Arc Flash

Arc Flash Labels

Communicating arc flash
hazards can greatly reduce
arc flash dangers.

An arc flash is an undesired release of energy from an electrical system caused by an electrical current leaving its designated path. This current then travels to ground or from one conductor to another through the air. Arc flash temperatures can reach 35,000 degrees and cause life-threatening injuries and catastrophic damage. An arc flash is one of the most dangerous accidents that can occur in a workplace. It’s important to make sure your workers wear arc flash-rated PPE, and that arc flash hazards are properly labeled. Check out our guide for tips on how to protect your facility from arc flash.

Free Arc Flash Labeling E-Book

Free Arc Flash Labeling E-Book

A 19-page guide covering how to correctly label your electrical equipment.

Arc flash labeling made simple with LabelTac® printers.

Print your own durable, indoor/outdoor labels in-house.

The LabelTac® family of industrial label printers makes creating Arc Flash warning labels easy, quick and hassle-free. With the included LabelSuite™ labeling software, visual communication has never been easier.

Use arc flash analysis software to easily perform the proper calculations for your arc flash labels, then the LabelSuite™ Label Assistant can walk you through each step of adding the required information to your labels.

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LabelTac® Pro X Arc Flash Bundle

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LabelTac® Pro X Arc Flash Bundle

Everything you’ll need to start printing Arc Flash safety labels: a LabelTac® Pro X industrial label printer, LabelSuite™ label creation software, ARCAD Arc Flash Software, label supply in a variety of colors and sizes, and print ribbon.

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An introduction to arc flash and how to label your energized equipment according to NFPA 70E, 2015 Revision.

The FREE guide includes:

  • An explanation of the 2015 updates for NFPA 70E labeling requirements
  • Illustrated diagrams of arc flash and shock approach boundaries
  • Sample labels so you can see label format and content
  • Suggestions for printing effective, long-lasting arc flash labels

Arc Flash & Electrical Panel Labels in Action


For more Arc Flash information, please visit the Arc Flash Resource Center.


Understanding Arc Flash

What can cause an Arc Flash?

An arc flash usually occurs when there is inadequate insulation or isolation between electrified conductors. Typically this happens because work is being performed on live or damaged equipment. Additional causes of arc flash are:

  • Dust
  • Dropping tools
  • Accidental touching
  • Condensation
  • Material failure
  • Corrosion
  • Faulty Installation

In this sample label, the incident energy available and the corresponding work distance (Incident Energy at 18" (cal/cm2): 16.4) is used, so the PPE category is not included. If the PPE category (1-4) were included, this incident energy value would be left off the label.


Arc Flash Label Requirements

Much of the information identified during a risk assessment should be placed on arc flash labels. These labels are affixed to electrical equipment that workers might need to perform work on while it is energized. The labels must meet the NFPA 70E requirements and should follow the formatting guidelines set forth in the ANSI Z535.4 Product Safety Signs and Labels standard.

ANSI-compliant hazard labels include “Warning” or “Danger” signal words as a header along with corresponding symbols and text.

These labels must also include several important pieces of information so workers can understand the arc flash hazard present and behave appropriately. First, the nominal system voltage should be listed. Next, the arc flash boundary, calculated during the risk assessment, should be listed. Finally, a statement about PPE should be included that makes it clear to workers what they should wear. This should be done by listing at least one of the following:

   The PPE category OR the incident energy available and the corresponding work distance (but not both)

   The minimum arc rating clothing must have

   PPE specific to the worksite

   The method used for calculating this information should also be documented.

Some workplaces choose to include shock hazard information on these labels as well, which can incorporate information about limited and restricted approach boundaries. An assessment date is often included, too.


Arc Flash Approach / Protection Boundaries

(Updated to reflect 2015 NFPA 70E changes Learn more)

Arc flash boundaries indicate different levels of danger near electrical equipment. The arc flash boundary is the location within which a person could receive second-degree burns. The closer limited approach boundary and restricted approach boundary indicate where increasing risks of electric shock exist. Personnel working near electrified equipment should know where these boundaries are located and what types of personal protective equipment they need to wear within these areas.

Arc Flash Approach

Diagram: Arc Flash Approach / Protection Boundaries. Creative Safety Supply

Restricted Approach Boundary icon

Restricted Approach Boundary

Only Qualified Persons wearing appropriate PPE for the Restricted Approach Boundary, as determined by the Shock Risk Assessment may enter. Must have Energized Electrical Work Permit. (EEWP)

Typical PPE Requirements: Face mask, Flame-resistant gloves, Flame-resistant coveralls, Cotton undergarments

Arc Flash Restricted Approach Boundary
Limted Approach Boundry Icon

Limited Approach Boundary

An unqualified person MAY enter the Limited Approach Boundary, but ONLY if continuously escorted by a Qualified Person, and advised of the potential hazards. Both must be wearing appropriate PPE as determined by a Shock Risk Assessment.

Typical PPE Requirements: Face mask, Flame-resistant gloves, Flame-resistant coveralls, Cotton undergarments

Arc Flash Limited Approach Boundy
Boundry Icon

Arc Flash Boundary

Only Qualified Persons wearing appropriate PPE for the Arc Flash Boundary, as determined by the Incident Energy Risk Assessment may enter.

Typical PPE Requirements: Face mask, Flame-resistant gloves, Flame-resistant coveralls, Cotton undergarments

Arc Flash Boundry

How to get Arc Flash Labels

Two main methods exist for labeling your electrical equipment with arc flash labels. You can print labels in-house with an industrial label printer. With this method, you can edit label information yourself on your computer and quickly print your labels. If you only need a few arc flash labels, it often makes sense to order custom arc flash labels.

Option 1

Print your own labels in-house

  • Starting at $0.86 each label
  • No waiting or shipping costs
  • 5 year outdoor life
Shop Arc Flash Label Printers

Option 2

Print your own labels in-house

  • Starting at $3.90 each label
  • 5 year outdoor life
Purchase pre-made labels

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