution board/panel. You have looked over the arc flash label on the board/panel and determined what personal protective equipment you require. You get dressed in the appropriate PPE and are now much more protected in the event of an arc flash.
Arc Flash Protection is NOT:
- Wearing PPE that protects against arc flash
- Having arc flash hazard labels on your electrical equipment
- Going through arc flash electrical safety training
While the above listed items are excellent ways to help reduce the risk of being harmed in the event of an arc flash, they in themselves do not actually prevent the arc flash hazard. So what exactly is arc flash prevention?
Arc flash control involves trying to lower the actual arc flash hazard itself. For example, say under normal operating conditions a board/panel has an incident energy of 35 cal/cm2. However, after performing arc flash mitigation, the incident energy is lowered to 10 cal/cm2, thus also lowering the overall arc flash hazard at this panel. You might be thinking, “Wow! The incident energy at that panel was significantly lowered! How is that possible?” Well, arc flash mitigation is possible through various methods and procedures.
Arc Flash Reduction Methods:
- Only working on electrical equipment that is de-energised
- While this allows people to work on electrical equipment without any arc flash hazard, it is often not possible
- Using remote racking devices
- This creates distance between you and the arc flash hazard boundary
- Using remote actuator switches
There are numerous other methods that you could explore.