Arc Flash Hazard Assessment

Last updated: March 26, 2024

What Does Arc Flash Hazard Assessment Mean?

An arc flash hazard assessment is a workplace safety assessment that specifically aims to identify arc flash hazards and determine their likelihood of causing injury or death.

Arc flash hazards are defined by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard 70E, which is recognized by OSHA and must be adhered to by all workplaces.

Safeopedia Explains Arc Flash Hazard Assessment

Arc flash assessments must account for:

  • The nature of the equipment being used
  • The nature of the work being done with or to the equipment
  • The nature of the work that will or could be done around the equipment

The results of these assessments are used to define the workplace safety obligations that employers and employees must adhere to in order to work with and around the identified hazards. These assessments are often undertaken using the process of calculating arc flash hazards outlined in IEEE 1584.

Arc Flash Risks

Arc flash hazard assessments are designed to protect workers from arc flashes, which occur when an electrical fault causes current to flow through the air.

Arc flashes cause electrical equipment to explode, and they can be caused by a variety of mechanical and environmental factors, including human proximity to energized equipment. A hazard analysis explores the risks that are posed by these factors as well as by the nature of the equipment itself.

One of the most significant influences on the result of an arc flash assessment is the probability of an incident arising from the specific types of work that will be done on and around equipment. After assessments are completed, the aggregate identified risks are categorized according to NFPA standards that place safety obligations related to the equipment and qualifications necessary to work within a defined range of distances to the hazard. The results of the assessment and required safety equipment must also be communicated visually using signs, stickers, or other labels according to hazard communication standards.

Ready to learn more? Check out our free webinar on How to Build an Arc Flash PPE Program Your Workers Will Embrace!

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