Firm Outlines Steps for Preventing Arc Flash Loss

Every day in the United States, five to ten people are severely injured and one to two are killed by arc flash electrical explosions, according to a new white paper by Dulles, Va.-based electrical construction and engineering firm M.C. Dean Inc., which outlines steps businesses can follow to reduce the risk of these incidents. Written specifically for non-technical managers and executives, the white paper, Establishing an Arc Flash Loss Prevention Program, uses easy-to-understand language to discuss arc flashes, arc flash loss, and the importance of having a definitive arc flash loss prevention (AFLP) program in place.

"Because of the dangers of these electrical explosions, OSHA now legally requires employers to follow the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommended practices to protect workers from arc flash exposure," says M.C. Dean General Manager Mark Tibbetts, co-author of the paper. "Having a proper program in place to protect workers is beyond being the right thing to do. Now arc flash loss prevention is mandatory."

Co-author Dr. Robert E. Hoyt, Moore Chair of Risk Management and Insurance at the University of Georgia, adds, "The financial impact of an arc flash accident can be devastating, and because the stakes are so high, risk managers who typically do not have an engineering or technical background need to understand the exposure, the methods needed to prevent these accidents, and the costs associated with initiating an AFLP program." Having an AFLP program in place "goes beyond engineering and risk identification offered by many firms today and fills the risk management gap by instilling processes to train, track, and update," he says.

Explaining the impact and causes of arc flashes, the white paper includes a glossary of key terms, answers frequently asked questions, and outlines the six core steps for a thorough AFLP program, which includes:
1. Discovery and Engineering
2. Identification and Documentation
3. Program Preparation and Administration
4. Program Training and Certification
5. Field Execution and Document Review and
6. Program Review and Update.

Authoring the arc flash white paper with Tibbetts and Hoyt are John Welch, manager of M.C. Dean's Critical Power Group Atlanta, and Apostolos (Tolis) Vranis, P.E., the company's vice president of electrical engineering. "Because our clients are asking us what they need to meet OSHA and NFPA regulations, we decided to write a white paper that would give executives and middle management the answers required to manage arc flash loss prevention," Welch says.

To obtain a copy of Establishing an Arc Flash Loss Prevention Program or for more information on AFLP, e-mail john.welch@mcdean.com.

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