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Safety Labels Arc Flash Labels

Written by Steve Hudgik

Arc Flash Labels & Signs Arc Flash Safety

Arc flash warning label

Arc Flash labels are required by both the NEC 110.16 code and the NFPA 70E 2012 code. The NFPA 70E code applies to arc flash. Labeling arc flash hazard areas is an important component of safety AND should you have an arc flash incident you can expect that a lack of labeling will weigh against you in the following investigation.

What information should be on an arc flash label?NEC Section 110.16 requires that the label state that an arc flash hazard exists. HOWEVER, NFPA 70E requires more information:

  • Available incident energy and corresponding working distance.
  • The highest hazard or risk category (NFPA 70E Table 130.7(C)(15)(a) and Table 130.7(C)(16) for the description of the PPE.
  • The minimum arc rating of required clothing
  • The minimum required level of PPE.

In addition the nominal system voltage and arc flash boundary must be included. Let's take a look at an arc flash label.

In addition to the above, the label may include information about various boundaries. These are:

Flash Protection Boundary

This is the closest anyone can approach the equipment that has the potential for an arc flash, without the use of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).

Limited Shock Approach Boundary

This boundary may only be crossed by a "qualified" person who has been trained in the hazards of the particular component or equipment being services. An "unqualified" person may enter this boundary if accompanied by a qualified person.

Restricted Shock Approach Boundary

Only a qualified person using adequate shock prevention equipment and techniques may cross this boundary.

Orange arc flash label

PPE Required

This part of the label identifies the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that must be used. This includes shoes, gloves, flame resistant clothing, safety glasses, etc.

Arc Flash Label Colors and Design

As you can see from the arc flash labels shown here, a variety of styles are used. The NEC includes an informational note that states that arc flash labels should comply with ANSI Z535. It does not specify whether danger or a WARNING label is should be used. If it is a DANGER label, the color red should be used.

[Note: The solid orange label is no longer code compliant.]

Arc Flash Danger Warning LabelThe example to the left is made from DuraLabel two-color continuous vinyl. In this case the label comes with an orange stripe at the top of the vinyl where a header can be printed. The white area in the middle of the label is used for whatever information the owners of the equipment determine should be on the label.

The label above is an example of an arc flash label made using continuous vinyl. As long as it warns that an arc flash hazard exists (NFPA 70-NEC Section 110.16) it can include any other information.

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