An arc flash is an electrical short circuit that starts from an exposed live conductor and then travels through the air until it reaches another conductor or the ground. When it occurs, the result is a bright light and intense heat.
According to a report published in Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, it’s estimated that, on average, there are 30,000 arc flash incidents every year. The report further shows that those incidents resulted in average annual totals of 7,000 burn injuries, 2,000 hospitalizations, and 400 fatalities per year.
In this post, we’ll cover the basics of arc flashes, explain how they are caused and what you can do to implement practical arch flash training in your organization.
Causes of arc flashes
An arch flash often occurs when equipment isn’t properly de-energized. In some cases, an arc flash may be caused when an employee bypasses safety procedures or by any of the reasons below:
- Worn or broken conductor insulation
- Exposed live parts
- Loose wire connections
- Improperly maintained switches and circuit breakers
- Obstructed disconnect panels
- Water or liquid near electrical equipment
- High voltage cables
- Static electricity
- Damaged tools and equipment
The intense heat from an arc flash causes a rapid expansion of material, which can lead to third-degree burns as well as other severe injuries such as blindness, hearing loss, nerve damage, and cardiac arrest.
Fatal burns from arc flashes can occur at a distance of just 10 feet and staged tests have shown temperatures greater than 437°F (225°C) on the neck and hands of a person standing close to an arc blast.
Also, because the droplets of molten metal travel at high speed, the pressure on the chest can be higher than 2000 lbs/sq. ft., resulting in clothing to be ignited.
Arc Flash Training Safety and Prevention
Arc flash training must be performed to avoid the potential of injury. Providing proper safety training will also ensure that your maintenance staff follows the right safety procedures at all times.
The Simutech Training System helps reduce the risk of arc flash injury by training staff to ﬁnd solutions to a variety of electrical problems. It also measures the performance of each employee as they use the system, assessing whether or not they are ready to troubleshoot in a live environment.