OSHA Arc Flash Training Requirements


OSHA Arc Flash Training Requirements – OSHA 29 CFR Part 1910, Subpart S Electrical and NFPA 70E 2018 “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.”

What is Arc Flash?

Simply put, an arc flash is a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground. The results are often violent and when a human is in close proximity to the arc flash, serious injury and even death can occur.

Arc flash can be caused by many things including:

• Dust
• Dropping tools
• Accidental touching
• Condensation
• Material failure
• Corrosion

Faulty Installation Three factors determine the severity of an arc flash injury:

• Proximity of the worker to the hazard
• Temperature
• Time for circuit to break

Because of the violent nature of an arc flash exposure when an employee is injured, the injury is serious – even resulting in death. It’s not uncommon for an injured employee to never regain their past quality of life. Extended medical care is often required, sometimes costing in excess of $1,000,000. For this and other reasons, many insurance companies are requiring strict compliance with NFPA 70e 2018 standards.

Typical Results from an Arc Flash:OSHA Arc Flash Requirements

• Heat (upwards of 35,000 degrees F)
• Sound Blast (noise can reach 140 dB – as loud as a gun)
• Flying objects (often molten metal)
• Blast pressure (upwards of 2,000 lbs. / sq.ft)
• Fire (could spread rapidly through building)
• Burns (Non FR clothing can burn onto skin)

Approach Boundaries

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed specific approach boundaries designed to protect employees while working on or near energized equipment. NFPA 70e 2018 should be reviewed for OSHA Arc Flash Training Requirements.

The boundaries are:

• Prohibited Approach (inner boundary)
• Restricted Approach
• Limited Approach
• Flash Protection Boundary (outer boundary)

Who is a Qualified Worker?

In an effort to limit electrical injuries in the workplace, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has passed law that only allows a “Qualified” person to work on or around energized circuits or equipment.

Qualified person: One who has received training in and has demonstrated skills and knowledge in the construction and operation of electric equipment and installations and the hazards involved.

Whether an employee is considered to be a “qualified person” will depend upon various circumstances in the workplace. For example, it is possible and, in fact, likely for an individual to be considered “qualified” with regard to certain equipment in the workplace, but “unqualified” as to other equipment…

Qualified persons (i.e. those permitted to work on or near exposed energized parts) shall, at a minimum, be trained in and familiar with the following:

• The skills and techniques necessary to distinguish exposed live parts from other parts of electric equipment.
• The skills and techniques necessary to determine the nominal voltage of exposed live parts, and
• The clearance distances specified in 1910.333(c) and the corresponding voltages to which the qualified person will be exposed.

OSHA Arc Flash Training Requirements – The training required by this section shall be of the classroom or on-the-job type. The degree of training provided shall be determined by the risk to the employee.