How often is arc flash training required?

You might think that the answer to the question, how often is arc flash training required, is relatively straightforward but in all honesty, it is not.

Sure, if you want to assume you can just satisfy the absolute minimum requirement and ignore all the caveats that surround it… then your answer is every 3 years.

But, if you’ve given it as much thought I as have and want to make sure that the training is effective… then it get’s a bit more complicated.

In this article I want to share some of my thoughts around the frequency of arc flash training and also the different types of training you should have in your mix.

Let’s start with the minimum

The first thing to understand is that “arc flash” training, by itself would not meet the minimum requirements.

Someone who is working with electricity needs to understand both of the hazards (shock and arc flash) so we really should be talking about “electrical safety” training…

Now, the standards call for retraining at intervals that do not exceed 3 years… but there are certain things that could warrant retraining sooner than this. These are as follows:

  • the supervisor finds that the worker(s) are not complying with the training;

  • you’ve installed new technology or equipment that the worker(s) are unfamiliar with;

  • the worker(s) haven’t completed that particular task in more than a year;

  • the worker(s) are required to do something they are unfamiliar with; and

  • the worker(s) are asked to do a new job they haven’t done before.

This is the minimum… which after looking at it raises a lot more questions (like how the heck am I going to do that?)… then the very simplistic answer of every 3 years.

What arc flash training will stick?

You can see that arc flash training might be a bit more involved then you originally thought… but don’t let that discourage you… it’s just that you need to change your mind set as to what training is needed and why.

Basically the worker(s) need to know:

  • What are the hazards?;

  • How do they happen?;

  • What tasks and jobs do I do that puts me at risk?;

  • What can I do about it?

So when you are choosing your training and material you need to think about these things…

Going to a one-day seminar will be effective… but three years later will it still be fresh in their minds?

Unlikely…

So how do you make it stick?

Repetition

The question we really need to be asking is this:

“How often is arc flash training required, so the worker(s) know it inside out?”

This is the key… traditional arc flash training doesn’t consider the fact that the worker(s) are probably only going to retain 20-30% of the content delivered in a day… and forget most of it by the next week.

This is why the frequency needs to be way higher… like every 2 weeks higher.

You think we should train our workers every 2 weeks?

I think you should train them every day.

Now, I don’t mean higher a professional trainer and have the entire crew away from work every day… what I mean is that training is way more effective if delivered in small doses when it is applicable.

Today, you have access to all kinds of video and online tools that can help with this training.

You could start doing job briefings before each task to help “train” people right before they do a task.

You could send daily email reminders with quick 2 minute lessons attached (I mean, everybody has there phones on them right?)…

The sky is the limit.

Arc flash training does not need to be reserved to a 3 year ritual… while those sessions are important, they do wear off.. so you need to think of ways that you can integrate more training, more frequently and make sure all your workers know this stuff inside and out.