Arc flash: $6.5 million in research, testing

To help reduce 2,000-plus arc flash injuries per year, Schneider Electric donates $500,000 to IEEE and NFPA research.


Palatine, IL – The multi-year, $6.5 million Arc Flash Collaborative Research Project aims to expand the knowledge of the electric arc phenomena and enhance worker safety through advances in the codes and standards relating to safe employee work practices. The effort, by the

Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE)

and the

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)

, received a boost with a late February $500,000 donation from the

Schneider Electric

North American Operating Division. (Schneider Electric brands include Square D .)

Arc flash occurs when an electric current passes through air after insulation or isolation between electrified conductors no longer can withstand the applied voltage. The flash is immediate and can cause severe injury. IEEE says more than 2,000 times per year workers are admitted to burn centers for treatment of extended injuries caused by arc flash.

IEEE and NFPA joined forces to fund and support research and testing to better define arc flash hazards and protect electrical workers. Resulting information will be used to improve electrical safety standards, predict the hazards associated with arcing faults and accompanying arc blasts, and provide practical safeguards for employees in the workplace.

“We are very excited to welcome Schneider Electric as a sponsor of the Arc Flash project,” said Sue Vogel, director, Technical Committee Programs for the IEEE Standards Association. “Its contribution will help speed the work of this project and ensure a solution that will help save lives.”

“Schneider Electric’s contribution toward Arc Flash research aligns with its commitment to improving electrical standards and ongoing initiatives to protect worker safety,” said Jim Pauley, vice president, industry and government relations for Schneider Electric. “We believe this project will produce the data necessary to further our understanding of arc flash phenomena, which will help us design safer components and provide better guidelines for safely maintaining electrical equipment.”

— Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief
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