Arc Flash Safety Practices in the Semiconductor Industry

Clough, Jonathan
(Square D/Schneider Electric, Spokane, WA)

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This presentation addresses standards by NFPA 70E, NEC 2002 and OSHA for employee workplaces when working around exposed energized equipment.Each year, workplace deaths and injuries are caused by arc flash incidents in faulted, electrical equipment. Improved control of arc flash would lead to fewer injuries and a safer workplace. Estimates indicate that 10-15 serious arc-flash incidents (those that result in burn injuries requiring treatment in a burn center) occur each day in the US, so it is not surprising that awareness of the hazards associated with arc-flash continues to grow. Present OSHA regulations do not specifically address arc flash hazards, but industry standards such as NFPA 70E-2004, Standard for Electrical Safety In the Workplace, provide information on safe work practices and required protective equipment for electrical workers exposed to arc flash hazards. OSHA has begun to write citations based on the NFPA 70E requirements. This paper will cover aspects of NFPA 70E, NEC, OSHA requirements, enforcement and what the Semiconductor industry is required to do to keep their workplace safe. Additionally,the steps of an Arc Flash study performed in a Semiconductor facility will be reviewed and examples of what Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), incident energy, and working clearances required when working around process electrical equipment will be discussed. He will also talk about design considerations and planning required meeting NFPA 70E, NEC and OSHA requirements.

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