Code requirements for arc flash reduction

NEC 240.87 is an important leap in arc flash safety for the electrical industry. This is a recap of an Eaton-sponsored webcast on April 24, which highlighted the 2014 standard.


Arc flash incidents occur all too often and can impact many lives. To address this problem in the industry, electrical engineers turn to codes and standards. In a 10-year study of 120,000 workers, there were 125 injuries, as a result of arc flash, per year. Seventy-seven percent of these injuries were due to electrical arc, and 21% of these injuries resulted in permanent disabilities, according to speaker Jim Dollard, safety coordinator, IBEW Local 98. These statistics, Dollard said, demonstrate the importance of preventing and protecting one's employees from arc flash.

During the April 24 presentation, Dollard, who originally proposed NEC Section 240.7, shared his vision of workplace safety and the National Electric Code (NEC). He explained how Section 240.87 is paramount to those who work in and around electrical equipment. “In 2014 we have tremendous clarity,” he said in regards to the now more protective and proactive code standards.

The new code requirements for NEC 2014 Section 240.87 state: 

  • Documentation. Documentation shall be available to those authorized to design install, operate, or inspect the installation as to the location of the circuit breaker(s).
  • Method to Reduce Clearing Time. One of the following or approved equivalent means shall be provided:
    1. Zone-selective interlocking
    2. Differential relaying or
    3. Energy-reducing maintenance switching with local status indicator or
    4. Energy-reducing active arc flash mitigation system or
    5. An approved equivalent means.

In addition to Dollard, speaker Thomas Domitrovich, PE, LEED AP, Eaton, presented various arc reduction technologies and their appropriate application selection criteria. Speaker Ken White, a retired electrical engineer, Olin Chlor-Alaki, recounted a personal experience with a near arc flash disaster and how technology played an important role in maintaining safety in his facility.

View the full, on-demand hour-long Webcast and extended Q&A in early May. You can also join the discussion about this webcast on Twitter at #CSEarcreduction.

The Webcast speakers were Thomas Domitrovich, PE, LEED AP, Eaton, Pittsburgh; Ken White, retired, Olin Chlor-Alaki, Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and Jim Dollard, safety coordinator, IBEW Local 98, Philadelphia. The Webcast moderator was Jack Smith, content specialist, CFE Media.

- Edited by Jessica DuBois-Maahs, associate content manager, CFE Media.

VICTOR , NY, United States, 07/01/14 04:07 PM:

Thanks for a great, informative presentations.
Safety is the only real choice.
Vic Velez
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