Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News
Blog Author Steve Hudgik
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Hazard Assessment: In-House or Outsource?An article by Larry Altmayer of Littelfuse, published at PlantServices.com, outlines the expertise and resources needed to perform an adequate electrical safety assessment and arc flash hazard analysis. The article addresses the important issue of whether to take on the cost of hiring an electrical safety consulting firm, or to face the considerable task of performing an analysis in-house.
Electrical engineering know-how is, of course, a key factor. Altmayer states, "Electrical hazard assessments are complex, and unless you understand the special expertise required you risk falling short of OSHA requirements." Engineering expertise, and familiarity with your facility's electrical systems, are necessary for a hazard assessment, but they're not enough. In-depth understanding of OSHA, NFPA 70E, and IEEE 1584 requirements and procedures is needed in order to ensure accuracy and compliance with the relevant codes.
Expertise isn't the only thing to consider in deciding whether to outsource or work in-house. A thorough hazard analysis is time-consuming and can be costly. Also, specialized equipment such as arc flash software and Category 4 PPE (for use while determining device characteristics) may be necessary to complete the assessment, while the ability to produce warning labels in large quantities is necessary for implementing the study's results. Liability for the safety of assessment workers is another concern. A final factor to consider is training: do you have the staff and resources to fully train workers on the hazards they will encounter in your facility?
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