We’ve broken down a lot of information about the Arc Flash Stickers in the last couple of articles, and I don’t want to say that this article will be the last piece of the puzzle, but it is the last boundary we’ll be discussing. My original goal for these articles was not just to give you information or clear up questions you may have had, but it was to enable you to ask better questions with an informed mindset. When you are more aware of the intricacies of your tasks, you are more prepared for the routine operations and can think more clearly when critical moves need to be made.
The Restricted Approach Boundary is a line that no unqualified person or conductive material should cross. Furthermore, a qualified person is only permitted to within this boundary if one of the following is satisfied:
The qualified person is equipped with the appropriate PPE to insulate them from the energized electrical conductors operating at 50 volts or higher.
The energized circuit parts or conductors are insulated from the qualified person and all other conductive objects brought within the boundary.
You will notice that the idea of separation is crucial here. You want to keep the likelihood of contact with energized parts to the lowest it can be, and using physical barriers is one of the best methods you can use to achieve this goal.
In most cases, your facility or employer will have you complete a form or write out a plan for which you will obtain authorization for the energized work being performed. This will often require you to detail your use of appropriately rated PPE, insulated tools, identification of the stationary insulated barriers, and how they all contribute to performing your tasks.
Think back to a movie where the characters had to suit up before venturing into a restricted area. The environment was dangerous for one reason or another, but the characters had a plan, protection, and used caution as they progressed into the area. More than likely, they were then eaten by some type of extraterrestrial lifeform, but the build-up to your individual tasks should be the same.
You shall be:
Qualified for the task.
Following an approved plan for your work.
Employing the appropriate protective measures.
AND Giving your tasks your full attention.
An Arc Flash Sticker holds a lot of information, and the more you are exposed to this labeling, the easier it will be for you to understand what is required of you as a qualified person. If there are others around you who do not understand the labeling, make sure you share your knowledge with them so that they may work safely around you, and you can trust them not to bother you. Remember, this isn’t a rude sort of action, but your work around energized circuit parts is delicate, and when you have less to worry about outside of your boundaries, you can devote more of your attention and focus on what matters.
If you would like more information on working safely in Arc Flash environments or have questions about risk assessments and the labeling in your facility, give us call.