Arc flash training is a topic that is receiving increased attention in the current safety conscious environment. This is because, apart from the arc flash being the leading cause of injuries stemming out of electrical malfunctions, it is also extremely costly to the company.
For anyone who works in areas prone to electrical hazards, or is planning on joining such a profession, arc flash training is extremely vital. In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), specifically requires employers to provide their employees with arc flash training. In addition, OSHA has been documented fining some facilities over $500K for failing to comply with this and other electrical safety regulations. In addition, the employer is most likely going to face lawsuits for not properly identifying the hazards, training employees, and providing proper warnings.
This is an electrical explosion, which results from a low impedance connection to a voltage phase in an electric system or to the ground. This results in an undesired electrical discharge where a flashover of current leaves its intended path and instead flows through the air between conductors or from the conductor to the floor. Extremely high temperatures and pressures of the surrounding air is what cause the arc blast.
This blast releases intense light, pressure waves, and fire and includes flying debris. An arc flash typically occurs without warning. The typical results of this flash are death or severe injury to individuals within the vicinity and the complete destruction of equipment.
Human Error: We have a tendency for settling into routines, which subsequently develop into lazy tendencies. This might result in unsafe work procedures and thus cause mistakes that pertain to the mishandling of tools or lack of maintenance. Conversely, we may at times make honest mistakes at work or suffer a momentary lapse in our judgment, which could lead to poor maintenance. Nevertheless, when either of these scenarios appears in work that deals in electrical devices, the probability of an arc flash occurrence is greatly magnified.
Negligent maintenance: Any sort of electrical work requires that the equipment being used is cleared off of any debris, dust, and other particles that gradually build upon the surface of a conductor which might cause it to function improperly. Also, failure to undertake a variety of performance tests or even failing to check the wiring every once in a while could cause you to overlook an issue.
Improper electrical design: This squarely falls on the people responsible for installation. If the installation is faulty or utilizes old equipment that does not meet the current arc flash standards, the risk of triggering an arc blast is raised.
Without a doubt, arc flashes are a serious electrical disaster if left unchecked. Nonetheless, if proper safety procedures are followed, arc flashes are avoidable. This is the reason OSHA is so keen on legally requiring employers to offer their personnel with safety training.
This training enables workers to learn a lot about how to analyze and manage electrical equipment to comprehend and avoid hazardous situations. As part of arc flash training and as part of OSHA’s regulations, people who work in potentially dangerous conditions must be given protective gear, which is appropriate for the task being undertaken.
On most occasions, the best way to avoid arc blasts is to de-energize the equipment being used. This is why OSHA demands that electrical equipment is de-energized prior to the employee working on or close to the equipment. This should be standard protocol unless an employer can prove that de-energizing is not feasible or that it may lead to introduction of other hazards. The logic behind de-energizing electrical equipment is simple; using energized equipment is akin to using electrically active equipment; it runs a great risk of yielding an arc flash.
If de-energizing equipment is indeed deemed as infeasible, then the personnel is legally required to undergo specific training such as arc flash training and other safety-related practices in order to avoid the risk of electrical hazard. This will include obtaining a permit that allows the operation of energized electrical work plus a number of other safety programs.
NTT is a premier institution that offers high-quality arc flash training to industry professionals. Their learning programs are flexible and student centered. For more information, please contact them today.
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