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Preventing Arc Flash Incidents with Proper Labeling and Communication

03 October, 2023

Gloved hands using tools to measure electrical equipment

Arc flashes are a dangerous electrical phenomenon that can occur in intense voltage areas and are more common than most people realize.  

  • 30,000 occur each year 
  • 5-10 occur a day
  • 2 of 3 are caused by human error  

An arc flash can happen in an instant and cause irreversible damages, including damage to equipment and property or worse, death. To prevent an arc flash from happening, it requires the equipment to be de-energized, so they do not produce enough energy to create that initial spark. Another way to stay safe is proper safety labels that alert workers to the potential harm of being in those spaces. 

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a global non-profit organization dedicated to preventing death, injury, property, and economic loss have created the standard on workplaces electrical equipment that requires examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized. The Toro Max portable label printer powered by LabelForge Pro offers an innovative solution that addresses these concerns through effective custom labeling for these 4 arc flash hazard areas: 

1. Carry out a risk assessment 

A risk assessment is necessary for any task where there is an arc flash hazard. According to NFPA, there are two acceptable approaches.  

  • Incident Energy Analysis—Uses the technical details of a piece of equipment and its installation to calculate the expected heat energy 
  •  PPE category—A shortcut for common scenarios, includes general recommendations for protective steps.  

These approaches should be documented and reviewed once every five years. Toro Max can create custom safety labels for your facility that inform workers of the deadlines for the next review.

2. Keep at a safe distance
Create and document arc flash boundaries using one of NFPA’s acceptable methods. Once the distance has been determined, creating warning labels, determining the required PPE, and training workers should follow. The Toro Max label printer can create custom industrial labeling to inform workers about the protection they will need to work on energized equipment. 

3. DuraLabel-Preventing-Arc-Flash-FloatWear suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) 

PPE protects the wearer against any physical harm or hazards that the workplace environment may present. NFPA uses four Arc Flash PPE Categories to classify ranges of hazards. Each category includes a minimum Arc Rating (AR) value, determined by the PPE manufacturer, that indicates the amount of heat energy that the clothing can absorb before the wearer is burned. DuraLabel Toro Max can create industry compliant labels to inform workers about the protection they will need to work on energized equipment.  

4. Train on-site workers to control risks and interrupt faults

Workers who have not been trained are put at a greater risk of injury. The Hierarchy of Controls can assist with worker safety through a system that puts the most effective protections at the forefront and the least effective at the bottom. This process should be taught and implemented during training and reinforced through signage that can be created using the DuraLabel Toro Max portable label printer.  

Arc Flash Labeling Simplified for User 

Navigating the complexities of Arc flash labeling is made significantly more manageable with the aid of arc flash label printers like the DuraLabel Toro Max. A full database of arc flash standard hazard symbols simplifies compliance and enhances workplace safety. DuraLabel Toro Max can help your business and protect the well-being of employees. 

Visual Safety Communication Resources from DuraLabel 

For other challenging safety situations, like hazcom labeling, read  DuraLabel’s free Arc Flash Labeling Instant Action Guide next as it provides relevant information about PPE requirements, arc flash boundaries, but most importantly compliance standards. The free guide helps readers understand the appropriate regulations and standards and improve safety and efficiency. Request your free copy of the Arc Flash Instant Action Guide . 

It is important that your facility has the resources to keep its workers safe. Get help crafting a system with DuraLabel’s Toro Max arc flash label printer that will provide the safety communication you need. Call 1-888-326-9244 and one of our experts will guide you through the process.

Guide to Arc Flash Hazards
This free, 130-page, PDF is the most comprehensive guide available.

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