Arc Flash Safety 251

"Arc Flash Safety" provides a comprehensive review of the ways employees can protect themselves from injuries caused by exposure to arc flash. Arc flash is an intense release of heat and light caused by a variety of workplace situations involving electricity, including equipment failure and human error. Arc flash risk assessments, boundaries, and personal protective equipment help prevent arc flash and its effects. Regular inspection and maintenance of electrical systems and machinery also help prevent arc flash.

Arc flash is one of the most dangerous hazards of working with electricity. After taking this class, users will be aware of the causes and dangers associated with arc flash, as well as the precautions and personal protective equipment that can help prevent arc flash exposure. This information prepares users to work safely and effectively in environments with the potential for arc flash.

Class Details

Class Name:
Arc Flash Safety 251
Version:
2.0
Difficulty:
Beginner
Number of Lessons:
19

Class Outline

  • Arc Flash
  • Causes of Arc Flash
  • Dangers of Arc Flash
  • Incident Energy
  • Arc Blast
  • Arc Flash and Arc Blast Review
  • Arc Flash Safety Organizations
  • Arc Flash Risk Assessments
  • Flash and Shock Boundaries
  • Common Arc Flash PPE
  • Arc-Rated PPE
  • Selecting Arc Flash PPE
  • Arc Flash Safety Review
  • Arc Flash Prevention
  • Overcurrent Devices
  • Safeguards
  • Electrically Safe Work Conditions
  • Arc Flash Safety Responsibilities
  • Arc Flash Prevention and Responsibilities Review

Objectives

  • Describe arc flash.
  • Describe common causes of arc flash.
  • Describe the dangers associated with arc flash.
  • Describe incident energy.
  • Describe arc blast.
  • Describe different organizations that produce arc flash safety guidelines.
  • Describe arc flash risk assessments.
  • Explain flash and shock boundaries.
  • Describe the different pieces of PPE employees most commonly use to protect against arc flash.
  • Describe arc-rated PPE.
  • Describe how to use NFPA 70E tables to select arc flash PPE.
  • Describe different measures that can be taken to prevent arc flash incidents.
  • Describe the different overcurrent devices used to prevent arc flash.
  • Describe the different safeguarding devices used to prevent arc flash.
  • List the steps for establishing electrically safe work conditions (ESWC).
  • Describe the arc flash safety responsibilities of employers and employees.

