What is Your Arc Flash Risk?

An Arc Flash happens when there is a short in a circuit. When the short occurs, a flashover of electrical current jumps from one conductor to another. The flashover results in a violent blast of electricity. This blast can damage equipment or cause injury or even death to a worker. Arc flashes can happen for a variety of reasons, but human error is the one that occurs most often. But the use of improper tools, lack of maintenance, corrosion of equipment, and lack of safety training also can cause an Arc flash.

Arch Flash Warning Sticker

As part of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E standards, an Arc flash risk assessment is required for your facility. This assessment is to identify the potential hazard, estimate the likelihood this hazard will occur, and to determine if any protective measures are required.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspectors are currently enforcing the NFPA 70E document. This document states that a flash hazard analysis shall be done before any person approaches an exposed electrical conductor. Even though you may think OSHA won’t be stopping by anytime soon, you certainly would want to be in compliance if they do.

How can we assist you in reducing your arc flash risk?

In the past ten years, Watson Energy has performed over 100 Arc Flash Risk Hazard Analyses. We provide Arc flash solutions, ensuring that your electrical safety precautions are up to standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). With our electrical safety inspections, our professionals can help you establish and maintain a comprehensive and cost-effective Arc flash protection plan.

  • NFPA 70E Compliance and Documentation 
  • Facility Inventory and Analysis 
  • Train and Qualify Employees in NFPA 70E Compliance 
  • Creation of a Complete Written Electrical Safety Plan 
  • Determine and Provide the Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment 
  • Perform an Incident Energy Analysis 
  • Apply Arc Flash Labels to Equipment 
  • Perform Maintenance on Electrical Equipment 
  • Short Circuit Analysis and Overcurrent Device Coordination Study 
  • Data Collection of Required Information 
  • Circuit Confirmation, Tracing, and Panel Schedules 
  • Generate and Post a One-line Diagram, Including Corrections, and Updating of Existing Diagrams 

Short Circuit Analysis

A short circuit is a low-resistance path of energy that skips part of a circuit and causes the bypassed section of the circuit to stop working. When this happens, the short circuit fault current can exceed the capabilities and limitations of the equipment and circuit breakers. If it does exceed the manufactured limits, then severe damage and possible injury can occur. A short circuit analysis was most likely conducted when the power system was first put into place. However, power systems change. When a facility expands or adds electrical equipment (circuit breakers, transformers, cables) into the power system, new short circuit analysis is needed.

We can calculate the potential short circuit fault current at each point in your electrical distribution system. With this information, we then determine if the existing equipment is hearty enough to withstand any potential trouble.

Coordination Study

When a short occurs, it can shut down the entire distribution system. However, if the proper overcurrent protective devices (fuses, breakers) are placed in the distribution system, the damage can be minimized or isolated. A coordination study examines where these protective devices need to be placed and ensures that the correct fuse or circuit breaker will perform as designed in case of a fault. This coordination helps to optimize the balance between equipment protection and selective isolation that is consistent with the operating needs of the distribution system.

It is essential to understand that an Arc Flash Study is only a computerized model of the potential hazards in your facility. Proper coordination and regular maintenance of your protective overcurrent devices are required to ensure your system works properly and keeps your employees safe from hazards.

Give Watson a call (1-888-805-9033) and let's get started with your arc flash analysis.