8 things industry professionals need to know about Arc Flash

8 things industry professionals need to know about Arc Flash

From what causes Arc Flash to how you can protect your teams

In modern industry, it’s now a widely acknowledged fact that Arc Flash incidents are a major hazard in the workplace. However, it’s one thing to know that in the abstract, but what does it mean in practice? What is Arc Flash and how can you and protect yourself and your team?

1. What causes an Arc Flash?

An Arc Flash is essentially the release of explosive energy when an electrical fault causes an arc. This can happen if a short circuit occurs, for instance.

2. How hot are Arc Flashes?

The initial energy explosion from an Arc Flash can release heat that is over 36,000ºF – or four times hotter than the sun.

3. How powerful is an Arc Flash?

An Arc Flash is not simply bursts of intense heat and light it is also incredibly powerful. Think of it in these terms – during an Arc Flash incident, copper expands at 67,000 times its volume. That’s not something to be trifled with.

4. Continuous industries are especially at risk

Industries at most risk of Arc Flash incidents are generally those in continuous use. If an environment operates with large transformers then you should be aware of Arc Flash risks and protect yourself and your team appropriately.

5. Workforces must be educated

If you’re operating in an industry at risk of Arc Flash, you should be appropriately trained in Arc Flash safety. A key part of this is knowing the PPE you need to wear, including any specialist Arc Flash and Flame Resistant garments, and wearing them when necessary.

6. Pay attention to Arc Flash labels

Equipment which may cause an Arc Flash should be well labelled to highlight how far a worker should stay from the equipment to avoid the risk of severe burns. However, this distance is no substitute for proper PPE.

7. Equipment is developed to avoid disasters

As knowledge of Arc Flash incidents and preventative measures grow, machinery and working practices have developed to further limit the risk of Arc Flash hazards. Even so, to ensure the safety of operators within close proximity to hazardous situations, they must be properly equipped with PPE including Arc rated clothing.

8. Good safety procedures save lives

Ultimately, a workforce can only be as safe as their working culture dictates. There is no substitute for stringent safety measures and procedures that all personnel are aware of, up to and including wearing the right PPE for the job. Stay safe and know your Arc Flash hazards.