Job Roles

Certifications

Glossary

Vocabulary Term Definition
alternating current AC. Electrical current that reverses direction at regularly recurring intervals of time. Alternating current usually reverses direction 60 times per second.
approach distances The different distances at which an employee may approach a location that is susceptible to a hazard. Approach distances define boundaries to protect against arc flash and electric shock.
arc blast The high-pressure sound wave that accompanies arc flash. Arc blast exposure can lead to severe hearing damage and even loss of brain function.
arc fault A short circuit that creates an electric arc between exposed conductors. Arc faults are responsible for producing arc flash.
arc flash An electrical explosion that results from an arc fault. Arc flash, or flashover, produces extreme heat and light and compromises the safety of employees who are exposed to it.
arc flash boundary A border that defines the distance from an energized system at which an employee may experience second degree burns. Qualified employees must wear appropriate PPE to keep themselves safe when working inside an arc flash boundary.
arc flash risk assessment A process used to analyze the potential for an arc flash event in a specific electrical system or piece of electrical equipment. Arc flash risk assessments determine if an arc flash hazard exists and identify appropriate safety measures, arc flash boundaries, and proper PPE.
arc flash suit hoods Loose-fitting arc-rated PPE that covers the head and neck but not the eyes or nose. Arc flash suit hoods are typically part of an arc flash suit.
arc flash suits An arc-rated clothing system that covers the entire body. Arc flash suits do not cover the hands and feet.
arc rating A value that indicates the maximum level of incident energy to which PPE can be exposed and still function properly. The arc rating is based on the arc thermal protective value and must be displayed on the PPE.
arc thermal protective value ATPV. A rating that indicates the amount of arc flash protection PPE can provide to the wearer. The arc thermal protective value is the basis for the arc rating displayed on arc flash PPE.
balaclavas A close-fitting arc-rated hood that covers the head and neck but not the eyes or nose. Balaclavas are also called sock hoods.
calories per square centimeter cal/cm². A unit used to measure incident energy. Calories per square centimeter describes the amount of thermal energy that strikes a surface at a certain distance.
circuit breaker An overcurrent device with a component that bends when it detects excess current. Circuit breakers operate automatically when they detect overcurrent, but they can also be operated manually.
conductors A material or element that allows free movement of electricity. Conductors require insulation to protect electrical systems from damage.
current The flow of electricity. Current strength is called amperage and is measured in amperes (A) or amps.
decibels dB. A unit of measurement that describes the intensity of a sound wave. Arc blast can produce sound waves that exceed 160 decibels.
digital multimeter DMM. A device that can measure voltage, current, or resistance of a circuit. A digital multimeter is the most versatile and common meter used for electrical maintenance and troubleshooting.
direct current DC. Electrical current that flows in a single direction. Direct current is the less common form of current.
eardrums A vibrating membrane that stretches across the inner end of the ear canal. The eardrum can be damaged by arc blast.
earmuffs A protective device that blocks excessive noise and debris from entering the ear. Earmuffs consist of two ear coverings connected by a band.
earplugs A protective device that is inserted in the ear to block noise. Earplugs can be made from wax, cotton, foam, silicone, or rubber.
electric arc The area in which electricity jumps from one conductor to another. Electric arcs produce extreme heat and light.
electric shock The flow of electricity through the body. Severe electric shock can be fatal.
electrical burns A burn caused by the flow of electrical current through tissue or bone. Electrical burns may result from arc flash events.
electrical hazard safety-toe shoes Non-conductive footwear that prevents the wearer from completing an electrical circuit with the ground. Electrical hazard safety-toe shoes can protect against circuits of up to 600 volts in dry conditions.
electrically safe work conditions ESWC. A state in which an electrical circuit and all of its components has been de-energized, locked and tagged out, tested, and grounded, if necessary. The NFPA requires employees to establish electrically safe work conditions before conducting any electrical work.
electrocution Death due to electric shock. Electrocution can be caused by arc flash.
engineering The department within a company responsible for creating the design specifications of a product. Engineering uses a product's marketing assessment to create product specifications.
eye protection Any piece of PPE that protects the eyes. Eye protection includes safety glasses and safety goggles.
face shields A rigid, transparent plastic sheet that covers the wearer's entire face to protect against debris or splashes. Face shields are often worn with goggles because they do not protect against impacts.
flame resistant FR. A type of clothing that ignites but stops burning when the ignition source is removed. Flame-resistant clothing is used to limit the injuries that wearers sustain from burns if their clothing ignites.
flash hazards A circuit or electrical system component that is at risk of producing an arc flash event. Flash hazards can be detected through arc flash hazard analyses.
flashover An electrical explosion that results from an arc fault. Flashover, or arc flash, produces extreme heat and light and compromises the safety of employees who are exposed to it.
fuse An overcurrent device with a component that melts when it detects excess current. Fuses melt to open the circuit and stop current flow when current passes a set level.
fuses An overcurrent device with a component that melts when it detects excess current. Fuses melt to open the circuit and stop current flow when current passes a set level.
fusible element A part in a fuse that melts to interrupt an electrical circuit. Fusible elements melt when current passes a set level.
generators A device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. Generators typically contain several electrical conductors called windings.
ground fault circuit interrupter GFCI. A type of switch that disables a circuit when it detects that current has strayed from its intended path. Ground fault circuit interrupters are especially useful when there is a chance that current may come into contact with a human being or water.
grounded Safely connected to a neutral body, like the earth, that can absorb stray currents. Grounded equipment diverts current to prevent electric shock.
hard hat A lightweight, protective head covering, usually made of plastic, used to protect the head from impacts, bumps, and electric shock. Hard hats have a shock-absorbing lining with a headband and straps that suspend the shell away from the skull and provide ventilation.
hearing protection Various PPE that covers the ear in some way to protect a wearer's hearing. Hearing protection may include earplugs or earmuffs to protect hearing against the sound generated by arc blast.
high-amp power sources A device that generates a large amount of electrical current. High-amp power sources can cause arc flash events.
