An arc flash occurs when electricity flows through the air between two conductive parts. The heat generated and the resulting blast can burn skin, damage hearing and sight and cause injuries from debris projected from the explosion.
There is always a risk of an arc flash on sites where engineers are carrying out work on or near live electrical components. Examples of live working include thermographic surveys, replacing parts in a live panel and control circuit fault finding. Under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005, the employer must ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of their employees, including the assessment of and safeguarding against Arc Flash hazards. Under European standard EN 50110, a risk assessment must be undertaken for all work in the vicinity of live electrical parts and appropriate PPE identified.
NeoDyne conducts arc flash assessments of the electrical infrastructure to identify procedures, actions or PPE to protect the worker and develop safe work practices where there is an existing risk of arc flash occurrence on-site. We provide on-site training and complete assessments to ensure that the site is in line with national and international arc flash standards.
Electrical Network Health Check
We use ERACS or SKM electrical power systems analysis software to build a site-wide electrical model. This model determines if there are any issues with the network such as undersized cables or busbars, protection discrimination issues, problems with load distribution or fault current ratings across the site.
We also ensure that all the protection devices and circuit breakers are coordinated so that when or if a fault occurs, only the breaker nearest the fault trips open. This modelling avoids unnecessary blackouts across the site and only isolates the affected area.
The result is an overall health check of the electrical network to proactively identify issues before they cause a problem for the site.
Arc Flash – What Standards to Use
European and American standards and guidance are in place for arc flash calculations, risk assessments and PPE. In most respects, the standards agree, but there are important differences, particularly concerning the Statutory obligations in Ireland. When completing an arc flash survey and risk assessment, we work with each site to explain these differences and options. We ensure all our assessments are in line with national and international standards for calculating fault currents, arc flash incident energy, arc flash boundaries and risk assessing appropriate PPE.
We produce labels for electrical panels that alert the worker of arc flash risk, what voltage is present on the board, where the panel is supplied from and what PPE should be worn when undertaking arc risk work. In addition to panel warning labels, we can also provide training to the relevant workers, operators or management on-site to cover the dangers of arc flash, how to use arc flash PPE and how to assess and develop permits for arc risk work.