By Jorlan Peeters | March 2021

Reducing the risks of arc flashes: a practical and moral obligation

"In my opinion, employers have an obligation to analyze all possible risk and come up with solutions. We should be striving for 100% safety"

"In my opinion, employers have an obligation to analyze all possible risks and come up with solutions. Arc flashes are still causing fatalities and we should be striving for 100% safety. Because 99% safety means that people might still be injured or even killed at work - and we should find that risk unacceptable."

"In the past, I used to sell distribution systems, which are at the heart of medium and low voltage installations. I still like to visit customers’   installations - which they are proud of. I see products from many different brands in the most diverse set-ups.  Fortunately, incidents in these installations are very rare - but still too often something goes wrong in a distributor, resulting in short circuits and accompanying arc flashes."

"The risks and consequences of arc flashes are among the greatest challenges for keeping electrical installations safe and operational. Although the NEN 3140 standard provides guidelines in this area, there is no clearly defined legislation in the Netherlands. Responsibility is usually delegated to designated installation managers. They understand how dangerous arc flashes can be - but because there are very few people in the Netherlands dealing with these subjects on a daily basis, they are not sufficiently heard. Or they are insufficiently understood by other decision-makers in a company who have no electrical engineering background."

"We support the people responsible for these installations through arc simulations and calculations. Based on these calculations, we develop reporting and share insights into the risks and recommended PPE for each specific workplace. This is indicated using safety labels on distribution boxes, so that people know what they are dealing with at a glance. How safe is this installation? What protective clothing should I wear?"

"In short: based on my experience, I see that electrical engineering experts – who fully understand the risks of arc flashes - are not given sufficient attention. And I see it as our responsibility to help them get this important message across as best we can!”