An Introduction to Arc Flash Safety

Electrical Engineering, Engineering Studies

We have the experience and expertise to provide end-to-end solutions that minimize or eliminate the risk to personnel and equipment imposed by this powerful phenomena.

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We’ve been driving cars for over 100 years, but wearing seatbelts only for the last 30.


Similarly, electrical systems have been part of industry for years, but only recently have we begun to deal with the specific hazard of arc flash. Magna IV Engineering has a thorough understanding of the technical and practical challenges involved with electrical safety and arc flash. We have the experience and expertise to provide end-to-end solutions that minimize or eliminate the risk to personnel and equipment imposed by this powerful phenomena.

What is an Arc Flash?

An arc flash is the result of a rapid release of energy due to a short circuit through the air. Superheated air turns into highly conductive plasma, helping to sustain the arc, and leading to:

  • Heat, up to 20,000°C (35,000°F)

  • Sound, can exceed 160dB

  • Shrapnel, can exceed 1,100km/h (700mph)

  • Concussive shockwave, can exceed 50,000N/m2


An arc flash can burn and vaporize bus bars and devastate everything in its path.

In general, arc flash current is lower than the available bolted fault current. If circuit breakers are not set to handle the arc flash current, these devices will not trip during an arc flash fault thus allowing the arc flash forces to occur.

Responding to the Risk

In the past, industry saw the risk of arc flash as an unavoidable part of working with electrical systems. Today, with higher safety standards and more effective mitigation strategies, we study, assess and take measures to increase awareness and reduce or ideally eliminate the risk or hazard.

Standards for Electrical Safety in the Workplace

  • NFPA 70E - USA

  • CSA Z462 - CAN

These standards cover the entire range of electrical safety issues from work practices and maintenance to special equipment requirements and installation.

A Comprehensive Approach to Arc Flash Safety

Power System Coordination Study
Coordinate and optimize the protective devices in your power system.


Arc Flash Study
Quantify the risk. Determine the incident energy levels across power system components.


Arc Flash Mitigation

Minimize the risk. Update electrical single-line diagrams; Develop or adopt a regular electrical maintenance program; Upgrade electrical equipment; Update workplace safety program and procedures; Display proper equipment labels; Use required PPE; Train personnel for electrical safety.


Arc Flash & Electrical Safety Training
Teach the standard work practices, guidelines and tools to meet common electrical hazards, as well as arc flash.

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