Arc flash training is an important part of the safety measures an industrial company will need to take for the protection of their employees and their facilities.
Arc flash training is regulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following the general electrical safety guidelines of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and state regulations.
What is an arc flash?
An arc flash occurs when electrical energy is released through the air in a high-voltage environment, similar to lightning. The electricity can flow uncontrollably until it is interrupted by a circuit breaker or fuse. While the flash is extremely fast, its effects can be massive and even fatal.
Arc flash is usually caused by insulation failure, resulting in electricity flowing uncontrollably, creating a bright flash of light, followed by a loud exploding sound. The heat it releases can be so intense, even reaching 30,000 degrees Fahrenheit, that it can instantly cause burns and even ignite clothing. In extreme cases, arc flashes can cause metals to liquefy, or tools and other objects to fly because of extreme pressure, causing even greater hazards. Radiation burns can occur, since an enormous amount of radiant energy will explode outward from the malfunctioning electrical equipment.
Given these problems, you can see why there giving arc flash prevention training is important.
Why is there a need for arc flash training?
Arc flash training should not be given to employees simply to meet the minimum requirements given by the government for an industrial company to continue their operations. Over 80% of electricity-related injuries in the workplace actually involve arc flash, which is why there is a need for companies to make their employees undergo arc flash prevention training. This is particularly important, especially since malfunctions in equipment, inadequate safety measures, wrong use of tools, and simple carelessness can cause arc flashes. Giving them arc flash training will prevent these injuries and accidents from occurring.
Arc flash training is especially important in workplaces where the risk of electrical shocks and the presence of hazards are high.
What is involved in arc flash training?
Arc flash training is more than just about giving instructions in how to prevent arc flashes from happening. Listed below are some of the things that should be included in arc flash training.
* Arc flash prevention training should include a thorough explanation about the phenomenon of arc flash and an in-depth discussion about arc flash hazard analysis to make workers understand what its really about.
* The types of injuries that are associated with arc flashes and other types of electrical problems in the industrial setting should be included in arc flash training.
* Arc flash training should also include instructions in how to use the proper tools and equipment safely and effectively.
* Arc flash training should also emphasize the need for the use of arc flash personal protective equipment (PPE) in the workplace, especially since there are specific kinds of garments that can provide protection in case arc flashes occur. Raingear, winter wear, and even underwear are prescribed by the NFPA to increase the chances of survival in case arc flashes occur in the workplace. It is important for those who are giving the arc flash training to impress upon the workers about the need to wear arc flash gear, because a lot of them assume that the prescribed clothes aren’t needed, and as a result, are caught unprepared when arc flashes occur.
In essence, arc flash training should also help the workers evaluate their workplace so that they will be able to correctly identify and respond to any hazards that may occur.
Who gives arc flash training?
Arc flash training is usually not given by someone from the company. Instead, it is given by specialists, such as electricians, technicians, and contractors.
The content, modules, and training materials that will be given and used in arc flash training will depend on who the company will hire to give the training in the first place. Some instructors of arc flash training may use videos and other interactive materials to teach workers about the safety procedures and measures they will need to observe while in the workplace.
Other safety measures
As the employer, it is your responsibility to see to the welfare and safety of your employees and the place where they are working in. Providing arc flash training is not enough, particularly for industrial settings that have a lot of hazards. Don’t just follow these measures, such as giving arc flash prevention training, to meet the minimum requirements of regulatory boards. Provide them with the proper gear to protect them in case arc flashes or other incidents happen. Make sure that routine inspection and maintenance of the equipments and tools are held regularly to make sure that these are still safe for use. Hire experts to make a detailed assessment about the facilities to evaluate whether there are areas that may compromise safety. Put up warning labels in areas or equipment which need workers to follow specific instructions in order to use these properly, or to prevent them from entering hazardous areas if they are not wearing the proper gear. Arc flash training is just the first step you will need to take to make sure that the facilities are safe for everyone. It is only with the combined efforts of the employers and the employees will the hazards in the workplace be limited to a minimum.