Safety on Our Employees


Arc-Flash Hazards and Electrical Safe Work Practices

This position paper is written to provide guidance to members whose employees are engaged in work in the elevator industry that might expose them to arc-flash hazards, and to assist members in complying with applicable OSHA and NFPA standards.

As recommended in NFPA 70E, NEII® commissioned an Arc-Flash Hazard Analysis (in compliance with Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) Standard 1584-2002 for procedures for calculating the incident energy of the arc-flash) by an independent consultant to determine at what level an arc flash hazard existed to employees who work on energized elevator equipment.

Based on the Arc-Flash Hazard Analysis, no energized control cabinet had an arc flash boundary greater than 9 in. All control panels studied had arc flash incident energy less than 1.2 cal/cm2 at a distance of 18 in. from the energized electrical components. Assuming that the mainline disconnect is properly fused, any potential arc-flash hazard to employees is primarily to the hands and arms

The surest means of avoiding an arc-flash hazard is to lock-out and tag-out the electrical service to a controller. As stated in Section 7 of the Elevator Industry Field Employees' Safety Handbook, "unless it is not feasible, (i.e.: inspecting; troubleshooting; observing; etc.) employees shall not perform any work on equipment where there is a potential to come in contact with energized mechanical or electrical hazards until all sources of energy have been de-energized, grounded or guarded." If the equipment must remain energized to perform work, effective insulation and safe electrical working practices should be observed. Described below are several work practices that may be used to reduce arc-flash hazards when working on energized equipment:

  • Guarding: - Where feasible, install temporary guarding when necessary to avoid a risk of inadvertent contact.
  • Fuses: - If necessary, verify that the correct size, type and capacity are installed.
  • Personal Protective Equipment: - Use appropriate PPE to protect body parts within 18 inches from components that are not otherwise guarded. Examples of PPE that may be appropriate are:
    • non-conductive eye protection;
    • clean, leather gloves or arc rated gloves;
    • natural-fiber or FR-rated shirts and pants, or long-sleeved FR-rated coveralls or other company-approved arc-flash-hazard protection

  • Metallic Articles: - Remove metal articles such as watches, chains, bracelets, earrings, belt buckles and key chains before troubleshooting. See Section 3 of the Elevator Industry Field Employees' Safety Handbook.
  • Instruments: - Use category III, 1000 V multi-meters or company approved test instruments and be familiar with use and limitations. Follow manufacturer's instructions and precautions.
  • Lockout/Tagout: - When troubleshooting is complete and further work can be accomplished without the equipment being energized, follow the lockout/tagout procedures in Section 7 of the Elevator Industry Field Employees Safety Handbook before commencing repairs or service work.
  • Special Conditions: - Troubleshooting in wet, hot, or cold conditions calls for extra caution. Hazards created by water, snow, or condensation in the work area can cause slips, falls, and accidental contact. Don't troubleshoot unless you can keep your shoe/ boot soles dry.
  • Main Line Disconnect: - DO NOT OPEN THE MAIN-LINE DISCONNECT SWITCH COVER. If power is not being supplied to the elevator controller (e.g. open main-line fuses, etc.), advise the building owner to correct the condition. This is not the elevator company's responsibility.


The NEII Field Employee Safety Committee is responsible for maintaining this position paper. This position paper shall be in effect for three (3) years from the date of approval by the committee.

APPROVED: November 29, 2006
REVISED: October 15, 2015


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