Too often overlooked as a health and safety concern in comparison with other work environment risks, an Arc Flash can be potentially deadly.
Arc Flashes most commonly occur when somebody is switching on electrical circuits – in particular, tripped circuit-breakers – and are the result of electric current flowing through an air gap between conductors.
The ensuing flash can burn at a level of heat as intense as the surface of the sun, causing catastrophic burns or injuries, and even death.
While there is now a greater awareness of the risk of arc flashes in electrical hazardous environments, businesses can do more to ensure the safety of staff – namely, regular training and testing.
Keeping your staff safe
There are some best practices that businesses can put into place, such as keeping up with changes to the electrical system, maintaining equipment, and ensuring that your team is kept up-to-date with the latest compliance.
With that in mind, you should think about investing in Arc Flash and electrical safety training for staff, giving them the knowledge to properly understand the risks, identify possible hazards and recognise the importance of protective clothing (PPE). Arc Flash testing will act as a guide for safer choices of PPE for your hazard, and for minimising potential injury.
We would also strongly recommend conducting an Arc Flash study, which is a vital investment for companies to be making in order to prevent accidents and potential damage or even death.
What is an Arc Flash study?
An Arc Flash study is essentially an engineering investigation designed to provide detailed safety information about a piece of equipment or circuit part to qualified workers servicing that equipment.
Arc Flash studies aren’t a legal requirement but having one conducted is evidence that your business has demonstrated due diligence in identifying hazards and means of preventing against their dangers.
The goal is to collect as much information about the site as possible and take any guesswork out of safety calculations. Without this information and proper training, electricians will have little idea what PPE to use when servicing electrical equipment. The study is essential in mitigating higher risk hazards which can reduce or eliminate risks and costs.
How regularly should you carry out Arc Flash studies?
Previously, it was recommended that Arc Flash studies were carried out every five years, while other schools of thought had suggested every three years.
The truth is that there aren’t actually regulations in place that tell you if or when you must carry out Arc Flash studies.
In line with modern management philosophies, we would encourage the creation of a culture of ongoing learning and internal training (you can’t be expected to continually foot the cost of an external training company!) around the hazards of Arc Flash. That way, your electrical engineering staff won’t have to take in lots of information at once that they might forget, and training and studies can be shaped in such a way that it’s always fresh in their minds.
If you want advice about Arc Flash and products that best meet the new IEC 61482-2:2018 standard and will suit your needs, give one of our sector experts a call today on 01482 679600.Back