Aftermath of arc flash hazard

by | Oct 2, 2019 | Electrical Safety

Arc flash hazards can result from many factors, such as improper work procedures, dropped tools, accidental contact with electrical systems, build-up of dust and corrosion.

It’s known that arc flash could:

  • Release a very high amount of heat that can cause severe burns, inflammation and death.
  • Cause explosions and spray droplets of melted metal.
  • Produce a blast that can project the worker across the room.
  • Cause hearing loss.

Properly maintained electrical equipment and properly chosen PPE ensure the maximum protection. However, it must be understood that the right choice of PPE doesn’t mean there is no risk of injury. The protective equipment will not necessarily prevent the penetration of the thermal energy, but they will limit the energy level causing second degree burns in the worst case.

This level of energy can melt the undergarments onto the worker’s skin. Therefore, undergarments must be made of non-melting material. However, an incidental amount of these fabrics, such as the elastic bands in underwear is permitted.

Arc-rated closing must fit loosely to provide additional insulation. However, it must not be so loose that it interferes with the employee’s movement.

Arc-rated clothing must cover all body parts and consist of : safety glasses, ear plugs, a balaclava, a hard hat, a face shield, a long-sleeved shirt and pants or a coverall, gloves and leather boots.

Shirt sleeves must be fastened at the wrists and should fit under the gauntlet of the protective glove to minimize the chance that thermal energy could enter. The top button of shirts and/or jackets must be fastened.

Developing and implementing a prevention program according to the new regulations is not easy. But it’s important to take the time and do it to ensure a safe environment for the workers and the public.

To know more about the different categories of arc-rated PPE you can check our blog on the electrical safety: Arc flash PPE.

For more information on maintenance, you can check our blog on the CSA Z463-18 standard.

If you need any help with the consequences of the arc flash, our team will be happy to answer your questions and guide you in your approach.

References:

IEEE 1584-2018 – IEEE Guide for performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations

NFPA 70EHB-18 – Handbook for Electrical Safety in the Workplace

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Intervention Prévention Inc.

Intervention Prévention concentrates its operations in the field of work safety, offering specialized services following Standards CSA Z462 – Workplace Electrical Safety, CSA Z460 – Control of Hazardous Energy: Lock-out and Other Methods, and CSA Z432 – Safeguarding of Machinery.

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