Arc Flash / Global Harmonized Systems (GHS) Training Seminar at IDG


supports National Electrical Month! Guest speakers from Brady and Salisbury, by Honeywell, joined Industrial Distribution Group in Belmont, NC to train customers on Arc Flash protection and new GHS standards. We strive to provide a safer work environment for our customers and their employees, not only with the products we sell, but also through education. For additional information on how your company can take part in one of our training seminars, please contact Gloria Greene, IDG Safety Product Manager, at 704.398.5787.


The first presentation, by Salisbury, delivered an overview on changes to NFPA 70E. In 2012, the NFPA released the 9th Edition of the 70E standard for electrical safety in the workplace based on the 2011 NFPA 70 (NEC) Code. This video shows a snippet of his presentation and gives you some great insight into what Arc Flash actually is.


What is NPFA 70E?
NPFA 70E establishes electrical safety requirements for employees in the workplace. It identifies proper PPE when working “live” or when LOTO is not possible and it addresses 3 hazards: shock, Arc Flash, and blast. It also specifies the requirements for shock and arc flash boundaries, and for personal protective equipment.

What are the Hazards?
There are 3 types of arc flash. The first is electrical shock, which happens when electrical current enters and exits the body creating a path. The second is a flash which is a dangerous condition associated with the release of energy caused by an electric arc. Note that this explosive condition includes a broad spectrum of electromagnetic energy, plasma, fragments and a spray of molten materials. The third is an arc blast, or a pressure wave caused by the expansion of gases and conducting materials with flying molten materials.


Who is Required to do What?
  • NFPA 70E 3-1 General: employees working in areas where there are electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, protective equipment that is designed and constructed for the specific part of the body to be protected and for the work performed.
  • OSHA 1910.335 – Safeguards for personal protection: (a) Use of protective equipment. (1) Personal protective equipment. (i) Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with, and shall use, electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed.

If proper safety measures are not followed then the company may be given a fine by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). There are 4 criteria required for OSHA to issue a fine:

NFPA-70-Img1. It must be a Recognized Standard In Industry. LOTO, fall protection, and NFPA 70E are all recognized standards in the industry.
2. Serious injury, or death, could occur if not followed.
3. Degree burns, life altering scenarios and death are all highly possible if NFPA 70E is not followed. Any employee with a multi-meter (testing), energizing, de-energizing, or working live (hot) would be at risk.
4. No abatement method, such as PPE, Tools or Equipment, is provided, that can negate or “abate” the hazard.

Failing to comply with OSHA standards can be very costly. A study by the Electrical Power Research Institute estimated direct costs to an employer from a fatal electrical accident at $1.3 million, with indirect costs adding another $2 to $8 million. Unfortunately, many employers are unaware of the risk, and many more have not implemented important safety procedures and devices to protect their workers. It is estimated that there are over 1,700 Arc Flash Incidents in the US each year.

Requirements for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Flame-resistant (FR) clothing and PPE shall be used by the employee based upon the incident energy exposure associated with the specific task. FR clothing includes Flash suits (for high-energy arc exposure) and Flash suit hoods. Other required PPE clothing items are insulating gloves and insulated tools.
* All of these PPE garments should be worn in addition to normally used hard hats, safety shoes, safety glasses, and hearing protection.



The second presentation, given by Brady, was on the New Globally Harmonized Systems. GHS is an international regulation that the United Nations (UN) has created for Classification and Labeling of Hazardous Chemicals. OSHA published an updated Hazard Communication Standard in March, 2012. This training helped customers to understand the new GHS label elements, identified the new GHS pictorials, and interpreted the new GHS data sheets, formally known as MSDS sheets.

The next video, showing part of the Brady presentation, clarifies what GHS is and explains who will be affected by the new standards.


New GHS communication standards require a comprehensive hazard evaluation and communication process. They insure that hazards of all chemicals are evaluated, create awareness of chemical hazards and provide necessary protective measures to employees. Chemical manufacturers and importers must develop and provide a container label and a Safety Data Sheet (SDS). Employers with employees exposed to hazardous chemicals must develop a hazard communication program including: labels, access to SDSs and training on the workplace hazardous chemicals.

The current HCS establishes requirements for minimum information that must be included on labels and SDSs, but does not provide specific language to convey the information or a format in which to provide it.

The impact that GHS will have for U.S. businesses:

  • 880,000 hazardous chemicals are currently used in the U.S.
  • Hazard Communication affects 43 million American workers in over 5 million workplaces.
  • GHS will prevent 500 injuries/illnesses and 43 lives per year, equaling a total of $250 million in reduced health and safety risks.
  • Costs per year will total $201 million dollars to comply with revisions to
    the HCS.
  • Future net benefits are estimated at $556 million dollars per year.

Timetable of implementation:

  • All employees must be trained by December 1, 2013.
  • There must be full compliance by chemical manufacturers and mixers by June 1, 2015.
  • Non-GHS labeling will be obsolete for chemical manufacturers, mixers and distributors by December 2015.
  • Full GHS compliance in all areas, including workplace containers, must be in effect by June 6, 2016.

IDG offers products and training tools to help reach these goals:

IDG Brings the Classroom to You! Take part in our personalized training, in your own facility, by knowledgeable IDG associates. Contact Gloria Greene at 704.398.5787, to schedule an education seminar.

If you prefer to do your own homework, click here to order our implementation and preparedness kit.