Arc flash studies are recommended evaluations for your industrial facility to identify hazards and risks in relation to your electrical systems. They are required every five years or when changes occur in the electrical distribution system that could affect the results of the analysis. This study results in proper arc flash equipment labelling, fault current and coordination analysis, and recommendations for improvements for your staff’s PPE, if required.
Robust Changes for Improved Study Results
With the updates to the IEEE 1584-2018: Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations, companies must adjust expectations on what their upcoming arc flash studies now involve. Until the introduction of IEEE 1584-2002, there was not an in-depth, well-documented standard for companies to follow, which resulted in potentially increased safety risks of a facility’s operations staff. While IEEE 1584-2002 provided improved techniques and calculations for determining the arc flash hazard distance and the incident energy to which employees could be exposed to, it still required further development as industry standards and technology changed.
Through the introduction of new procedures, calculations and formulae in IEEE 1584-2018, companies are now required to include additional equipment evaluation as they pertain to arcing faults and arc flash events. Specific changes that impact arc flash studies include the addition of more rigorous calculations, inclusion of equipment enclosure coefficients based on enclosure sizes and electrode configuration in the enclosures, the assumption of more protective device failure and variation of arcing current, thereby requiring improved protection for workers. As more companies conduct arc flash studies using the IEEE 1584-2018 standards, they may be required to modify their electrical safety programs, change electrical protection equipment, improve how workers are trained, modify existing standards and work practices, and/or purchase new equipment to allow their workers to conduct their tasks safely.
To ensure alignment with the new IEEE 1584-2018 standards, the following must be considered to ensure a facility meets its obligations in relation to these new standards.
Additional Evaluation Requirements
With a number of introductions, the time required to prepare for and complete the study typically increases. Below are items we’ve identified that impact the timeline of a study.
Introduction of Increasingly Complex Calculations
One of the most important updates is the introduction of increasingly complex calculation methods. More in-depth, these calculations now require studies to be completed on the full range of voltage, 208 to 15,000 volts; refine how small, low voltage systems are addressed; identify additional electrode configurations; adjust results based on enclosure size; account for an adjustment factor for arc current variation; and remove the previous 125kVA Transformer Rule.
With these more complex calculations to consider, companies require specialized software to complete these studies, such as ETAP software. As a registered solution provider, Catch has the know-how and capability to effectively conduct these arc flash studies to keep clients compliant with the standards while improving the safety for their workers.
There is no question that your upcoming arc flash study will be significantly different from previous years. However, these improvements and standards are there to support your safety obligations to your people.
If you know that your facility’s arc flash study is approaching or you’re interested in learning more about the recent IEEE 1584 updates, Catch Engineering is here to provide guidance. Contact us and share what you’re looking for.
Additional IEEE 1584-2018 Resources:
The above provides a high level of why and how the updates will impact your facility’s upcoming study without diving into the specific technical updates. These technical updates are crucial for the individuals conducting an arc flash study to understand. If you’re interested in learning more about the specific technical changes beyond how the changes directly impact your operations, below are excellent industry resources:
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