IEE 1584-2018 – new edition of Arc Flash Calculation Standard means big changes

IEE 1584-2018 – new edition of Arc Flash Calculation Standard means big changes

The new IEEE 1584-2018 Arc Flash Calculation Standard has resulted in wholesale changes to the way Arc Flash calculations are made. Following more than a decade of studies and testing, the new standard was published in November 2018, and has implications for Arc Flash protective garments as well.

What’s new in IEE 1584-2018?

In an interview about the new standard, committee vice-chair Jim Phillips said it was easier to say what was different in version two than what was the same, as almost everything had changed.

In particular, the new standard contains five different types of test, including variations on electrode configurations and on enclosure sizes, as an Arc Flash incident in a confined space can result in more incident energy being focused on the worker – and therefore the need for higher protection ratings – than if there was more space in the working environment.

The calculations are also more robust and cover the full range of low to high voltage equipment, ranging from 204 to 15,000 volts. There are particular refinements to the way low voltage systems are assessed too.

The changes are intended to create more flexibility for modelling different scenarios based on actual equipment, which will result in more accurate information about the potential impact of an Arc Flash incident.

What do you need to do in response to the new standard?

As IEE 1584-2018 is the standard which defines the equations and methods used in many of the arc flash software packages used for risk assessments and the calculations and modelling have “changed dramatically” in the new standard, according to Jim Phillips.

While the process for carrying out an Arc Flash risk assessment remains the same, it’s important companies update their software, models or ways or carrying out calculations so that they get the right results and can specify the right level of protection for their people.

It’s important that you:

  • Update your modelling software
  • Spend time measuring enclosure sizes and types
  • Gather information on your low-voltage systems
  • Engage your people so they understand changes have been made and different working practices or PPE may be necessary

What do the changes mean for Arc Flash protective equipment?

Feedback suggests that there’s no way to predict the changes to scenarios as the complex new modelling methods generate some results which are the same, some which are higher and others which are lower. What’s important, then, is to carry out modelling on your own activities using the new standard’s calculation methods so that you have the most accurate information available.

Specifying the right arc flash garments and PPE is much easier with a detailed understanding of the required incident energy level, and our experts are better placed to advise when given this information. 

With the changes to the modelling methods and more recent changes to the way Arc Flash garments are tested , it’s more important than ever to spend time carrying out the right assessments and then take the advice of experts on what PPE will ensure your team is protected should the worst happen. 

For information about how IEE1584-2018 could impact your activities and required protective equipment, give one of our sector experts a call on +44 (0) 1482 679600.

Make sure that you’re specifying the right PPE for your team.

Read our free guide on the top considerations when choosing Arc Flash clothing & PPE below and make the best choice for you and your team via the link below ⬇.

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