What you need to know about Arc Flash protection

What you need to know about Arc Flash protection

What you need to know about Arc Flash protection

Wearing a hard hat, gloves and safety boots is second nature to people working out on site. But there’s very little official guidance about Arc Flash incidents and how best to provide arc flash protection for your workers from them, so how do you know what you need to do to keep your people safe? Are you taking all of the precautions you need to?

HSE Guidance on Arc Flash Protection Against Incidents

One of the major dangers for Arc Flash incidents, therefore requiring high levels of arc flash protection, is a cable strike, which often happens when there’s not enough, or inaccurate information about, underground services. It’s not the only danger area, with workers in the industrial electrical, power generation, rail, and petrochemical industries also at risk of an Arc Flash incident.

The following video shows the very real danger of breaking ground and striking an underground cable.

HSG47 – Avoiding danger from underground services – makes reference to the risks of clothing made from man-made fibres“…clothing made from man-made fibres such as nylon may melt and stick to the skin, increasing the severity of the burns.”

It also directs you to ask an expert for more information, saying: “Advice on the suitability and performance of protective clothing should be available from reputable companies specialising in its supply.”

As the leading Arc Flash supplier in Europe, our industry specialists are available to talk you through the risks for your sector. As we specialise in clothing designed for industry-leading  arc flash protection, all of our team live and breathe Arc Flash. We’ll guide you through the options that might be suitable for you.

What we discovered

As the UK’s leading Arc Flash Protection specialist, ProGARM have worked in conjunction with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) to commission a new study into Arc Flash safety and awareness of its risks across the UK. We published the results in January 2018 and you can read them in full here.

In the first ever report of its kind, the study sought views from 200 UK industry professionals across the rail, power generation, industrial electrical, wind energy, utilities and petrochemical industries.

Shockingly, while it seems awareness of the risk is high, so is confusion about the relevant safety standard. Worse, of the people we surveyed, 57% admitted they, or someone they know, had suffered an Arc Flash incident.

Of the people we interviewed who were familiar with HSG47, 80% believed it is far too ambiguous when it comes to recommending the appropriate safety clothing to protect staff. We agree.

What you can do to improve your Arc Flash Protection

Safety doesn’t happen by accident, so you can apply many of the usual health and safety approaches to minimise the risks of an Arc Flash incident, while simultaneously maximising arc flash protection.

Make sure that an Arc Flash assessment is part of your working practises. Your team might need training on how to consider the risks so that the assessment is accurate, and it should also identify steps to take to minimise the risk, along with the necessary PPE.

PPE reviews are also a critical part of the defence against Arc Flash. You need to ensure that your team has dedicated Arc Flash clothing, not simply flame retardant as this won’t give the same level of protection in an incident. Arc Flash clothing also needs to be free from tears and repairs as these could significantly reduce the protection it gives in an incident. Depending on the risk, you may need to specify layers of clothing to create the right level of protection. Take a look at our blog about layering here.

Wearing Arc Flash PPE correctly is the final critical step that anyone can take to protect themselves in the event of an incident. Zipping jackets all the way up, buttoning polo shirts to the top, and not pushing up your sleeves are all simple steps that will ensure you have maximum protection in an incident.

With temperatures reaching 19,000°C (35,000°F), the more exposed skin you have, the worse your potential injuries.

Advice on Arc Flash Protection, When You Need It

Our dedicated Arc Flash Protection specialists are just a phone call away. We live and breathe Arc Flash – we don’t make PPE for any other purpose – so they can talk you through the risks for your industry, whether that’s petrochemical, utilities, rail, power generation or industrial electrical.

Call us on  +44 (0) 1482 679 600 for specialist advice, or visit our contact us page for more ways to get in touch.