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 Post subject: Arc Flash Studies in the UK and Europe?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 9:32 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 5:38 pm
Posts: 1
Does anyone know if arc flash studies are becoming a requirment in the U.K. and Europe? If they are being performed, who or what entity is making the request / requirement? What standard is being used?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 05, 2009 1:48 am 
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Joined: Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:43 pm
Posts: 63
Location: Sheffield, England
Hi Steve, it will depend upon who you work for. American owned companies are instructing their European facilities to instigate arc flash studies and also US electrical safety standards. There are a few problems with compatibility with European Law but the basic requirements are the same that you work on de-energized circuits only and if you have to work on, or in proximity to energized conductors then you need a good reason to do so.

The main difference is that of the approach. US standards are quite prescriptive with a definite requirement for PPE whereas European practices are based upon risk assessment where the duty holders will have to account for their actions in putting people to work on energized circuits and the precautions that they employ. Here in the UK you are considered guilty for an accident unless you can prove that your actions were reasonable and that you did everything you could to prevent the accident.

That said, reasonable actions will include the provision of information to enable the energized work to proceed and precautions to prevent injury. The only tool to provide that information that is based upon internationally recognized standards and research is, in my view, the IEEE 1584 guide for arc flash hazard calculations. Article 6(2) of European Council Directive 89/391/EEC on risk assessment sets out employer's duties under the "general principles of prevention" which now appear in many of the regulations in Europe. One of these principles is the requirement - Adapt to Technical Progress/Information. To quote from the prime text book for HSE students in the UK; Introduction to Health & Safety at Work - Hughes & Ferret – “It is important to take advantage of technological and technical progress which often gives designers and employers the chance to improve both safety and working methods. With the internet and other information sources available a very wide knowledge, going beyond what is happening in the UK or Europe, will be expected by the enforcing authorities and the courts.â€

The other thing to take into account is that the arc flash requirement from any study is a very small part of what professional European Engineers should be doing anyway. I had a look at the data gathering exercise in Appendix A of the IEEE1584 guide and the information to undertake the arc flash calculation is only 9% of the total. The other 91% of the information is for a single line diagram, short circuit study and for relay coordination. Any self respecting Engineer would be hard pressed to argue that you don't need any of those.

To summarise, there is not an explicit requirement for arc flash studies to be undertaken in Europe but it is certainly implied even to the extent that the information will influence the decision to work on energized circuits in the first place.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2010 1:16 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 2:46 am
Posts: 6
Location: Dorset, UK
Register Now: DuPont Electric Arc Risk Assessment Forum, Nov 23rd 2010

DuPont cordially invites you to its first European Electric Arc Risk Assessment Forum, to be held on Tuesday November 23rd, 2010 near Watford, London (starting at 09:30 finishing around 15:30 hrs)

Electric arc is one of the most deadly and least understood hazards of electricity, and is prevalent in most industrial situations. The outcome of an arc flash can be disastrous and whilst local legislation requires businesses to perform risk assessments for all work activities, this is often overlooked because most people are unsure how to assess and manage this hazard effectively.To help companies better assess these risks, DuPont convenes a thought-provoking workshop which will examine the European approach to electric arc hazards and provide an understanding of the legal standards and frameworks.

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. Dr. Malcolm Booth, Aston University (Pioneers in the new Electrical Power Engineering Degrees)
. Mrs. Catherine Irwin, EMEA Electrical Safety and Technology Competency Leader, DuPont
. Mr. Ken Morton, Head of Power Systems and Ignition Hazard, UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE)
. Mr. Mike Frain, Managing Director, Electrical Safety
. Jim Phillips P.E.
. Dr. Helmut Eichinger, EMEA Technical Manager, DuPont

This event is aimed at anyone whose responsibility involves the protection of workers from the arc flash hazard - for example electrical engineers, electrical designers, contractors and non site based electrical workers and safety managers or procurement officers.

To register please email

Further details are also available on

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:06 pm 

Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 12:41 am
Posts: 1
Eaton has information about Arc Flash studies in Europe:

best regards,
Hans Picard

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