Enertia Engineering Ltd. helps clients increase Workplace Electrical Safety through Arc Flash Hazard Analysis and Mitigation Services

November 05, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
Edmonton, AB - November 5, 2009 - Electrical workers face risks every day in their job. One of these risks is injury from an electric arc flash. Arc flashes are sudden and highly unstable energy discharges that often occur due to improper work techniques and abnormal conditions in energized electrical equipment. Enertia Engineering Ltd., with the support of ESPS Electrical Safety Program Solutions INC. (ESPS), has made it their mission to increase the safety of electrical and non-electrical workers. Through ESPS's Electrical Safety Services Consulting (e.g. Electrical Safety Auditing, Electrical Safety Program development, and Workplace Electrical Safety Training) and Enertia Engineering Ltd.'s engineering-based Arc Flash Hazard Analysis and Mitigation services, employers are able to mitigate or minimize the risk of electrical hazard exposure to their workers.

According to research conducted by CapSchell, arc flash incidents hospitalize five to seven workers per day in North America. One factor contributing to this high-incident rate is the lack of consistent electrical equipment maintenance practices across the industry. Aging electrical systems in workplaces also contribute to an increased probability of arc flash incidents.

To address this risk, the Canadian Standards Association released CSA Z462, a standard on "Workplace Electrical Safety," in December 2008. This standard seeks to minimize the general dangers associated with electrical systems in the workplace, including specific risks such as arc flash. Based on the United States' electrical standard NFPA 70E, Z462 outlines requirements for training, safe work procedures, arc flash and shock hazard analysis, use of an Energized Electrical Work Permit, Electrical Specific Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), creating safe work conditions, and individual qualifications that collectively minimize the risk of incident. It also provides a measure for companies to demonstrate due diligence in protecting their workers. The launch of this Canadian standard was driven by industry in supporting its development with CSA, which also included participation of Provincial Occupational Health and Safety representatives.

"We began performing arc flash analysis for clients before it became a requirement in Canada, and our staff has been actively involved in this type of analysis and reporting since the 2004 edition of the NFPA 70E standard in the United States. By providing it as an option to all of our clients, we have gained significant experience in this area, and as a result, we have increased the safety of their staff and contract workers," states Darcy Braun, one of the principals at Enertia Engineering Ltd.

Currently, Z462's guidelines and requirements are not mandated by law and, as a result, companies are not legally required to follow them. However, industry across Canada has recognized the value of proactively implementing practices that are consistent with Z462. If an electrical incident were to occur, Provincial, Territorial or Federal Occupational Health and Safety jurisdictions may assess whether the company demonstrated due diligence using industry-accepted best practices and the tools available in CSA Z462.

Terry Becker, P.Eng., Senior Management Consultant with ESPS, concentrates his efforts in the area of electrical safety. He led an Alberta Electrical Arc Hazard Committee in 2005-2006 and was appointed as the first Vice-Chair of the CSA Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety Standard Technical Committee in 2006. "Over 7000 copies of CSA Z462 have sold as of September 1, 2009" Terry says, which means that many Canadian companies are listening.

According to Dallas Wilm, Project Manager at Enertia Engineering Ltd., "We have received a large number of inquiries regarding arc flash hazard analysis. It is hard to determine how many of the companies making the inquiries have proceeded to act on them. Many options are available; they may have performed the calculations internally, hired a consultant to look after the process, or contracted an engineering firm to proceed."

Minimizing the risk of arc flash through their services is one way that Enertia Engineering Ltd. and ESPS are increasing the safety of electrical and non-electrical workers in industry. For more information on these companies and how their services are making a difference in protecting workers from arc flash, visit their websites at www.enertiaengineering.com and www.esps.ca.

Enertia Engineering Ltd.
As a leading electrical engineering services firm, Enertia Engineering Ltd. offers expert arc flash analysis and mitigation services to companies seeking to meet electrical safety compliance standards (e.g. CSA Z462 Workplace Electrical Safety Standard, and IEEE 1584).

Arc Flash Hazard Analysis Engineering based Arc Flash Hazard Analysis determines a facility's potential level of arc flash risk using the advanced ETAP software, and labeling tools. This analysis can be used, in conjunction with an Electrical Safety Program to enhance the safety of both staff and contract workers, and to make improvements in electrical system "Safety by Design."

Arc Flash Mitigation Enertia Engineering Ltd. offers specialized engineering expertise in arc flash mitigation. Once an arc flash hazard analysis has been performed, specific locations throughout a facility may be identified as "problem" areas. Enertia Engineering Ltd. then makes recommendations for methods to reduce or mitigate the arc flash level in these areas.

ESPS Electrical Safety Program Solutions INC.
ESPS Electrical Safety Program Solutions INC. is a leading engineering-based consulting company that provides specialized electrical safety consulting services and products to industry across Canada. Their services include detailed Electrical Safety Audits, consulting services for Electrical Safety Program development and support, and complete Workplace Electrical Safety training services.
ESPS assessments benefit companies because they allow prioritization of appropriate preventive and protective control measures in an effort to decrease or eliminate exposure of electrical hazards for workers, ensure compliance with OH&S regulations, reduce exposure to business risk, and provide compliance with industry–accepted, consensus-based standards like CSA Z462.