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 Post subject: Label Outline that will survive NFPA constant changes
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:01 am 
Arc Level

Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 8:49 pm
Posts: 510
Location: New England
Designing labels that will survive the constant changes of NFPA 70E.

I know this topic is becoming old, but I wanted to readdress it from a different approach. My concern is the cost and long term usefulness of the labels we put on equipment. The labels I installed in 2000 that listed PPE level (-1) had to replaced when (-1) was dropped as a category and PPE-0 became the lowest PPE level, which had to be replaced again when PPE-0 was dropped and PPE-1 became the lowest level. Then we had a change to use the balaclava when the back of the head was inside the arc flash boundry, followed with another change of upgrading to a flash hood when 12 cals or more was encountered. .

Its not a good practice to have labels in the field that have mis-information, but its near impossible to keep up with NFPA who has focused on Art 130 on every review with numerous and contradicting changes. Now I find I have to install labels in a new area. I'd like them to be good for 20 years of service, but with the NFPA changing every 4 years, I don't want labels that depict in-correct information.

We completed an SKM analysis to calculate IE and boundary distances.

Historically, when we had PPE levels we would list those in addition, this would probably today be 'site specific level of PPE' but I'm afraid to do that now. We have a minimum of Level 1 for all work, but after that our requirement is to meet quidleline establish by Art 130. So I could list arc flash rated clothing to match the IE value, but then would also have to include the balaclava and a further change to hood at 12 cals. The other option I was thinking of was just to put a reference such as 'Site specific PPE: As defined by Arc Flash Policy #xxx". Then in the site policy I would reference the individual garments/devices according to the then current Art 130.

How are others addressing this issue. Are you changing labels everytime the NFPA changes the guideline, are you leaving the incorrect labels in place, are you listing the then advised PPE garments/devices and hope for the best, or do you think a reference to a more easily changed policy would be better.

So in D(3) below, would you recommend (a) for IE and Boundary distances, no (b), and (c) as just a reference to an easily upgraded policy?

(D) Equipment Labeling. Electrical equipment such as switchboards, panelboards, industrial control panels, meter socket enclosures, and motor control centers that are in other than dwelling units and that are likely to require examination, adjustment, servicing, or maintenance while energized shall be field-marked with a label containing all the following information:
(1) Nominal system voltage
(2) Arc flash boundary
(3) At least one of the following:
a. Available incident energy and the corresponding
working distance, or the arc flash PPE category in
Table 130.7(C)(15)(A)(b) or Table 130.7(C)(15)(B)
for the equipment, "but not both"
b. Minimum arc rating of clothing
c. Site-specific level of PPE

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 Post subject: Re: Label Outline that will survive NFPA constant changes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 9:24 am
Posts: 32
Location: Swanton, Vermont
Simpler may be better when considering the labels and expected code changes.
Nominal voltage, arc flash boundary, Available incident energy at the standards working distance, period. But we never know.

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 Post subject: Re: Label Outline that will survive NFPA constant changes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 5:29 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 09, 2014 9:19 am
Posts: 43
Because of the recent changes we had to redesign our labels as well. We just went through this 3 years ago and now we need to completely redo it, I share your frustration.
We took a simple approach to it. We no longer are putting the Category because we are listing the IE. We are also no longer listing out the required PPE, we are just adding the statement "Appropriate AR rated clothing, Head and Neck protection, Gloves, and work Boots required to work on or operate this equipment" The reason we added the "or operate this equipment" is because we made the decision as the electrical safety team to have our operators wear the PPE once the IE goes above 8cal/cm^2.
We are now training our technicians how to read the PPE as well as the labels on the equipment to determine the correct level of PPE. We are still taking the simple approach of buying 2 suits, 1 rated up to 12cal/cm^2 and the second rated up to 40cal/cm^2. When they wear the lower rated they always need to put on the balaclava. All of my EC Technicians are now wearing 12cal/cm^2 rated clothing for everyday use so it is even easier for them.

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 Post subject: Re: Label Outline that will survive NFPA constant changes
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:50 am 
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Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:43 am
Posts: 177
Location: Colorado
I have had clients with a couple of different approaches. One client referred to a policy which is OK if everyone can get to the policy. Another would print AF labels with the IE but print a second label that listed out the clothing as is pertained to that site, this was generally a different type/color label without the "warning" at the top.

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