NFPA 70E 2015 Arc Rated PPE selection

There have been a few updates to NFPA 70E regarding the selection of Arc Rated PPE.

NFPA 70E 2015 Article 130.6(C)

NFPA 7OE 130.6 (C) Arc Flash PPE. One of the following methods shall be used for the selection of PPE. Either, but not both, methods shall be permitted to be used on the same piece of equipment. The results of an incident energy analysis to specify an arc flash PPE Category in the table 130.7 (C)(16) shall not be permitted.

NFPA 70E 2015 Arc Rated PPE(1) Incident Energy Analysis Method. The incident energy exposure level shall be based on the working distance of the employee’s face and chest areas from a prospective arc source for the specific task to be performed. Arc-rated clothing and other PPE shall be used by the employee based on the incident energy exposure associated with the specific task. Recognizing that incident energy increases as the distance from the arc flash decreases, additional PPE shall used for any parts of the body that are closer than the distance at which the incident energy is determined.

(2) Arc Flash PPE Categories Method. The requirements of 130.7(C)(15) and 130.7(C)(16) shall apply when the arc flash PPE category method is used for the selection of arc flash PPE.

2015 NFPA 70E Changes that WILL Effect Your Business

NFPA 70E is recognized by OSHA as the Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. It explains in detail steps that should be taken to ensure electrical workers can do their jobs safely and also addresses how to deal with electrical hazards as safely as possible while on the job.

As technology improves and production demand grows, safety codes must be updated to meet the ever evolving changes in the workplace. NFPA recognizes these changes and adjusts or adds regulations to  its’ standard for electrical safety in the workplace every three years.

The next edition (2015 NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace) is set to come out in 2015. The anticipated changes include:

  • New and improved (easier to understand) Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) application tables.
  • The elimination of Hazard Risk Category “0”.
  • The elimination of Prohibited Approach Boundaries.

Changes to the PPE Tables:

The new tables are designed to simplify the selection Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for all tasks. It combines the separate ac and dc tables now in use and makes them consistent, improving usability. The table will no longer refer to Hazard Risk Categories but PPE Categories, which is more in line with their purpose.

When using the new table, the type of equipment is selected first. If it falls below the limits given, the Arc-Flash PPE Category is chosen from a separate table. If not, an arc-flash study must be performed to determine what PPE is needed. In conjunction with using the table, workers should establish that four key conditions are met, no matter what task is to be performed:

  • The equipment is properly installed.
  • The equipment is properly maintained.
  • Covers for all other equipment are in place and secured.
  • There is no evidence of impending failure.

The elimination of Hazard Risk Category “0”

As of 2015, Hazard Risk Categories will be referred to as “PPE Categories.” The “0” level is no longer necessary as the new PPE table will only specify PPE for work within the Arc-Flash Boundary. The committee feels that if there is no arc-flash hazard, then no arc-flash PPE should be worn and it is therefore not necessary on a table devoted to such PPE.

The elimination of the Prohibited Approach Boundary

The NFPA 70E committee looked at the boundaries for shock and decided that a listed boundary should trigger an action. Unlike the Limited Approach Boundary, which unqualified persons cannot pass, or the Restricted Approach Boundary, the point at which qualified persons have to use shock protective PPE, the Prohibited Approach Boundary is more of a “watch out” boundary that does not require any different action than the Limited Approach Boundary.



What Information is Required on the Arc Flash Label?

Arc Flash Label

Arc Flash Warning LabelNFPA 70e (2012) article 130.5 (C) states that electrical equipment such as; Electrical switchboards, electrical panels and panelboards, electrical control panels, meter socker enclosures (meter bases), and motor controls centers (MCCs) that are in locations other than dwelling places (residential housing), and are likely to be serviced by a worker, shall be Field Marked with a warning label containing all the following information;

1. At least one of the following:

  • Available indident energy and the cooesponding working distance (Calorie Rating @ 18″).
  • Minimum arc rating of clothing (Rating of PPE to use).
  • Required Level of PPE to use.
  • Highest Hazard Risk Category (HRC) to use.

2. The nominal system voltage.

3. The arc flash boundary.

Note that any approved label that was applied prior to Sept 30, 2011 is acceptable IF is states the Incident Energy or the specific level of PPE to use.

Also, note that you must be able to provide documentation to show how the data on the label was calculated. In other words, you can’t just guess or assume information and put it on a label. You must have documented the methods of the calculations that you used.


What is an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis?


An “arc flash hazard analysis” according to the 2012 NFPA70e (article 100) is a study investigating a worker’s potential exposure to arc flash energy, conducted for the purpose of injury prevention and the determination of safe work practices, arc flash boundary, and the appropriate levels of PPE or personal protective equipment.

NFPA70e article 130.5 states that an arc flash hazard analysis shall determine the arc flash boundary, the incident energy at the working distance (generally 18″), and the personal protective equipment that people withing the arc flash boundary shall use.

The article goes on to state that the arc flash hazard analysis shall be updated when a major modification or renovation takes place. It shall be reviewed periodically, not to exceed 5 years, to account for changes in the electrical distribution system that could affect the results of the arc flash hazard analysis.

The arc flash hazard analysis shall take into consideration the design of the overcurrent protective device (the fuse or breaker) and its opening or clearing time. including its condition of maintenance.

Is Arc Flash Analysis Required?

Do you have to do an Arc Flash Study or is an Arc Flash Analysis Required to be in compliance with OSHA laws?

Most won’t tell you the true facts about the arc flash regulations…The truth is, these rules are easy to comply with. Most websites out there are designed to sell you expensive software or services.

The facts are:

You must conduct a Arc Flash Hazard Analysis to determine the incident energy present at all electrical machines or panesl that a worker “Might” work on or near if any of the following is true:

  • If your company has employees that work on or around energized electrical equipment operating at 50 volts or more.
  • If your facility is a commercial or private facility that is “other than a private dwelling”… in other words… It’s not a house.


You do not have to conduct an Arc Flash Hazard Analysis if your facility has all of the following conditions:

  • If your facility is supplied by a single utility transformer that is smaller than a 125 Kva rating. (That’s not very big)
  • AND, is supplied by only one transformer,
  • AND, the highest voltage present in your facility is 239 volts or less.

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