Protecting Against Arc Flash Hazards

Protecting Against Arc Flash Hazards

To the lay person, few everyday things are more mysterious than electricity. On the one hand, it is so commonplace that people hardly think about it. On the other hand, it is an incredibly powerful and potentially dangerous force. Arc flash is a case in point, and one that is getting increasing attention from organizations like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Fire Protection Association that regulate and enforce arc flash protection requirements.

An arc flash is the release of energy through the air caused by an electrical fault. In the worst case scenario, it can be caused when someone accidentally makes contact with poorly maintained electrical equipment and it can release dangerous levels of heat, causing severe burns, and a powerful pressure wave that resembles the effects of a small explosion.

Someone is injured or killed in an arc flash incident every day in America, and the cost of treating injuries is in the millions of dollars. The cost of liability associated with those incidents is ten times higher.

Understanding whether an arch flash hazard exists is the first step toward protecting employees and the public. Arc Flash Hazard Analysis studies are the best means of developing that understanding, and we have found that they often reveal that simple improvements can be made to an organizations electrical safety program to improve personnel protection. Things like improving arch flash hazard labeling and ensuring that people have the appropriate personal protective equipment and training when working with electrical equipment make a huge difference.

It’s also critical that only qualified electrical workers are involved in inspections or working on electrical equipment.

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Senior Client Manager
Environmental

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