How to Promote Safe Electrical Systems

Safety is becoming more of a top priority, and hazardous electrical systems can be extremely dangerous. When the danger is imperceptible to the human eye, it has an even higher risk level. Our team can assess clients’ electrical equipment to create an effective electrical safety program.
An arc flash is when a flash of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air, from one conductor to another or to ground. When personnel are nearby, serious injury could occur from this incident. An arc flash can happen as a result of many things – dust, accidental contact with tools or other items, material or equipment failure, or corrosion. Because of the risk associated with arc flash, many facilities require safety labeling on their electrical systems and equipment. In order to accurately identify the rating and protective equipment required, an arc flash and short-circuit study is required.

Our arc-flash and short-circuit studies start with a consultation to determine your needs and assess NFPA compliance. We can then provide a comprehensive assessment that identifies hazards and arc flash protection boundaries, along with the required PPE. These assessments include documenting the existing electrical system information, a short circuit study, an updated one-line diagram, and recommendations for mitigation solutions.

Working with our clients and with electrical contractors in the field, we first assess the existing systems on site. This requires a complete understanding of the building(s) one-line diagram and the actual equipment installed. From there, we plug the information into our analysis software and run a number of calculations that generates information including protection boundaries, level of hazard, safety labeling and recommendations for PPE requirements.

This study, and the mitigation solutions that come out of it, provides owners with a way to eliminate risk of shock or arc flash for their employees and anyone working on their electrical system. Understanding these hazards can help maintain the effective use of live electrical equipment and parts. It allows our clients to implement an effective electrical safety program. In addition to this, it also provides accurate and up-to-date as-built information for a complete electrical system. This information can be used for preventive maintenance and future expansion.
The ideal time to ensure your facility’s electrical systems are operating as designed is before an arc flash incident happens.  To learn more or to explore your electrical engineering systems and concerns, reach out to our electrical engineering team here.

Kelsey Rowe, PE
Associate Partner, Electrical Engineer