Arc Flash Legislation, Certification & Standards
Health and Safety Legislation – Ireland & UK
Health and Safety legislation imposes a duty on all employers to identify all hazards in the workplace, assess the risks to health & safety, and to put in place the necessary protective and preventive measures in order to ensure so far as reasonably practicable the safety, health and welfare of people at work. Therefore if you are an employer and there is an Arc Flash hazard, you must assess these risks and to put in place the necessary protective and preventive measures in order to comply with your legal responsibility.
As part of this process where it is not possible to make work conditions safe, in determining the appropriate PC & PPE, you must carry out a Risk Assessment involving an Arc Flash hazard analysis. This will calculate the Arc Rating required as this determines the level of protection needed for the PC & PPE. There is no standard for Arc Flash calculations in Europe but accepted industry practice is to comply with the IEEE1584 standard for Arc Flash calculations.
What is IEEE 1584?
IEEE Std.1584 is the IEEE Guide for Performing Arc Flash Hazard Calculations. This method has become the accepted industry practice in calculating the prospective incident energy that could be available at a given location. These calculations are then used to determine the PPE requirements.
Certification and Standards for Protective Clothing
Products used to protect people where appropriate should be CE certified. For example, hearing and respiratory protective devices are CE certified to long established European standards. The standards for clothing, to ensure are relatively new.
Standard: IEC 61482-1-2 and EN 61482-1-2
IEC 61482-1-2 and EN 61482-1-2 are identical. They are the test method standards in Europe by which the garment manufacturer can assess the protective performance of a fabric. It enables garments to be CE certified to an ATPV level (Arc Thermal Protection Value). The basic principle is that the Garment ATPV must be at least higher than the Arc Flash energy level as calculated.
These standards, known as the “box test” standard method is intended to be referred to for Low Voltage Systems only. The “box test” gives a pass or fail result with respect to the selected specific box test conditions and assessment criteria and does not give the value of the incident energy (cal/cm2) against which the fabric and to their box test class performance.
Therefore it is important that you should only choose protective Arc Flash clothing with reference to your Arc Flash study that will provide (as a minimum) a level of protection against incident energy which exceeds the incident energy value provided by your Arc Flash study.
We can recommend an independent company to you, who are experts in Arc Flash Studies, to carry out your Risk Assessment and calculate the Arc Rating required for you.
For more information, read our guide to Arc Flash PPE requirements as well. Read our guide to washing personal protective equipment as well.