Philippine Electrical Code – Arc-Flash Hazard Warning Requirement

arc-flash equipment label

1. Arc-Flash Hazard Warning

The requirement of arc-flash hazard warning in the Philippine electrical Code 2017 is stipulated in Section 1.10.17 Arc-Flash Hazard Warning.

This section of the PEC requires switchboards, panelboards, motor control centers, and other equipment to be individually field marked with proper warning labels to raise the level of awareness of electrical arc flash hazards and thereby decrease the number of accidents that result when maintenance personnel do not wear the proper type of protective clothing when working on "hot" or energized equipment.

2. Electrical Equipment Required to have Arc-Flash Hazard Warning

Electrical workers responsible for the installation or maintenance of electrical equipment, as accident reports continue to confirm, do not usually turn off the power source before working on electrical equipment. Working on energized electrical equipment is a major safety concern in the electrical industry. The main purpose of this requirement is to alert electrical contractors, electricians, facility owners and managers, and other interested parties to some of the hazards when personnel are exposed to energized electrical conductors or circuit parts and to emphasize the importance of turning off the power before working on electrical circuits. This section of the PEC does not apply to equipment in "dwelling units."

However, dwelling occupancies include multifamily dwellings, which include multiple dwelling units. A large multifamily dwelling could have the same electric service as a commercial office building. The intent is to provide warnings to electrical personnel working on these larger services. The Fine Print Notes are not mandatory. Employers can be assured that they are providing a safe workplace for their employees if safety-related work practices required by NFPA 70E have been implemented and are being followed.

3. Qualified Person

It is also important to note that this section of the PEC is very specific on

... to warn qualified persons of potential electric arc flash hazards...

As per the PEC, a Qualified Person is one who has skills and knowledge related to the construction and operation of the electrical equipment and installations and has received safety training to recognize and avoid the hazards involved.

4. Enforcement

Despite this provision in the PEC, who will ensure that arc-flash hazard warning labels are enforced? In Section (B), the Office of the Building Official/EE shall have the responsibility of implementing the provisions of this Code.

I have reservations on this enforcement of this provision. Without the political will of the local government to PROPERLY TRAIN the Office of the Building Official/EE, then this requirement may be missed out during inspection.

To my fellow Electrical Engineers practicing in the Philippines, we should be vigilant that the Philippine Electrical Code provisions are properly enforced.