Did your facility recently have an “incident energy analysis” / “arc flash survey” / “70E sticker program” completed? After every piece of switchgear, MCC and panel board has been evaluated, many electrical managers are surprised at the number of applications that receive a “Danger” sticker: incident energy levels exceed available PPE, and therefore energized work is no longer permitted on applications with these ratings.
Of course the prime directive of NFPA 70E, (OSHA 1910) and other similar standards like CSA Z462 is to leave the equipment closed or in an “electrically safe condition.” But how can a company perform certain diagnostic operations such as IR scans while equipment is energized? Some options are:
· IR windows and other closed-panel inspection methods eliminate the hazardous tasks of opening the enclosure. Since the enclosure remains closed, and the equipment remains in normal operating conditions, inspections are safer, quicker and compliant with 70E directives regardless of incident energy calculations.
· Current limiting fuses might help to limit the available fault current, thereby reducing the incident energy of a potential arc flash event.
· High-speed relays could reduce the number of cycles it takes to clear the fault, again reducing incident energy.
Work safe. Test before touch. Question everything.