Arc Flash Training Requirements

By R. W. Hurst, President, The Electricity Forum

Arc Flash Training Requirements

Arc Flash Training Requirements are mandated by CSA Z462, Canada's Workplace Electrical Safety standard, which specifies requirements for and provides guidance on safety management systems, safe work procedures and selection of personal protective equipment and other safety devices for persons exposed to hazards associated with energized electrical equipment. In addition, this Standard sets out critieria for the identification and arc flash training of qualified electrical workers and for determination of hazardous work to be performed only by those qualified individuals.

Arc Flash Training Requirements

Employees who may be exposed to electrical hazards must be specifically trained to understand the hazards associated with electrical energy as well as the safety-related work practices and procedures required to provide protection from them. The level of arc flash training provided determines the tasks that an employee is qualified to perform.

Only specially ‘Qualified Persons’ may perform work on or near exposed and energized electrical conductors or circuit parts. The arc flash training requirements include:

 

  • How to recognize the potential hazards that exist
  • How to distinguish energized from non-energized parts
  • How to determine the voltage of exposed energized electrical conductors
  • The relationship between the hazard and potential injury
  • How to avoid exposure to the hazards
  • How to select appropriate personal protective equipment
  • Specific work practices and procedures to be followed
  • Emergency procedures for assisting victims of electrical incidents
  • How to perform a hazard/risk analysis
  • How to determine approach and flash protection boundaries

 

In the United States, Article 110.2 of NFPA 70E specifies the safety training requirements when working on equipment that presents an electrical hazard. The introduction to this section provides a summary of the arc flash training requirements: “Such employees shall be trained to understand the specific hazards associated with electrical energy. They shall be trained in safety-related work practices and procedural requirements, as necessary to provide protection from the electrical hazard associated with their respective job or task assignment. Employees shall be trained to identify and understand the relationship between electrical hazards and possible injury.”

The article then provides specifics on what is required, including specifying the requirements for qualified person and unqualified person arc flash training.

According to CSA Z462, Retraining in safety-related work practices and applicable changes in this standard shall be performed at intervals not to exceed three years.

Note that the “every three years” rule is the default. Employees must be retrained at least every three years. There are circumstances where retraining in electrical hazard safety is necessary, even if it hasn’t yet been three years since the last training occurred.

An employee shall receive additional training (or retraining) if any of the following conditions exists:

 

  1. The supervision or annual inspections indicate that the employee is not complying with the safety-related work practices.
  2. New technology, new types of equipment, or changes in procedures necessitate the use of safety-related work practices that are different from those that the employee would normally use.
  3. The employee must employ safety-related work practices that are not normally used during his or her regular job duties.

 

If your employees’ actions indicate that they’re not clear on electrical safety, or if their duties have changed, and now they work with electrical equipment that they did not work with previously, then they will need retraining.

If your electrical equipment has changed, or procedures for handling that equipment has changed, then the affected employees will need retraining.

Some facility managers already comply with the arc flash training requirements that employers meet with contractors to communicate known hazards and information about the facility installation that the contractor needs to make assessments. However, Article 110.1(C) requires this meeting to be documented.

The NFPA 70E standard also adds emphasis to its provision that employees who work around (not just on) energized electrical equipment must be safety trained. Article 110.2(D)(1)(f) requires employers to perform annual inspections (audit) to ensure each employee is complying with all safety-related work practices outlined in 70E. And Article 110.2(D)(3) requires that employees be retrained at intervals not to exceed 3 years, while 110.2(E) states that the training content must be documented. As far as OSHA is concerned, if not documented, compliance wasn’t achieved. What’s more, facility owners must now audit their safety training program and field work at least every 3 years to ensure it complies with 70E [110.3(H)(1) and (2)]. The audit also must be documented and revisions made to the safety program if any elements are not in compliance [110.3(H)(3)]. Also, any changes as a result of a new cycle of the 70E need to be updated. These changes supersede any previous additions.

Regarding use of equipment, Article 110.4 now specifies that only qualified persons perform testing and maintenance within the limited approach boundary. According to OSHA 1910, the definition of qualified includes required training, demonstrated skills, and knowledge of installation and hazards. The standard also now includes use of GFCIs where required by local, state and federal codes or standards.

ARC FLASH TRAINING REQUIREMENTS FOR UNQUALIFIED PERSONS

Article 110.2(D)(2) Unqualified Persons. Unqualified persons shall be trained in, and be familiar with, any electrical safety-related practices necessary for their safety.

Article 110.2(D)(3) Retraining. An employee shall receive additional training (or retraining) under any of the following conditions:

 

  1. If the supervisor or annual inspections indicate that the employee is not complying with the safety-related work practices.
  2. If new technology, new types of equipment, or changes in procedures necessitate the use of safety-related work practices.
  3. If he or she must employ safety-related work practices that are not normally used during his or her regular job duties.

 

OSHA 1910.332(b)(2) requires unqualified workers to be trained in the electrical safe work practices that are necessary for their safety. Unqualified workers, such as painters or cleaners, occasionally come into contact with energized equipment, and therefore they must be trained to recognize and avoid electrical hazards. Equipment operators often open the doors to electrical equipment to change a fuse or reset a contactor thus exposing themselves to energized conductors and circuit parts. Training would be required for personnel performing these job tasks. Painters often remove lighting fixtures, coverplates, work in damp locations and work in close proximity to overhead service conductors. The benchmark for training is anyone exposing themselves to voltages higher than 50 volts are at risk. Above 50V, if grounded, is enough to cause electrocution.

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