24/7 EMERGENCY Call 770.531.7890

OSHA FAQs on Arc-Flash Protection

Uncategorized / September 3, 2018

E-1. What must an employer do to protect employees from hazards posed by flames and electric arcs?

In general, the employer must:

  • Assess the workplace to identify employees exposed to hazards from flames or from electric arcs;
  • Make reasonable estimates of the incident heat energy of any electric-arc hazard to which an employee would be exposed;
  • Ensure that employees exposed to hazards from flames or electric arcs do not wear clothing that could melt onto their skin or that could ignite and continue to burn when exposed to flames or the estimated heat energy;
  • Ensure that the outer layer of clothing worn by an employee is flame resistant under certain conditions; and
  • With certain exceptions, ensure that employees exposed to hazards from electric arcs wear protective clothing and other protective equipment with an arc rating greater than or equal to the estimated heat energy.

E-2. What are the deadlines for compliance with the arc-flash protection requirements?

The employer must assess the workplace for arc-flash hazards by the effective date of the final rule. In addition, the employer must ensure that employees do not wear clothing that could melt onto their skin or that could ignite and continue to burn by the effective date of the final rule. By January 1, 2015, the employer must make reasonable estimates of incident energy. Finally, the employer must provide protective clothing and other protective equipment meeting the arc-flash protection requirements of the final rule by April 1, 2015.

E-3. Must employers pay for the flame-resistant and arc-rated clothing and other arc-flash protective equipment required by the standard?

Yes. As required by OSHA’s general rules on employer payment for personal protective equipment (29 CFR 1910.132(h) and 29 CFR 1926.95(d)), employers must pay for the flame-resistant and arc-rated clothing and other arc-flash protective equipment that the electric power generation, transmission and distribution standards require.

E-4. Has OSHA provided any guidance on how to how to perform the required assessment and how to estimate incident heat energy?

Yes. Appendix E to the standard provides tables listing incident heat energies for common exposures found in electric power transmission and distribution work. Employers may use these tables to estimate incident heat energy under the exposure conditions covered by the tables. In addition, Appendix E provides guidance on:

  • How to assess the workplace for flame and electric-arc hazards;
  • Selecting a reasonable incident-energy calculation method under various conditions;
  • Selecting reasonable parameters for use in calculating incident heat energy, including:
    • Selecting a reasonable distance from the employee to the arc, and
    • Selecting a reasonable arc gap.

E-5. Has OSHA provided any guidance on how to select the protective clothing and equipment required by the standard?

Yes. Appendix E to the standard provides guidance on:

  • How to select clothing that does not ignite,
  • How to select protective clothing with an acceptable arc rating, and
  • When the standard requires arc-rated head and face protection