What is an Arc Flash Study?
An Arc Flash Study is an evaluation of your electrical system to determine the incident energy levels measured in Cal/cm². This evaluation starts at your incoming utility point of attachment (utility transformer) and typically ends at your electrical panels, equipment control panels and local disconnects. After a proper Arc Flash study has been performed the following items should all be addressed:
- Labeling- The electrical equipment located in the plant has been properly labeled, identifying the nominal system voltage, Incident Energy Level, The Arc Flash Boundary and the proper PPE to access the equipment.
- Coordination- The coordination on all electrical equipment has been identified and any issues are noted in the final report.
- Short Circuit Analysis– All circuit breakers and fuses have been identified and have the proper KAIC rating for their application. The KAIC rating is stamped on all circuit breakers and fuses, this refers to the ability of a circuit breaker or fuse to withstand a short circuit or overload. An over-dutied circuit breaker will not be able to withstand the energy to clear itself, when this happens the breaker may fail damaging surrounding equipment or worse injury to personnel.
Why do I need an Arc Flash Study performed at my facility?
A properly performed arc flash study is designed to reduce your risk when working on electrical equipment. The study will identify your most hazardous areas and will help you mitigate those areas using technology such as IR windows, adopting remote operation on energizing or de-energizing equipment and introducing hot work permits to identify and stop dangerous conditions.
OSHA identifies “Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act.”
How Much Does a Study Cost?
There are many different ways to determine the cost of a study. Some lower cost providers base a study off the square footage of your facility or may be able to determine the cost over the phone or internet without a site visit.
The alternative, and the most accurate way to determine the project cost is to schedule a site visit with our project manager. During this meeting we will detail the process of the study, from reviewing the final report and labels to counting the number of points at your facility. A final proposal will be delivered and explained, during meeting any questions will be answered.
How long does the process take?
A typical study, depending on the size of the facility, takes roughly 4 to 6 weeks to complete. This includes a plant shutdown (if needed) to gain access to your main service. This also includes removing all electrical covers to verify the proper data, wire size, breaker type, breaker settings, conduit type and feeder lengths (no data is assumed). After all onsite data is collected the engineer will build a model of your electrical system and run the study using the latest software. During this process the incident energy levels of all equipment are determined and labels are created. Our technician will return with the final drawing and label all equipment.
Related to Arc Flash…
- If you are providing voltage rated gloves to your employees, the gloves need to be tested every 6 months. Ask us about our glove testing service, we swap out your outdated gloves with up-to-date voltage rated gloves for a fraction of buying new gloves every 6 months.
- Arc Flash Training- an 8-hour training class can be provided for all qualified employees. A refresher course shall be completed every 3 years per the latest NFPA 70e standards.
- Arc Flash studies are required to be updated every 5 years or when a major change has occurred per the latest NFPA 70e standards.