The Schneider Electric North American Operating Division is contributing $500,000 to become a Platinum Level sponsor of the Arc-Flash Collaborative Research Project created by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The donation will help expand the knowledge of the electric arc phenomena and enhance worker safety through advances in the codes and standards relating to safe employee work practices.

“Schneider Electric's contribution toward arc-flash research aligns with its commitment to improving electrical standards and ongoing initiatives to protect worker safety,” said Jim Pauley, vice president, industry and government relations, for Schneider Electric. “We believe this project will produce the data necessary to further our understanding of the arc-flash phenomena, which will help us design safer components and provide better guidelines for safely maintaining electrical equipment.”

An arc flash is an electric current that is passed through air when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is no longer sufficient to withstand the applied voltage. The flash is immediate, and the results can cause severe injury. According to IEEE research, more than 2,000 times per year, workers are admitted to burn centers for treatment of extended injuries caused by arc flash.

Through the research project, the IEEE and the NFPA have joined forces to fund and support research and testing to better define arc flash hazards and protect electrical workers. The results of this collaborative project will provide information to improve electrical safety standards, predict the hazards associated with arching faults and accompanying arc blasts, and provide practical safeguards for employees in the workplace. The multi-year project is estimated to cost $6.5 million.

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