A couple of buzz words in today’s industrial vocabulary are Arc Flash and NFPA 70E.
Arc Flash is a type of electrical explosion or discharge that results from a low-impedance connection through air to ground or another voltage phase in an electrical system. In layman’s terms, it’s an explosion of light and heat that contains electrical energy that can cause substantial damage, harm, fire, injury and financial loss. (It is something that you want to prevent from occurring in your facility!)
NFPA 70E is a standard that helps companies and employees avoid workplace damage, injuries and fatalities due to shock, electrocution, arc flash, and arc blast, and assists in complying with OSHA standards. NFPA 70E provisions encompass safety-related work practices, safety-related maintenance requirements, and safety requirements for special equipment. The Standard includes guidance for making hazard identification and risk assessments, selecting appropriate PPE, establishing an electrically safe work condition, and employee training. Following the NFPA 70E standard will provide a safe environment in your facility for your employees.
Here at Optimation we take safety very seriously. We also educate and train our employees on the dangers of arc flash and we make sure that we are following the correct protocol when working on electrical circuits to comply with NFPA 70E. We also provide training and audits as well as area classifications and associated labeling for our customers if they do not have access to those capabilities within their own organization.
Training is required to ensure that employees are aware of the hazards and are capable of working safely to avoid injury to themselves and others. This training must be documented and records must be kept in employment files.
How often is NFPA 70E training required?
Training updates are required every three years.
When is NFPA 70E re-training required?
Re-training is required if an employee is found to not be following a required electrical safety-related work practice or when new technology or new equipment is installed, or if there is a change in a work procedure related to electrical equipment.
Who needs to take NFPA 70E training?
Any employee who works in or around electrical circuits with normal electric potential at or above 50 volts whether the circuits are energized or not. (There is as an “awareness” level training for employees that don’t work directly in the circuits so that they have an appreciation and understanding of the potential dangers).
Another important part of the equation is personal protective equipment (PPE). PPE requirements for NFPA 70E can be found in the Hazard/Risk category classifications and charts detailing the PPE needed to protect to the level of the hazard for each category.
Our HSE professionals along with our electrical engineers administer the training and conduct Arc Flash audits/analysis. Our staff also assists our customers in categorizing equipment and labeling to meet the standard. Arc Flash hazards are real and can present real danger if not handled properly. Consult your safety department or hire someone well versed in NFPA 70E and Arc flash to perform an audit and help you develop a program to protect your assets and keep everyone safe.