The aim of the assessment is to determine if arc flash hazards exist and educate employees about the needed personal protective equipment.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), New Jersey’s Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH), and OSHA codes and regulations include measures to protect workers from arc flashes — an undesired electrical discharge that can result in fires and serious harm to people and equipment. To comply with these regulations, Urban is completing an arc flash risk assessment on roadway equipment and facilities statewide for the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT). This is a one of the first large-scale arc flash assessments completed in New Jersey.
The aim of the assessment is to determine if arc flash hazards exist, identify the needed personal protective equipment (PPE), and inform employees about PPE.
NJDOT has a large number of facilities and roadways under its jurisdiction and the exact amount of equipment is unknown, even to the department. This makes the data collection effort associated with the risk studies challenging. Urban is tackling this challenge by providing bi-weekly status updates to NJDOT and working with the department to collect the information as quickly as possible.
Our long-standing relationship with NJDOT — we have provided electrical safety training and engineering services to the department since 1996 — enabled us to create an efficient process to complete the evaluation and collect data quickly. We reviewed NJDOT drawings, databases, and files; visited various sites; and compiled a list of the facilities and equipment for assessment.
We worked with NJDOT to obtain electrical information specific to each piece of equipment. Based on this information, we determined the type of protective equipment that employees need when working near the equipment. Labels are then prepared for all NJDOT equipment that indicate the required PPE for employees to use. We are also preparing a database with information about each piece of equipment and training NJDOT employees to read the PPE labels.
The equipment database and labels we are creating will help keep NJDOT employees safe while they work on and near electrical equipment.