An arch flash refers to a air based short circuit which occurs when electrified conductors are incapable of withstanding the voltage running through them. Workers who happen to be near the conductors or working near them can cause a phase to ground or phase to phase fault via contact.
The temperature of an arc flash can reach 5000°F which is accompanied by a blinding flash of light and a loud explosion. The huge amount of energy that is generated explodes from the electrical equipment it originates from. The impact can result in:
- The spread of hot gases
- Severe radiation burns
- Damaged hearing
- Damaged brain function.
- Damaged eyesight
The pressure wave that is generated from the blast can also set loose material flying onsite such as tools, heavy equipment and other objects that can be lethal on impact. Additional injuries may result from contact with vaporized metal that can land on anyone who is standing near the flash.
Lung tissue can also get damaged from the release of hot gases and which can take months to heal. Mentally, injured workers can go into depression and be apprehensive about their jobs as well.
The main causes of an arc flash include but are not limited to:
- Dust, corrosion and other impurities on the surface of the conductor
- Accidental contact with energized parts or a high amp source
- Material failure
- Incorrect installation
- Equipment failure due to low quality parts or wear/tear.
- Gaps and breaks in insulation
How workers can remain safe
Arc flashes is more than the movement of electricity. It can lead to an explosion or cause electricity to move through the body of workers as they come in contact with it. This can lead to organ failure. The best way to ensure this does not happen is to educate workers about the dangers.
Proper training can ensure they avoid putting themselves in dangerous situations
which will in turn reduce arc flashes significantly. For instance, workers should be trained to read over electrical distribution system documents of any equipment or machinery they are working with.
Plus, they should also be aware of the dangers of energized equipment and the necessity for proper power down procedures prior to maintenance/repair work. If there isn’t an electrical current running through the machine, employees can work safely.
However, in some cases, they may not be able to turn off a device to reduce its risk due to operational concerns. In such cases, workers should be aware of the necessary steps they should follow when it comes to handling such equipment.
This includes an understanding of the warning labels which should be legible and easy to read. Workers should also be equipped with protective clothing to ensure they do not get electrocuted. They should also be trained to inspect machinery before starting work on it to ensure active parts are fully functional and to eliminate potential issues.
NFPA 70E – Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace
As a field supervisor or employer, one of your duties is to ensure the workers under your care have everything they need to ensure their health and safety on the job.
360Training.com’s NFPA 70E training for electrical safety in the workplace
is designed to ensure this. The course covers onsite electrical issues that can turn into hazards and also explores the connection between the standard and OSHA standards. This also includes a detailed review of the importance of the electrical standards and workplace safety in general.
The course is self paced and designed to be taken online so you can plan it according to your convenience. Opt for a holistic approach as well by signing up for 360Training.com’s Construction Industry Outreach program, comprehensive safety program designed for anyone who is involved in the industry. Opt for the 30 hour or 10 hour course as per requirements.
OSHA is diligent when it comes to the safety of industrial workers. Sign up for any of the courses today before it is too late.