Safety Tip: Arc Flash

Arc flash explosions: What are they? How can you prevent them? Tips:

What is arc flash? It is a voltage breakdown of the resistance of air resulting in an arc which can occur where there is sufficient voltage in an electrical system and a path to ground or lower voltage.

Why it is hazardous? In an arc flash incident, an enormous amount of concentrated radiant energy explodes outward from electrical equipment creating pressure waves that can damage your hearing, knock you off a ladder, and collapse lungs. The pressure waves can also send loose material like pieces of damaged object flying through the air at excess speeds. A high intensity flash that can damage can also occur which will damage your eye site.

What cause arc flash? Occurs when electrical current flows between two or more separated energized conducting surfaces. Common causes could be insulation failure, buildup of dust, equipment failure, human error.

What is your risk to being exposed to arc flash? Exposure depends on number of times workers perform a task involving exposed live equipment, training, skills, tools used.

How can you prevent arc flash injuries? Make sure employees de-energize equipment before working. Employees should not work on live equipment greater than 50 volts. Always follow safe work practices, wear appropriate clothing and use proper tools.