Arc flash risk management

IET factfile: Arc Flash Risk Management

A health and safety factfile provided by the IET.

This IET factfile seeks to set out the key principles of arc flash risk management using a risk-based approach. It is aimed at persons with responsibility for the management of safety in the control and implementation of work on electrical power equipment.

The document describes an approach, based on a hierarchy of risk control measures. It adopts a holistic risk management methodology using the 4Ps of Predict, Prevent, Process and Protect to ensure that arc flash hazards are systematically identified, analysed and prevented from causing harm.

Removal of the hazard through working only on or near equipment that is made dead and suitably isolated should always be the first-choice risk reduction measure. However, other prevention measures are identified that fall into the categories of automatic disconnection of supply, equipment design and/or operational measures, that can be adopted individually or collectively to ensure safety.

Considerations for flame resistant personal protective equipment (PPE), as a risk control measure, should only be adopted as a last resort principle. This fact file provides an assessment process and there is also a commentary on recognised standards and test methods for PPE in Appendix 2.