Arc Flash Study and Safety Program — How Often Do I Need to Update, Retrain?

Performing arc flash hazard analysis on an electrical distribution system is a very important safety step. Once it’s complete, the report is in, the labels are “up,” the PPE is on hand, and the qualified workers are trained, everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

Actually, though, this is no time to relax totally. Now that the arc flash hazard safety program is in place, it must be maintained if it is to remain effective. This program maintenance consists of two critical elements: the study itself and worker training.

Updating the Arc Flash Study

An arc flash study is not a one-time event, but a snapshot of the electrical system at a specific point in time. Any changes to the system can potentially affect the arc flash analysis accuracy.

Section 130.5 of NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace specifies that arc flash hazard analysis shall be updated whenever there is a major modification or renovation to the electrical system (e.g., changing a feed or adding large motors). Even in the absence of such changes, NFPA 70E still mandates reviewing the arc flash study a maximum of every five years to account for the many little changes that can have a big impact on study results.

“Retraining” in NFPA 70E

Like the arc flash study, training qualified electrical workers in NFPA 70E concepts is also a snapshot. Workers leave; new ones are added; people simply forget what they have learned.

NFPA 70E section 110.2(D)(3) specifies additional as-needed worker training under certain conditions, but it also mandates retraining all qualified workers at an interval not to exceed three years. Some companies have adopted a yearly retraining policy, due to the importance of the NFPA 70E electrical safety concepts.

Do you need to update your arc flash study or retrain workers? Contact D.L. Steiner for more information on arc flash studies and arc flash hazard program maintenance.