Ask the Expert, Equipment and Machinery Safety

Ask the Expert: Arc Flash Warning Signs

In our latest installment of Ask the Expert, brought to you by the team of industry experts at EHS Hero®, we look at a recent question from a subscriber asking about the guidelines for arc flash warning signs. See what the experts had to say.

Q: What are the specific guidelines for arc flash warning signs, such as dimensions, size, color, etc.? Any guidance on where to get them? They are for use in several states.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) electrical safety rule does not specifically mention arc flash hazards or include any requirements for arc flash warning signs. However, 29 CFR 1910.303(e) states that electric equipment may not be used unless the following markings have been placed on the equipment:

  • The manufacturer’s name, trademark, or other descriptive marking that identifies the organization responsible for the product, and
  • Other markings showing voltage, current, wattage, or other ratings as necessary

These markings must be durable enough to withstand the environment the equipment is located in.

Additionally, under 29 CFR 1910.335(b), OSHA requires employers to use “alerting techniques,” including safety signs and tags, to warn and protect employees from hazards (e.g., electric arc flash hazards) that could cause injury due to electric shock, burns, or failure of electric equipment parts, as required by 29 CFR 1910.145.

Additionally, although it is not enforced by OSHA, OSHA considers the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E consensus standard for electrical safety in the workplace to be a recognized industry standard and may use it as a reference when inspecting an employer’s electrical safety program. Consult the NFPA 70E standard to see requirements for arc flash warnings on certain types of electrical equipment.

Although we do not have any specific recommendations for where to purchase signs, an internet search for industrial safety signs should help you locate some options that meet the necessary specifications.