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Exciting news has happened in the world of Arc Flash analysis

By Lee Marchessault - Published on January 30, 2019 3:14 pm

A new version of IEEE 1584 has been released! This new version was about 16 years in the making.  IEEE 1584’s formal title is “IEEE Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations” and is the basis for the equations used in determining incident energy.  IEEE 1584-2002 was the first definitive peer reviewed document on how to calculate incident energy and was based on limited testing and curve fitting equations based on the test results to arrive at 3 equations to determine incident energy.

To develop the new IEEE 1584-2018, much more testing was performed and variables such as electrode configuration and enclosure size were tested.  As a result there are now about 40 equations to determine the incident energy and these equations take into account various fault current levels, electrode configuration and enclosure size.  

Another important change is the exemption in IEEE 1584-2002 for equipment supplied by a transformer less than 125kVA and below 240V.  This has been replaced with an exemption based on current (<2000A) and 240V or less which means that the circuit needs to be modeled and analyzed to determine if these parameters for exemption are met.

What does this mean to facilities that have had an arc flash study already done?

This would be the time to review your present arc flash study to determine the impact of the new equations on the levels of incident energy in your facility.  There may be some significant changes and if there is equipment that was exempted under the previous IEEE 1584 version, this needs to be evaluated as that exemption no longer applies and different PPE is most likely needed.

If your facility is considering an arc flash study, please make sure that your consultant is using IEEE 1584-2018 for the study equations and is following IEEE 1584.1-2013, “IEEE Guide for the Specification of Scope and Deliverable Requirements for an Arc-Flash Hazard Calculation Study in Accordance with IEEE Std 1584”.

WSSI can provide a no cost proposal for an arc flash study utilizing IEEE 1584-2018 and IEEE 1584.1-2013 for your consideration.  Please contact us at

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Written by: Barry Donovan, P.E.

Barry Donovan has been performing arc flash hazard analysis and protection and coordination studies for such diverse industries as hospitals, schools, distilleries/wineries and industrial facilities since 2004. He is a licensed Professional Engineer and the Vice-President of Workplace Safety Solutions, Inc.

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