A report published in Industrial Safety and Hygiene News estimated that every day in the U.S. there are up to 10 arc flash incidents, which results in an average of over 30,000 arc flash incidents every year. The report went on to estimate that those incidents resulted in an average annual total of 7,000 burn injuries, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 400 fatalities per year.
With such stark statistics, it is imperative that electrical workers be properly trained. Training matters. Being properly trained can literally be the difference between life and death.
A previous FCS article, Power Plant Arc Flash Training, discussed arc flash training requirements and answered such questions as “Who should be trained?” and “What should be covered in the training?”. This article will expand on this and introduce the benefits of a site-specific arc flash training program.
NFPA Training Guidelines
The Nation Fire Protection Agency’s NFPA 70E provides guidance on what to include in the training. For a Qualified Person, who may work within the Limited Approach Boundary, the training topics should include (per NFPA 70E 2021 version):
- Skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed energized electrical conductors and circuit parts from other parts of electrical equipment
- Skills and techniques necessary to determine the nominal voltage of exposed energized electrical conductors and circuit parts
- Approach distances and the corresponding voltages to which the qualified person will be exposed
- Decision-making process necessary to be able to do the following:
- Perform the job safety planning
- Identify electrical hazards
- Assess the associated risk
- Select the appropriate risk control methods from the hierarchy of controls identified in Section 110.5(H)(3) of NFPA 70E:
- Engineering controls
- Administrative controls
FCS Arc Flash Training
Fossil Consulting Services (FCS) has a generic Arc Flash Training course that will cover many plants’ needs and does cover the NFPA 70 E requirements. The training goal is to ensure that workers know how to do their work safely, can identify hazards, and understand control and protective measures. Most learners will respond more positively and “get it” much easier if specific examples from their workplace are used. This includes discussions of their actual switchgear and MCCs, data from the site Arc Flash Analysis, and photos of site-specific warning labels.
The FCS Arc Flash Training course may be easily customized for specific workplace use. We begin with our basic course, then obtain the following information to make it site-specific:
- Information on the electrical distribution system configuration and layout (single-line diagrams)
- Copy of Electrical Safety Program
- Copy of most recent Arc Flash Study
- Pictures of various Arc Flash Warning Labels
- Copies of Bus Operating Procedures
We then customize the course material and make it presentable as a classroom course or CBT/online course. The course covers the following:
- Introduction – Introduces what an arc flash is and the learning objectives for the course. It also introduces key definitions and terms used in the training.
- Arc Flash Overview – Discusses what causes an arc flash and the hazards associated with an arc flash happening. Introduces the concept of approach boundaries and incident energy.
- Electrical Standards and Requirements – Teaches what NFPA 70E covers including all of the articles and annexes and what they describe.
- Plant-specific guidelines for compliance – Includes an overview of the site electrical system, then specific methods in place to minimize risk of live electrical work, including:
- Overview of facility safety program and defined responsibilities
- Calculated arc flash hazards for relevant equipment
- Warning labels on equipment that poses an arc flash risk
- Overview of specific PPE for live work
- Provided tools for working with energized equipment
- 10 Best Practices for Complying with NFPA 70E – Provides a list of the ways a plant can ensure they are in compliance with NFPA 70E and, more importantly, how to keep worker safe from Arc Flash hazards.
If you would like more information on a customized arc flash training course for your site, contact Rick Cragg or Scott Hommel at FCS.