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What is an Arc Flash?

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An Arc Flash occurs when an electrical discharge travels through the air and releases an intense burst of energy. This flash is capable of causing serious harm to anyone caught by it, so adequate Arc Flash protection is of the utmost importance.

An electric arc, also known as an arc discharge, occurs when an electrical discharge or short circuit moves through the air. Voltage spikes, worn connections, cable strikes or gaps in insulation are just some of the reasons that an Arc Flash occurs. A flash of intense energy is the result.

The energy expelled by an Arc Flash event can be deadly, with temperatures reaching up to 35,000ºF or more than 19,000ºC. It goes without saying; this can burn clothing and human skin within fractions of a second, even if the operative is situated five or six metres away from the Arc Flash event. 

An Arc Flash can result in an explosive pressure wave that can throw workers across the room and a sound blast that can rupture eardrums. It is also accompanied by a bright flash which can cause temporary or even permanent blindness. 

An Arc Flash incident should be recognised as a real danger to your team.

Take a look at this ultra slo-mo film of an Arc Flash incident

 

Next: Why Arc Flash protection?

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