Electrical Design and Construction

ARc Flash studies

NFPA 70B states that electrical studies SHALL be updated every 5 years.

Chapter 6 of NFPA 70B provides guidance regarding electrical studies. This chapter states that incident energy (arc flash) analysis SHALL be updated every 5 years. Any modifications or additions to an electrical system occur within the required interval, you are required to update facility electrical studies.

Understanding arc flash hazards in an electrical distribution system is essential for safety. Completing an electrical study provides data on the damage that would occur in the event of an arc flash and provides guidance on proper labeling, PPE, and whether energized work can be completed safely.

 An arc flash study starts with these steps: 

  • Collect system information and verify single-line diagram is up to date.
  • Determine how distribution system configurations impact fault currents.
  • Fault current study.
  • Coordination study.
  • Calculate arc currents.
  • Calculate incident energy.
  • Determine flash protection boundary.



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About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global self-funded nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.


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