The Arc Flash Study

The Arc Flash Study
An Electrical Arc Flash Study is not specifically identified as UK Legislation, but typically the following shall be carried out:

  • Site survey
  • Fault level studies (compliance to IEC 60909)
  • Protection Grading Studies
  • Distribution system records

The above comply to the Electricity At Work Regulations (E.A.W.R.)1989 Section 5

In addition to the above, specialist Electrical Engineering Organisations that carry out the Arc Flash Study can tailor their work to an end user's requirements, for instance*:

  • Arc flash calculations (compliance to IEEE 1584)
  • Results Interpretations
  • Switchgear Risk Assessment (to HSG 230)
  • Task Assessment
  • Set Personal Protective Equipment Policy
  • Labelling & Identification of Equipment
  • Operations & Maintenance Procedures
  • Understanding & Awareness Training on the Arc Flash Hazard
  • Protection Co-ordination Study

* Source:  TAS Engineering

What does an arc flash study tell me?

"An arc flash study will tell you the incident energy due to the flashover and in simple terms this means - how big is the bang? Most importantly there will be an evaluation which will highlight those cases of low risk, those which will need other protective measures and those areas where there is great danger to workers who engage in live working activities.

The study will evaluate the severity of injury at a given distance from the arc and the flash protection boundary at which distance there will be the onset of 2nd degree burns. This gives designers and facilities managers a scientific basis for the evaluation of the working space in front and around switchgear. It will also give warning label requirements to state the arc flash hazards, boundaries and PPE requirements.

By carrying out an arc flash study to IEEE1584 you will also know the fault levels throughout the facility and therefore assess the capability of equipment to withstand short circuit currents. The ability to calculate Flash Protection Boundaries will enable managers to arrive at better-informed judgements before allowing live proximity work to proceed in the first place and provide an ability to apply quantitative techniques to risk control. There is software available but only trained individuals should undertake arc flash calculations, as any study should take account of variables due to system configuration for example".

Source: Electrical Safety UK