Jim Phillips

Freelance Writer

Jim Phillips, P.E., founder of www.brainfiller.com and www.ArcFlashForum.com, conducts training programs globally and is the author of the book “Complete Guide to Arc Flash Hazard Calculation Studies.” He is Secretary of the IEEE 1584 Arc Flash Working Group and International Chair of IEC TC78 Live Working.

Articles by Jim Phillips

January 2016
This article is the first in a series that provides a step-by-step approach for performing arc flash calculations.
 Arc flash studies and software
November 2015
“Don’t touch that dial” is an old phrase from the 1960s television era that an announcer would say just before “Batman” or another program cut to a commercial. They would pronounce it so authoritatively that you wouldn’t dare change the channel. READ MORE
September 2015
“Properly” and “Maintained”—these two words always come up when discussing arc flash hazards. Why? Because protective devices such as circuit breakers and relays that have not been properly maintained may not operate as quickly as they should. During an arc flash, a longer duration will result in a greater total incident energy, creating an even greater hazard. 
September 2015
There are many frequently asked questions about performing an arc-flash study (risk assessment) and understanding electrical safety requirements. A careful read of standards such as NPFA 70E or IEEE 1584 can answer some questions. Yet, other questions can be more complex. Gray areas can lead to confusion, second-guessing and wondering how everyone else does it. READ MORE
July 2015
I’ve heard it all before. “What were they thinking when they wrote this standard? If I were them, this is how I would have done it.” When it comes to arc flash and electrical safety standards, complaints, armchair quarterbacking and second-guessing follow as soon as the latest edition comes out. READ MORE
May 2015
“You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” That famous song lyric can be appropriately applied to the 2015 edition of NFPA 70E. What is gone? Zero is no longer one of the hazard/risk categories (HRCs). In fact, HRCs also are gone and have been replaced with personal protective equipment (PPE) categories. And zero is missing from there, too. READ MORE
May 2015
This article expands on “Control the Risk” (ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR, March 2015). It addresses six key areas in the risk-control hierarchy and how each can be used to reduce the risk associated with the arc flash hazard. The hierarchy goes from the most-effective to the least-effective control methods. Elimination is ranked first, and PPE is ranked last.
May 2015
More than a century ago, two giants in the fledgling electrical power industry battled it out for supremacy. The conflict, sometimes referred to as “The War of the Currents,” would define whether electric power systems would use alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC). Thomas Edison was well-known for his Pearl Street generating station in New York City, which was based on DC. READ MORE
March 2015
Electrical systems have posed hazards since they were introduced more than 100 years ago. Although evaluating these hazards and identifying the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is a major task of electrical safety programs, the risk associated with the hazards is frequently overlooked. It’s more than just the hazard READ MORE