By July 17, 2006, the multiyear initiative by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) had received an initial $1.25 million in contributions from the industry. The purpose of the project, which is titled the Arc Flash Collaborative Research and Testing Project, is to gain understanding of arc flash hazards and how to better protect electrical workers against them.

The first three major donations came from Underwriters Laboratories Inc. ($500,000), Bruce Power ($500,000) and Hydro One Networks Inc. ($250,000). An additional $5 million was needed to reach the project’s goal of $6.25 million.

The need for the initiative was evident in the many reports of arc flash phenomena. The U.S. Department of Labor and Electricite de France, for instance, cite arc flash as causing an inordinate number of electrical worker deaths and serious injuries. One major corporation found that up to 80 percent of its electrical injuries involve thermal burns due to arcing faults.

On Nov. 8, 2006, circuit protector supplier Ferraz Shawmut joined the platinum-level sponsors for the multiyear initiative, bringing the donation total to $1.9 million. Since the project still has a long way to go before it reaches its goal, the IEEE and NFPA are asking electrical utilities, process industries, equipment manufacturers, professional associations, safety-related agencies, insurers and others concerned with the safety of electrical workers to contribute to the project.

For more information or to donate to the IEEE/NFPA Arc Flash Collaborative Research and Testing Project, contact Mark Earley at NFPA by e-mail at mwearley@nfpa.org or by telephone at 617.984.7400 or visit http://standards.ieee.org/esrc/arcflash/index.html.            EC