hot wire The conductor that supplies power from a source to a load. The hot wire is usually covered with black insulation.
incident energy The thermal energy generated by an arc flash that strikes a surface at a specific distance. Incident energy is used to determine arc flash boundaries and personal protective equipment for specific tasks.
incident energy analysis The process of calculating or computing the amount of predicted energy that an employee may be exposed to in the event of an arc flash incident. Incident energy analyses should be conducted by qualified personnel only.
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers IEEE. An international organization that creates standards for working with electricity and electrical components. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers produces a guide that helps make arc flash hazard calculations.
insulation A material that isolates conductive materials and helps them transmit electricity effectively. Insulation is used to cover most conductors and wires.
kilometers per hour km/h. A unit that indicates speed in the metric system. Kilometers per hour is equal to the distance traveled in kilometers divided by the time spent traveling in hours.
limited approach boundary A border that defines the distance from an energized system at which an employee may experience electric shock. Employees must be qualified or directly supervised by someone who is qualified to work within a limited approach boundary.
liquefy To change from a solid into a liquid. Arc flash can cause metals to liquefy.
lockout/tagout A method of protecting employees from accidental machine startup. Lockout/tagout requires machines to be locked and labeled to notify employees when they are undergoing maintenance or other work.
maintenance Any activity that contributes to the care and upkeep of machines or equipment. Maintenance approaches can involve monitoring equipment for problems or fixing a machine after it breaks down.
miles per hour mph. A unit that indicates speed in the English system. Miles per hour is equal to the distance traveled in miles divided by the time spent traveling in hours.
motors A machine that converts electrical energy into mechanical energy or motion. Motors contain several electrical conductors called windings.
National Fire Prevention Association NFPA. An organization dedicated to preventing fires from electrical work. The National Fire Prevention Association authors the NFPA 70E, the electrical safety standard that includes arc flash safety standards.
neutral wire The conductor that returns power back to its source and completes a circuit. The neutral wire is usually covered with white insulation.
NFPA National Fire Prevention Association. An organization dedicated to preventing fires from electrical work. The NFPA authors the NFPA 70E, the electrical safety standard that includes arc flash safety standards.
NFPA 70E The standard for electrical safety in the workplace. NFPA 70E is used by OSHA to provide work safety guidelines for those working with electricity.
NIOSH National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. An organization that promotes a productive workplace through safety and health research. NIOSH authors a small guide on arc flash safety.
non-conductive Unable to act as a path for the flow of electricity. Non-conductive materials like rubber and leather provide insulation from electric currents.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA. An organization that ensures safe, healthy working conditions by creating and enforcing standards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets arc flash prevention standards.
overcurrent devices A component that protects circuits from experiencing excessive current. Overcurrent devices open to interrupt current flow when current passes a set level.
pascals Pa. A measurement of pressure in the metric system. Pascals can express the pressure generated by an arc blast.
personal protective equipment PPE. Any of the various articles of clothing or safeguarding devices that employees wear to ensure their safety. Personal protective equipment for arc flash includes arc flash suits, non-conductive gloves and footwear, and face and eye protection.
pounds per square foot psf. A measurement of pressure in the English system. Pounds per square foot can express the pressure generated by an arc blast.
PPE Personal protective equipment. Any of the various articles of clothing or safeguarding devices that workers wear to ensure their safety. PPE for arc flash includes arc flash suits, non-conductive gloves and footwear, and face and eye protection.
pressure The exertion of a mechanical force upon an object. Pressure from an arc blast can cause severe injuries.
preventive maintenance Regularly scheduled service and upkeep performed while a machine or system is still in working order. Preventive maintenance can prolong equipment life and increase production.
restricted approach boundary A border that defines the distance from an energized system at which an employee has an increased risk of electric shock. Employees must wear appropriate PPE and avoid contact with energized parts of electrical circuits when working within a restricted approach boundary.
safeguards Any device, barrier, or process that protects an employee from being injured. Safeguards in electrical work include devices such as fences, enclosures, and lockout/tagout devices.
safety glasses Protective eyewear with metal or plastic frames and impact-resistant lenses. Many safety glasses also have protective side shields.
safety goggles Tight-fitting eye protection that completely covers the eyes, the sockets, and the surrounding facial area. Safety goggles offer protection from impact, sparks, dust, chips, and splashes.
second degree burn A severe burn that affects the first and second layers of skin. Second degree burns cause blisters that affect the middle and outer layers of skin.
shock hazard A circuit or electrical system component that is at risk of causing an electric shock to employees. Shock hazards can be detected through arc flash hazard analyses.
short circuit A situation in which electricity fails to flow as intended through a circuit. Short circuits can damage circuits and even start fires.
sock hoods A close-fitting arc-rated hood that covers the head and neck but not the eyes or nose. Sock hoods are also called balaclavas.
sound wave The disturbance of matter caused by the movement of energy. Sound waves that result from arc blast can damage hearing.
switchboards A freestanding assembly of panels with electrical meters, overcurrent devices, and other protection devices. Switchboards make overcurrent devices quickly and easily accessible to technicians.
thermal contact burns A burn caused by fire or extreme heat. Thermal contact burns may result from arc flash events.
thermal energy Energy created by or in the form of heat. Thermal energy generated by arc flash events can cause severe burns.
trip To automatically open a circuit to prevent damage and injury. Tripped overcurrent devices prevent current from traveling through a circuit.
vaporize To change from a liquid into a gas. Arc flash can cause metals to vaporize.
voltages The electrical force or pressure that causes current to flow in a circuit. Voltage is measured in volts (V).
volts V. A unit of measurement that indicates the amount of electrical pressure in a circuit. Electrical systems that run on 50 volts or more require arc flash risk assessments.
welding A joining process that uses heat, pressure, or chemicals to permanently fuse materials together. Welding equipment generally includes electrical conductors and can lead to arc flash.