Arc Flash Protection

What is an Arc Flash?

  • An arc flash is an explosion of electrical energy that can cause substantial damage, injury and death
  • Can occur in any electrical device, regardless of voltage, in which energy is high enough to sustain an arc; this includes many motor control centres, panel boards, and switch boards
  • An arc of this type, while typically less than a second in duration, can reach temperatures in excess of 35,000°F, high enough to produce extensive burns or death
  • Everyday work clothing made of cotton and cotton-polyester blends will ignite and can cause extensive life-threatening burns

What is the CSA Z462 standard?

  • Canadian workplace electrical standard based on NFPA 70E; first published in 2008, now in 4th revision
  • Aims to help workers install, operate, and maintain electrical equipment safely and provide additional safeguards to those who work in close proximity to energized electrical equipment
  • Provides details on recognized methods for identifying electrical hazards & risk assessment and defines best safety practices and training for working on and around electrical equipment
  • Specifies boundaries within which flash protection is required, in an effort to reduce the extent of injuries. Boundary distances vary depending on both the qualifications of the person being exposed and the voltage involved
  • All personnel within the defined boundaries must wear specified protective equipment, including arc flash resistant clothing and face shielding
  • Flash resistant personal protection equipment will not protect from shock, but will give substantial protection from the effects of arc flash, especially burns and eye damage
Arc Flash PPE Category Z462 Standards
Level 1 Minimum of 4 calories/cm²
Level 2 Minimum of 8 calories/cm²
Level 3 Minimum of 25 calories/cm²
Level 4 Minimum of 40 calories/cm²

Should this concern me?

  • The Standard dictates that employers must conduct both shock and arc flash hazard analysis to establish arc flash boundaries and required levels of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Arc flash protection boundaries, PPE clothing and other required matching PPE are selected based on degree of arc flash hazard
  • Arc flash protection equipment includes flash resistant clothing, face and hearing PPE
  • Employers are responsible for the safety and training of employees


Sign up today to get exclusive offers & promotions!

Join our Mailing List