Arc Flash Safety
Since electrical workers can become victims of major short circuits called arc blasts, they have to be aware of basic arc flash safety tips. Arcs can emit temperatures that may reach 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit and cause severe electrical burns. Strict safety regulations and preventive measures are the only ways to prevent arc flashes that may lead to great tragedies.
Causes of Arc Flashes
The electrical currents coming from an arc flash may continue to move freely in the air whenever conductors are exposed to other conductors that may attract huge amounts of current. Since the paths of arc blasts are highly unpredictable, a person exposed to this phenomenon may incur numerous injuries and electrical burns.
An arc flash may happen when conductive objects are placed near exposed conductors. Dropped tools may also cause sparks that may lead to arc blasts. Arc flash safety measures also mention the importance of inspecting old electrical tools with bad parts or worn out wires. Electrical equipment that is not adequately insulated can also cause uncontrollable current jumps or arc blasts.
Injuries From Arc Blasts
An arc flash is very harmful because of the intense degrees of temperature it produces. With 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, it can become four times hotter than the suns surface temperature is. Severe burns are common injuries that can also affect people who are not near the arc flash hazard. When the electrical current jumps, it may also cause extremely bright flashes of light that can temporarily or permanently damage eyesight.
Arc Flashes And Safety Regulations
Due to the severe injuries caused by arc blasts, arc flash safety measures were implemented to uphold the well-being of electrical workers. In fact, the Safety and Health Administration already came up with rules and regulations that can change the working conditions of electrical workers for the better. Employers who fail to comply with the rules implemented by OSHA receive citations or pay huge fines.
Today, employers of electrical workers are already required to conduct arc flash analysis in order to check how much thermal energy can be produced within the workplace. The results of their analysis will determine the particular amount of heat-resistant clothing that they should provide their workers. It also sets the boundaries between workers and potential sources of harmful arc flashes.
Employees also need to conduct electrical safety training before hiring workers. They also oblige potential employees to complete courses about appropriate welding procedures and numerous safety issues. Every welder also needs to know how to calculate the degree of arc flash hazards when they are working in both high and low voltages.
Preventive Measures And Work Practices
Arc flash safety measures also emphasize the need to de-energize electrical equipment before beginning work. Every employee needs to understand the importance of not working on live equipment that can emit greater than 50 volts unless it is impractical because of the equipment operation limitations or design. This involves voltage tests that are used for diagnostic purposes.
When workers have no choice but to work on energized equipment, they need to follow the arc flash safety measures recommended by the Safety and Health Administration. However, they need to strictly follow safe work practices that involve risk assessment, properties, and protective equipment.
Proper work practices can prevent an electrical arc flash and protect workers during events of incidents. The use of personal protective equipment such as flame-resistant clothing, face shield, helmet, insulating gloves, and safety gloves is only one of the most important rules that electrical workers should follow. For additional precautions, they also need to follow standardized work procedures, obey warning labels, and perform certain tasks that they are qualified to do.
These are only some of the most effective ways to prevent arc blasts that may lead to severe injuries and casualties. As long as electrical workers and employers are following arc flash safety measures, they can protect themselves from health problems and potential tragedies caused by arc blasts.