Working with energized equipment comes with some inherent hazards. But there aren’t many situations that compare to arc flashes. These incidents are instantaneous, incredibly harmful, and happen more often than you think. But what exactly are arc flashes, what makes them dangerous, and what are the consequences?
Explore this brief guide to uncover the answers to those questions.
What Is An Arc Flash?
It’s crucial to understand what an arc flash is before delving into the dangers associated with them. In its most basic definition, an arc flash is an electrical current that passes through the air. Arc flashes can only occur when there isn’t enough isolation or insulation between conductors to withstand an applied voltage.
Arc flashes are instantaneous incidents that occur in electric equipment. They often result in severe burns and various other injuries. And it might be easy to think these events are rare. But truthfully, arc flashes happen more often than you’d think, and they can be incredibly dangerous.
What Dangers Are Associated With Them?
Arc flashes are dangerous events. After all, they’re instant blasts of electricity that travel through the air. But what are the actual dangers associated with this phenomenon? Unsurprisingly, there are quite a few, all varying in severity. Some of these injuries include minor injuries, third-degree burns, and fatal burns
Indeed, arc flashes send jolts of electricity through the air, which is dangerous on its own. But even more so, if they’re severe enough, they can also cause explosions that send molten metal droplets flying through the air at incredibly high speeds.
Pressure from a large arc blast can be so powerful that it flings people across the room. Moreover, the pressure from these blasts can reach up to 2,000 pounds per square foot. In short, arc flashes can be extremely dangerous events for anyone standing too close.
What Are the Consequences?
Hopefully, by now, you understand how dangerous arc flashes are. But this wouldn’t be a balanced discussion if we didn’t take the time to briefly explain some of the specific consequences of arc flash dangers. These events can cause:
- Hearing loss
- Nerve damage
- Severe burns
- Fatal burns
- Cardiac arrest
Arc flashes are not to be taken lightly. They can severely harm you or even kill you. Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent these accidents and increase safety measures surrounding them to mitigate risk. First, you should hire a professional electrical consulting service to perform an arc flash analysis on your energized equipment.
Doing so will reduce the chances of an arc flash from occurring. It’ll also protect your staff. It’s crucial to ensure that your facility follows all OSHA and NFPA guidelines concerning arc flash safety and prevention. Trust us on this; you will be glad you did.