1.2 Scope of the Guide

It is important to state that the scope of the guide specifically covers the arc flash hazard and in particular the thermal effects onto a worker in case of exposure to an electric arc event, but clearly there are other electrical and non-electrical hazards associated with the task. These other hazards are outside the scope of this guide although references will be made to them where necessary and particularly helpful.

Whilst the guide is based upon European Council Directives there are some specific references to United Kingdom and Irish regulations/standards as well. Clearly, the United Kingdom left the European Union on the 31st January 2020, but their basic approach to health and safety law is unlikely to change in the near future. As the guide gives access to the tools and tables through the web version of the guide, updates to standards and legislation will allow the reader to be kept up to date. The assumption is that users of the guide will be familiar with risk assessment as defined in the European Commission document “Guidance on Risk Assessment at Work”.

The guide covers the majority of situations where electrical workers may be engaged in activities where exposure to the arc flash hazard may occur. The guide is specifically applicable to working on control circuits, diagnostic testing & fault finding, live jointing, metering, LV operations, electrical installation work and maintenance activities near energised conductors and equipment. Companies who provide service engineers and electricians to client sites will find the guide to be particularly helpful in their risk assessments where intimate knowledge of the client’s distribution system is not available. There is a dedicated chapter on service providers and contractors (Chapter 10) which recognises and deals with this issue in detail.

1.3 Sharing Best Practice

There is a good deal of practical experience and Chapter 12: Myths and Mysteries is based upon much of the author’s personal involvement and knowledge with arc flash. The aim is to provide ongoing updates via the web version of the guide. This will cover updates to standards, regulations and calculations as mentioned previously.

1.4 Who can use the guide?

The guide is aimed at competent electrical engineers and particularly those who are responsible for putting electrical workers to task on, or in, the vicinity of live conductors and equipment. It may also be used by qualified electrical designers to supplement good design technique in order to engineer the reduction of electrical arc flash hazards and, where possible, to limit any requirement for future exposure to arc flash hazards. The calculator tools to determine incident energy within this guide are well within the capability of electrical engineers with minimum electrical design experience. For electrical networks that involve more complex feeder arrangements, the guide provides information on the procurement of software and/or service providers. The individuals named on the following non exhaustive list may find this guide useful.

  • Electrical Duty Holders
  • Electrical Designers
  • Electrical Contractors
  • Electrical Safety Consultants
  • Health and Safety Managers
  • Electrical Engineering Managers
  • Electrical Maintenance Engineers and Technicians
  • Distribution Company Employees and Service Providers
  • Electrical Engineering Students