ServicesElectrical SafetyArc Flash

Arc Flash

In the blink of an eye.  An arc flash incident can occur just that fast.  Statistics tell us that in the United States 10 employees are injured daily due to an arc flash.  We do not want to hear this has happened to anyone, as it did to one of own (prior to joining of firm) and is why we are passionate about electrical safety.  This is how JDRM can help. Download the JDRM Engineering Electrical Safety Brochure.

IEEE 1584 Changes

Recent changes to IEEE 1584 and how this change may affect your previously completed incident energy analysis, arc flash study, or arc flash hazard analysis.

The calculations from IEEE 1584 are used to determine the incident energy values for your electrical equipment.  With the change of IEEE 1584 from the 2002 Edition to the 2018 Edition, there was a revision to the basis of the calculations. Additional factors and studies were taken into account by IEEE for this revision to the 1584 Standard.  Due to these revisions, the incident energy provided using the IEEE 1584-2002 calculations may no longer be worst case.  Utilizing the IEEE 1584-2018 calculations can increase the incident energy by 200% or greater depending on the size of the equipment enclosure and the manner in which the conductors are terminated in the enclosure.

What does this mean to your organization or facility?

There is a likelihood that your employees, contractors, or clients (as applicable) may be exposed to a higher hazard than has been previously identified.  Until the Arc Flash Study has been updated using the latest calculations from IEEE 1584-2018, your organization or facility should incorporate some modifications to your electrical safety policy that will properly protect your employees exposed to energized parts from the risk of being vulnerable to higher incident energy.

When should your organization or facility update your Arc Flash Study using the new IEEE 1584-2018 calculations?

Following the NFPA 70E guidelines, “The incident energy analysis shall be updated when changes occur in the electrical distribution system that could affect the results of the analysis.  The incident energy analysis shall also be reviewed for accuracy at intervals not to exceed 5 years.” Accordingly, JDRM Engineering minimally recommends updating your Arc Flash Study as soon as your next updates are scheduled.

Additionally, changes unassociated with the IEEE 2018 changes can dramatically affect your study.

These changes may consist of adding new equipment, replacing old equipment, moving equipment, changing breaker settings, replacing over current protection devices that are not identical, etc.  While other changes are out of your control, such as changes in the Utility available short current.  JDRM Engineering universally recommends studies be kept up to date and are also reviewed for accuracy every five years as stated in NFPA 70E.

If your Arc Flash Study was completed over five years ago, it is due to be reviewed for accuracy and updated with the latest calculations available ensuring worst-case hazards are represented. If your study was completed prior to 2019, please be advised that your current incident energy values may not accurately represent worst-case hazards as the IEEE 1584-2002 calculations were used.

Questions? Call Matt Steffin, or Bob Nicholson, CESCP:  419-824-2400.

Short Circuit Study

Short Circuit Study is the first critical step in determining an electrical distribution system’s available fault currents.  Per the National Electrical Code, properly rated equipment (new and/or replaced) should be specified to withstand a fault.  JDRM has streamlined this process and extensive documentation through years of experience.

Coordination Study

A Coordination Study’s goal is to prevent unnecessary loss of power due to a fault in a single piece of equipment.  Proper sizes and settings of protective devices (circuit breakers, relays, and fuses) are determined in conjunction with the Short Circuit Study results.  Protective device sizes and/or settings are configured to isolate faults and avoid device tripping due to transformer inrush or motor start-ups.

Arc Flash Hazard Analysis

First and foremost, all electrical work unless permitted otherwise, shall be performed when the equipment has been de-energized.

The main reason to have an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis performed for your facility is SAFETY.  The employer needs to protect their employees from electrical hazards.  In part, OSHA requires that “Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed.”  [OSHA CFR 1910.335]

The objective of an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis is to assess the incident energy from an arc flash, at a given distance and to provide proper arc flash hazard labeling to allow people to wear the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) required by NFPA 70E, in order to be protected while performing their jobs.  [2018 NFPA 70E 130.5 (H)]

One of JDRM Engineering’s primary focuses while performing an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis is to reduce hazard below 8 cal/cm² which is the rating of PPE commonly supplied for employees.  Although this cannot always be achieved with the electrical equipment as installed, often simple changes in breaker settings or fusing can reduce hazards at a low cost to the customer without giving up coordination.

Important Details on
Arc Flash Hazard Analysis

An Arc Flash incident is an explosive release of energy caused by an electrical arc due to a phase to ground or phase to phase fault. Arc flashes can and do kill at distances up to 10 feet.

Arc Flash Hazard awareness and rising injuries prompted OSHA and the National Fire Protection Association to develop standards and regulations pertaining to Electrical Safety in the Workplace  (NFPA-70E). The requirement for an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis assessment has existed since 1996 but was not enforced by OSHA until 2004.

Understanding label information is best accomplished by employee education – (click to Electrical Safe Work Practices for training overview) and completes the circle.

OSHA’s activity in this area is discussed in this article published by

Maintenance Service Agreement

JDRM Engineering can assist in the maintenance of your Arc Flash Analysis. This maintenance service will fulfill the requirements of NFPA-7-E 130.5 for arc flash hazard analysis updates.  Any time equipment is added, modified, or removed from your system the SKM one-line should be updated and the analysis rerun. This is easily accomplished through an Arc Flash Audit Maintenance Service Agreement with JDRM Engineering.

Experience, Knowledge, Wisdom

With 400+ Arc Flash Studies completed, JDRM Engineering has more than experience. We have thorough knowledge of the details, professionals who ask the right questions, and time-honed wisdom to provide outstanding service for your operation.

A few of our clients include:

  • BEHR
  • Bridgestone Corporation
  • John Glenn Columbus International Airport
  • DTE Energy
  • DuPont
  • First Solar
  • La-Z-Boy Corporation
  • Libbey Glass
  • Marathon Petroleum Corporation
  • Mission Health
  • The J.M. Smucker Company
  • The Ohio State University  –  JDRM Enginering is one of three firms qualified by OSU to provide these services.
  • The University of Michigan Hospitals
  • Whirlpool Corporation

Call Dave Desjardins, P.E., LEED AP, Matt Steffin, or Bob Nicholson, CESCP for details:  419-824-2400.