Safety First! Things to Keep in Mind to Prevent Arc Flash Hazards

5 most important things to prevent arc flash

SAFETY FIRST! A human life is far more important than the machines and equipment present at a workplace.

In this blog, we will go over the practices and techniques that can help us prevent an arc flashover and reduce the damages caused by it.

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Cause of an Arc Flashover — Release of Incident Energy

“An arc flash is caused by the formation of an electric arc which results in the release of a tremendous amount of incident energy.”

The unit for the incident energy is cal/cm2.

It is obvious that the higher levels of incident energy released during an arc flashover leads to a more intense arc flash incident. Controlling the incident energy can aid in controlling the severity caused by the arc flash.

Incident Energy severity during arc flash

Incident Energy — 3 Most Important Parameters

The incident energy depends on three most important parameters and controlling these parameters will vary the incident energy levels.

  1. Working distance
  2. Time duration of exposure
  3. The fault current

How do these three factors affect the magnitude of an incident energy? Read on to find out the details here!

Simple Solutions: Internal and External Causes

A solution can always be derived by examining the root cause of the problem. Let’s revisit the topic of what causes an arc flash. Some of the more common ones include: internal causes (loose connections, improper installation, deteriorated equipment) and external causes (dust, water, impurities, animals).

An Important Study: Arc Flash Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment

Arc flash Hazard Analysis and Risk Assessment is a study carried out to determine the

  1. Incident energy or the force of arc flash
  2. Data to be mentioned in the arc flash labels
  3. Boundaries around the equipment
  4. Safe working conditions
  5. Determination of appropriate PPEs
  6. Additional protective measures

There is a standard according to which the study and the calculations are required to be carried out. This standard was published as the IEEE Std. 1584. An industrially accepted source, compliance with the IEEE 1584 should be strictly considered by all organizations.


The employers are required to have all the equipment labeled so that the personnel can ensure they are working within safe working limits, wearing the proper PPE and are award of hazardous conditions. Labeling also ensures that every equipment is compliant with the standards and rules.

These labels have been extensively discussed in 5 Major Changes in NFPA 70E 2018 including New Arc Flash Label Requirements.


A crucial aspect in ensuring safe working environments is setting up approach boundaries. These boundaries are specified as:

arc flash PPE clothing

Personal Protective Equipment

Personal Protective Equipment or PPE is the equipment that keeps a user safe and protected from the health risks associated with working on electrical equipment or within an electrical facility.

Determination of what PPE to be worn can be done by using either of these two methods:

· Incident energy analysis method

· NFPA 70E Tables method

Arc Flash Reduction Maintenance System, Infrared Windows and Arc-resistant Switchgears are among the most recent innovations to reduce arc flash incidents.

While implementing all the above said practices and measures to prevent arc flash incidents, it is extremely important that workers or personnel have sound knowledge for an arc flash protection.

Let us know if you have any queries regarding this topic and do provide us with your feedback in the comments.

Hiring a professional electrical engineer to conduct an Arc Flash Analysis and Short Circuit Study is a great way to ensure the safety of your facility and workers against unwanted incidents.

AllumiaX, LLC is one of the leading providers of Power System Studies in the northwest. Our matchless services and expertise focus on providing adequate analysis on Arc Flash, Transient Stability, Load Flow, Snubber Circuit, Short Circuit, Coordination, Ground Grid, and Power Quality.

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About The Author

Abdur Rehman is a professional electrical engineer with more than eight years of experience working with equipment from 208V to 115kV in both the Utility and Industrial & Commercial space. He has a particular focus on Power Systems Protection & Engineering Studies.

Abdur Rehman is the CEO and co-founder of and creator of GeneralPAC by AllumiaX. He has been actively involved in various roles in the IEEE Seattle Section, IEEE PES Seattle, IEEE Region 6, and IEEE MGA.

Leaders in Industrial & Commercial Power Systems Engineering