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Arc Flash is a term that describe low impedance connections in electrical wiring, which enable the movement of unwanted charges through the air from one voltage phase to the other, or to ground. It leads to rapid increase in pressure and temperature in the air between the conductors, which give rise to an explosion identified as arch blast. An arc flash occurs during a short circuit, or a fault condition, which passes through an arc gap.
The resulting heat from an arch blast can cause fires, flying shrapnel and pressure waves that may result to serious damage to property and endanger human life. The explosions occur without any signs, damage electrical equipment completely and may cause death or severe injury of personnel within the boundary of the arch flash.
One main cause of arc flash is voltage transients (spikes) that occur because of lightning strikes or switching of reactive loads. The transients can only last for microseconds, but carry thousands of amps of energy. When such spikes happen when measurements are being recorded, they can lead to the formation of a plasma arc to form inside the measuring apparatus, or in the surrounding air. An arc flash can occur when a test probe is touching the wrong surface, gaps in insulation, wrong connections, poorly installed components, or corrosion and dust that leads to resistance heating.
Arc flashes are unquestionably dangerous electrical hazards to the workplace, but they can be largely prevented. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has placed firm emphasis on legally demanding employers to provide documented electrical safety training to workers that are working in such environments.
Every arc flash safety program starts by analyzing risk aimed in identifying how much energy an arc could discharge at various points. Accuracy is paramount with such measurements, therefore, workers with proper training can successfully conduct the assessment and avert any loss.
Obtaining formal training on arc flash prevention and management will enable your employees to learn the necessary skills to demonstrate proficiency in electrical safety. They will learn on the proper methodologies of assessing and determining electrical hazards that can arise due to arc flashes. Formal training will ensure that your employees are trained in an engaging manner and in a way that is acceptable in OSHA’s eyes.
Both the employees and employers have the legislative obligation to evaluate risks, identify hazards, select and implement the suitable controls. Formal training helps you and your employees to comprehend your legal requirements and what due diligence is needed to avert conviction under the dictates of OSHA’s law.
The instructor led training gives your employees the opportunity to ask any questions and experience real-life examples and how they are required to contain them. The training also enables you to implement a competency validation process to help in validating and documenting your employee’s capability of applying electrical safety skills and know how.
Workplace electrical safety training is more than just checking a box. It is more than just “arc flash training”. Any electrical accidents in the place of work can lead to fatal or severe injury and the risk will definitely be high for workers who are exposed without proper training.
Failure to train is in violation of requirements in the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) NFPA 70E standard. In some cases in the event of any death/injury arising from an electrical incident, and if Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducts an investigation and finds out that compliance with 70E would have averted or lessened the injury, you will be cited under the general duty clause among other serious electrical safety violations.
It could include failure to implement the safety-related work practices and use of protective barriers, shields and insulating materials to protect your employees, failing to conduct inspections and tests of the infrastructure and insulating with rubber gloves.
Apart from the danger posed to human life and litigation, lack of well-trained workers will expose you to situations that can damage your equipment. Damages on your racks, servers, power distribution units and networking gear can cost you. The smoke condensation can cause further damage to your sensitive electrical equipment; smoke condensation could trigger your data center’s fire suppression system
Through superior technical skills development services offered at NTT Inc., your employees will learn to identify arc flash hazards, determine arc flash boundaries, interpret and comply with any arc labels, as well as interpreting and complying with NFPA 70E tables. Enrolling to the Arc Flash Electrical Safety training program will ensure a safe and practical approach for learning safety in electrical works. Contact us today and find out more.
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