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Electrical workers such as machine operators, maintenance technicians, and electrical contractors (to name a few) are no strangers to working with an organization’s energized assets. Day-to-day they run a huge risk in managing and maintaining these assets and we’re not just talking about electric shock or electrocution. In facilities where large amounts of energy flow, there is potential for an arc flash to occur, wherein just one second, the air and all the surrounding areas are heated up to a temperature that is equivalent to the sun’s surface. Workers in the area of an arc flash can face serious to fatal injuries, which is why it’s important to have the equipment and practices in place to prevent these incidents from happening.

We’ve discussed serious and fatal injury prevention in previous posts, but haven’t touched on the critical need for having the right equipment to mitigate these situations. In this post, we discuss why having an arc flash relay in your switchgear can not only be a lifesaver, but can also protect your assets and save on costs.

The Importance of Arc Flash Relays


​Arc flashes cause power outages and equipment and property damage, which can jeopardize the safety of your electrical workers and lead to production and financial loss. Should an arc flash occur, it’s important to have arc flash protection, specifically an arc flash relay in your facility’s switchgear because it will trip the circuit breaker and cut off the current feeding the arc flash.

There are many arc flash relays available in the market that it can be overwhelming to search for and install the right option. SEAM Group’s arc flash relay, as an example, is configured based on the SEL-751 protection relay, where the arc flash function is based on monitoring system current as well as light via fiber optic cables installed in the equipment. What makes this arc flash relay the best on the market is that it is capable of also monitoring voltage and data logs and provides other system protection like undervoltage and ground fault.

Because the relay is always active and monitoring the system for an arc flash, a facility does not have to rely on someone activating the system before doing work, which removes the potential for human error.

Additionally, the relay provides the following benefits:

  • Equipment protection on the load side during an event

  • Reduced downline incident energy

  • Decreased equipment downtime

  • Arc flash incident prevention


Work With SEAM Group to Prevent Arc Flash Incidents


Just about any site that has a direct utility feed will have a need for an arc flash relay if they are interested in reducing the hazard on the load side of the main protective device in the equipment. But before your facility inquires about arc flash relay installations alone, work with a partner like SEAM Group to conduct an Arc Flash Hazard Assessment.

With the assessment, SEAM Group assesses your current state, helps your organization uncover issues in your electrical distribution system that may be hidden underneath the surface, and makes recommendations for reducing incident energy. If there are any issues with your equipment, SEAM Group works with your organization to correct and repair them, installing new equipment such as arc flash relays where needed, providing monitoring and maintenance to ensure assets are working as they should, and offering training for your electrical team to manage energized assets safely.

An arc flash relay is critical to have in your electrical gear, but knowing what other problems your system may have and correcting them proactively and routinely can only extend the lifecycle of your assets and improve your operational and safety performance in the long term.

Connect with SEAM Group for arc flash protection and learn how to prevent electrical incidents, maintain compliance with NFPA 70E and other regulations, and save on operational costs.

Schedule an assessment today.
The NFPA 70E®, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace®, helps enterprises mitigate worker exposure to electrical hazards in order to avoid injuries and incidents. Many of the electrical incidents that occur in the workplace could have been prevented with proper NFPA 70E® training. However, training is often de-prioritized as many enterprises believe it interferes with productivity and that it’s just another unnecessary expense. They may know that training improves safety, but they may not realize that it also keeps workers current on the NFPA 70E Standard, which reduces compliance risks. They also may not realize that having a safe workforce is also a productive workforce, which positively impacts the return on investment.

If any of the above benefits have you considering NFPA 70E training, continue reading to learn the key training topics that will help protect your workers, assets, and your bottom-line.
Read the full Electrical Safety in Workplace article to learn the six keys to NFPA 70E Training.

NFPA 70E® Key Training Topics


NFPA 70E training is critical for your electrical workers to handle energized assets safely.

Since thousands of workers are hurt every year by arc flashes, training heavily focuses on arc flash safety, specifically:

  • Identifying arc flash causes – Understanding how an arc flash occurs and its causes is key for mitigating future incidents. Causes can include equipment failure, excessive dust or corrosion, and even human error.

  • Recognizing equipment with arc flash potential – To determine and confirm arc flash potential, an assessment or arc flash hazard analysis should be performed on equipment 50V or higher.

  • Understanding arc flash labeling – Labeling is required for any piece of electrical equipment that may need examination, adjustment, service or maintenance while energized, creating the potential for an arc flash incident to occur. Electrical workers need to know how to read these labels and understand how it affects the work of the person performing the diagnostics, as well as the risk to nearby coworkers.

  • Interpreting and documenting meter readings – The Standard requires qualified employees to have documented training on how to use a meter and how to interpret all indications coming from the metering device. Meter readings can vary greatly depending on where the meter is placed, such as if you’re testing a 480 system, a phase to phase or phase to ground procedure.


Training also includes establishing electrically safe work conditions, elements of a risk assessment, the difference between electrical hazards and risks, and the intent and limitations of personal protective equipment (PPE) required by 70E.

The Right Balance to Make Training More Effective


There are many NFPA 70E training options available to your enterprise, but not just any classroom training will do. The proper training, which proves to be more effective long-term, involves a balance of instruction. Your workers should have opportunities to learn from your veteran workforce, those who have decades of on-the-job knowledge and who have seen an arc flash or escaped a near miss. They should also learn from experts in the field like SEAM Group who have a diverse electrical background, are skilled in NFPA 70E training, and can guide your enterprise on energized asset optimization, while also improving electrical safety. Getting both certified trainers and your workforce onboard will only set your enterprise up for success, helping protect your workers from harm, while making your enterprise a safer place to work.

Read the full article on NFPA 70E training considerations and to learn more about providing training for your electrical workers, contact SEAM Group.

 

 

 
Christine Witte, Director of Product & Services for SEAM Group joins Scott Mackenzie from The Industrial Talk Podcast to discuss how we should be advocating for safety the same way we advocate for our children. Even with the standards and regulations OSHA has put in place to keep workers safe, we continue to see minor and serious injuries and fatalities continue in the workplace.

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For additional information on preventing serious injuries and fatalities download out white paper Preventing Serious Injuries and Fatalities – Eight Steps to Manage Hazardous Energy in Facilities