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NFPA 70E Arc Flash References/Info

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NFPA 70E 2012 Edition, titled Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, is a standard of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The document covers electrical safety requirements for employees. The NFPA is best known for its sponsorship of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70).

Hazard Risk Categories (HRC) for Clothing Description with Minimum Arc Calorie Rating

HRC level is determined by the minimum amount of calories per square centimeter (ATPV or Cal/cm2) a treated garment must pass through with a 50% probability of a 2nd or 3rd degree burn occurring, thus the protective level of the treated clothing. The higher the ATPV, the higher the HRC level attained, the greater the protection. Once the hazard/risk category has been identified and the requirements, Table 130.7 (C)(16) shall be used to determine the required PPE for the task. Table 130.7(C)(16) lists the requirements for protective clothing and other protective equipment based on Hazard/Risk Categories 0 through 4. This clothing and equipment shall be used when working within the arc flash boundary.

HRC 0 (Protective Clothing, Nonmelting or untreated Natural Fiber (i.e. untreated cotton, wool, rayon, or silk, or blends of these materials) with a fabric weight of at least 4.5 oz/yd2

Protective Clothing Long sleeve shirt, long pants

Protective Equipment - Safety glasses or safety goggles, hearing protection (ear canal inserts), heavy duty leather gloves

HRC 1 (Arc-Rated clothing, Minimum Arc Rating of 4 cal/cm2 )

Protective Clothing - Arc-rated long sleeve shirt and pants or arc-rated coverall, arc-rated face shiled or arc flash suit hood, arc-rated jacket, parka, rainwear, or hard hat liner

Protective Equipment - Hard hat, safety glasses or safety goggles, hearing protection (ear canal inserts), heavy duty leather gloves, leather work shoes

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HRC 2 (Arc-Rated clothing, Minimum Arc Rating of 8 cal/cm2 )

Protective Clothing - Arc-rated long sleeve shirt and pants or arc-rated coverall, arc-rated face shiled or arc flash suit hood, arc-rated balaclava, arc-rated jacket, parka, rainwear, or hard hat liner

Protective Equipment - Hard hat, safety glasses or safety goggles, hearing protection (ear canal inserts), heavy duty leather gloves, leather work shoes

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HRC 3 (Arc-rated clothing selected so that the system Arc Rating meets the required minimum arc rating of 25 cal/cm2)

Protective Clothing - Arc-rated long sleeve shirt, arc-rated pants or arc-rated coverall, arc-rated arc flash suit jacket, arc-rated arc flash suit pants, arc-rated arc flash suit hood, arc-rated gloves, arc-rated jacket, parka, rainwear, or hard hat liner

Protective Equipment - Hard hat, safety glasses or safety goggles, hearing protection (ear canal inserts), leather work shoes

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HRC 4 (Arc-rated clothing selected so that the system Arc Rating meets the required minimum arc rating of 40 cal/cm2)

Protective Clothing - Arc-rated long sleeve shirt, arc-rated pants or arc-rated coverall, arc-rated arc flash suit jacket, arc-rated arc flash suit pants, arc-rated arc flash suit hood, arc-rated gloves, arc-rated jacket, parka, rainwear, or hard hat liner

Protective Equipment - Hard hat, safety glasses or safety goggles, hearing protection (ear canal inserts), leather work shoes

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NFPA 70E

What is it?

NFPA 70E addresses employee workplace electrical safety requirements. The standard focuses on practical safeguards that also allow workers to be productive within their job functions. Specifically, the standard covers the safety requirements for the following:

1.  Electrical conductors and equipment installed within or on buildings or other structures, including mobile homes, recreational vehicles, and other premise (yards, carnival, parking lots, and industrial substations)
2.  Conductors that connect installations to a supply of electricity
3.  Other outside conductors on the premises

NFPA 70E is one of many standard documents that make up the National Electrical Code (NEC). The National Electrical Code is published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). Officially titled the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace, NFPA 70E was designed to establish an electrical safety program in the workplace and address arc flash and electric shock. NFPA has developed numerous documented codes and standards to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life.

Click here for Arc Flash/Electrical Safety and Awareness Related Training Videos 

NFPA 70E Requirements

Thes latest edition of NFPA 70E Standard was published in 2012.  The revised version requires employees to wear Flame Resistant (FR) and Arc Rated protective clothing that meets the ASTM F1506 wherever there is possible exposure to momentary electric arc flash and related thermal hazards.  It requires employers to perform a flash hazard analysis to determine the flash protection boundary distance.  The standard is designed to protect workers inside these flash protection boundaries by requiring protective clothing for the corresponding Hazard Risk Category that has at ATPV (Arc Thermal Performance Value) of at least the value listed in the protective clothing.  OSHA considers the NFPA 70E standard a "recognized industry practice".

Why should I Comply?

The biggest reason to create a workplace safety program based on the NFPA 70E standard is to keep the electrical worker safe. Every year, more than 2,000 workers are treated in burn centers with severe arc flash injuries. The flash is immediate and violent, but the results can cause severe injuries that last months, years—even a lifetime. In some cases, they may cause death. Fortunately, arc flash hazards can be reduced by following the safety precautions outlined by NFPA 70E and using the correct personal protective equipment (PPE).

Three Steps to Compliance to NFPA 70E

1.  Conduct both shock and flash hazard analysis to determine incident energy potential within the flash protection boundary
2.  Determine PPE required based on incident energy associated with the specific task
3.  Select PPE matching the hazard to the arc rating of the garments

Who is at Risk?

There are few industries that are not affected by NFPA 70E. Almost every facility that has electrical equipment  needs to abide by the standard’s guidelines.

Potential places where this can happen include: Panel boards and switchboards Motor control centers, Metal clad switch gear Transformers, Motor starters and drive cabinets Fused disconnects, Any place that can has the potential for equipment failure

Mandatory Compliance

Also, NFPA 70E cannot be ignored. Federal OSHA requires the establishment of a program that protects against shock, arc flash and arc blast (OSHA 29 CFR 1910 Subpart S-Electrical). When an arc flash is present, OSHA will consider the employer to be in compliance if the PPE is selected using NFPA 70E.

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