Arc Flash Hazard Analysis and Renewals: What’s Required Every Five Years

August 10, 2021

Updating and maintaining electrical Arc Flash Hazard Studies/Analyses (AFHA) is crucial to protecting personnel and electrical equipment. All companies with power systems must complete an AFHA at least once every five years to remain compliant with current National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) industry standards. In addition, the same analysis must be certified each time a major electrical equipment change occurs.

What Types of Organizations Need an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis?

This regulation affects organizations that require the maintenance and operation of high-power electrical infrastructure. For example, industrial plants with their own substations or solar and wind farms with switchyards connecting their generation to the power grid must complete these renewals regularly to remain compliant.

The exception to this requirement is utility companies, which follow a separate set of regulations.

What Is an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis, and Why Is It Important?

In 2009, the NFPA introduced a policy in their NFPA-70E handbook that requires industrials, developers, and other companies involved in the power industry to complete an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis of their equipment at least once every five years.

An AFHA assesses the arc flash incident energy of different pieces of electrical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety measures required to work on or within a safe distance of the equipment.

AFHA studies have the following objectives:

  • To determine the highest incidental arc energy that may be released during a fault.
  • To identify the PPE required to operate and to access such points in the proposed plant.
  • To warn and to create awareness among the personnel who are exposed to such conditions.
  • To establish and analyze arc flash hazards in identified electrical equipment in the plant, identify concerns associated with such hazards, highlight key considerations to be included in plant electrical system’s operating procedures, and suggest various mitigation items which could reduce hazards.

An arc flash study can establish requirements of appropriate PPE and reduce the requirements for overrated PPE.

The final step of the AFHA process is to tag the equipment with warning labels that list the equipment voltage, PPE requirements, and safety measures that workers must take before operating on or working near the equipment. At a minimum, the labels must list arc flash incident energy, working distance and PPE requirements.

Types of Equipment That Require an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis

The following are some common examples of power systems equipment that require an AFHA.

  • Switchgear
  • Switchboards
  • Industrial control panels
  • Panelboards
  • Motor control centers
  • Disconnects

Need to Complete an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis?

Looking for someone to perform an AFHA or renewal? Beta’s experienced Engineering Services team can give you peace of mind knowing that your personnel and your power equipment are protected.

Here’s how it works:

  1. You provide us with the current study report or current system model.
  2. We provide an estimate.
  3. We review your system and complete the analysis.
  4. We deliver a final report, procure new labels, and install if required.

Let’s talk about how we can help you meet your project goals and ensure your team and equipment remain safe for years to come.

Learn More About This Topic

Cybart, K. (2008, December 1). Are you compliant with the new edition of NFPA 70E?

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). Standard interpretations.

Vigstol, D. (2019, May 1). Labeling compliance equipment: What, why, and where to turn for guidance.

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