Ask Lewis Bass: A Question About Arc Flash Hazard Assessments

Ask Lewis Bass: A Question About Arc Flash Hazard Assessments

Welcome to another blog in our ongoing series, Ask Lewis Bass!

This series features actual submitted questions from companies in the industries we provide engineering safety consulting services to.

Topics covered include those associated with our work in 3rd party field labeling, SEMI S2/S8/EMC/F47 testing and design, CE Marking evaluations, and general engineering safety consulting questions.


Hi Lewis Bass,

Are Arc Flash Hazard Assessments required by OSHA?

Asked by Ryan in Milpitas, CA


Lewis Bass:

Not explicitly.

However, OSHA does guide persons in charge of facilities toward performing these assessments in regulation(s) §1910.335(b) and §1910.335(b)(1) copied for your review below. I’ll leave it up to your interpretation for how this could apply to your facility and use case(s).

§1910.335(b) OSHA requires employers
to use alerting techniques (safety signs and
tags, barricades, and attendants) . . . to warn
and protect employees from hazards which
could cause injury due to electric shock, burns
or failure of electric equipment parts.

§1910.335(b)(1) requires the use of
safety signs, safety symbols, or accident
prevention tags to warn employees about
electrical hazards (e.g., electric-arc-flash
hazards) which may endanger them as
required by §1910.145.

It must also be noted that the financial repercussions from not having Arc Flash Hazard Assessments performed can be substantial. Total costs of arc flash accidents have been estimated to be between $12 and $15 million, and can include medical expenses, down time, equipment replacement, lawsuits, and insurance and litigation fees.

The biggest costs are the probable lawsuits, because an employer did not properly identify the hazards, train employees and provide proper warnings, procedures and protective equipment (PPE).

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