7 Things to Look For in an Arc Flash Study

Chris Sanders, Director of Business Development at ErieTec, a division of Purvis Industries, sits down with us to explain what to look for in an arc flash study.

Most of us recognize the threat of an arc flash incident is real, and the consequences can be devastating.

Where do we start?

The initial step in addressing this risk for your facility is to have an arc flash study performed or updated every five years. Be aware, though, not all studies are equal. An inferior study could unnecessarily endanger your employees and the reliability of your facility’s electrical distribution. It could even lead to failures and significant downtime. So, how do we gauge the quality of an arc flash study? 

First, we need to verify that the study will be performed by experienced electrical engineers. It’s important to inquire about education, licenses, and experience with this type of electrical engineer service. Then, we need to ask about the service provider’s ability to offer a turnkey solution after the study. Can they train employees on how to interpret the study and read the warning labels? Choose the right PPE and properly maintain electrical equipment? Does the vendor have the ability to help your company develop an effective electrical safety program? Can they provide products and services to help reduce high incident energy identified in the study?

Now this part is important, ask your potential vendor of a sample of the arc flash report. The sample arc flash report can be telling of what information will be included in the study and will it provide recommendations for safety, reliability, provide insight, and risk mitigation for your facility.

7 things to look for in an arc flash study

ErieTec and Eaton strongly believe that the following seven items should be included in an arc flash study report.  Whether it’s provided by ErieTec and Eaton, or another service provider. 

  1. Does it provide an executive summary or synopsis of the key findings and recommendations to improve the safety and operations of the power system?
  2. Does it provide a one-line diagram, which is a model of the entire electrical system which forms the basis for the study?
  3. Does it provide a short circuit analysis that calculates available fault current for each piece of electrical distribution equipment in your facility?
  4. Does it include a protective device coordination study modeling each protective device and its recommended set points?
  5. Does it include a settings table which is a list of recommended settings for your facilities circuit breakers and relays?
  6. Does it provide an arc flash incident energy analysis used to generate arc flash warning labels showing nominal system voltage and arc flash boundaries, as well as available incident energy and/or PPE category?
  7. Does it include the input data used in analysis? This is a reference to the data upon which the study was based.

If the study that you’re considering doesn’t include all seven of these items, you may be compromising by not having all the relevant data available to you.

If you have any questions or need assistance with your arc flash or electrical safety programs, please contact us at ErieTec, we’ll be happy to help.