What is an arc flash incident?

Simply put, an arc flash is a phenomenon where a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground. The results are often violent and when a human is in close proximity to the arc flash, serious injury and even death can occur.

What causes a arc flash?

An arc flash is an explosive release of energy from an electrical arc when the electrical current passes through ionized air. In less than a second, an arc flash is initiated from a phase to ground or a phase to phase fault.

What do you do after an arc flash incident?

If an arc flash occurs and the victim is still in contact with the source of electricity, do not touch the person. Shut off the power and contact emergency personnel immediately. In the event the electricity cannot be turned off, use nonconductive materials and attempt to remove the victim from the electrical source.

What injuries can occur from arc flash?

An arc flash may cause severe burns, hearing loss, eye injuries, lung damage, and blast injuries. Arc flashes are rare but when they do happen, the impact on personnel and the business can be significant. Maintaining a heightened sense of awareness can help to protect equipment and save lives.

What causes arcing?

Arcing usually occurs when a circuit becomes overloaded and overheats. The overheating causes damage not only to the circuit breaker but also to its connection to the bus. Once damaged, a circuit breaker can malfunction and continue to let electricity flow between its connection instead of tripping.

How common is arc flash?

Occurring 5-10 times per day in the United States and resulting in over 400 fatalities and 30,000 incidents a year, arc flash occurrences are common, dangerous, and often deadly incidents.

Where do Arc flashes occur?

An arc flash occurs when the electrical current flows outside its intended path, through an air gap, to another conductor. With this in mind, you can see that an arc flash can occur anywhere that the electrical current has a chance to escape.

How can arc flashes be prevented?

How to prevent Arc flash

  1. De-energize electrical equipment.
  2. Wear suitable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  3. Keep at a safe distance.
  4. Reduce the energy output from an incident.
  5. Carry out a risk assessment.
  6. Train on-site workers to control risks and interrupt faults.

Why is arc flash so harmful?

According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), five to 10 arc flash incidents occur each day in the U.S. Arc flash is extremely dangerous because it can produce some of the highest temperatures known to occur on earth, up to 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is four times the temperature …

How long does an arc flash last?

That’s why it’s sometimes called ‘welder’s flash’ or ‘arc eye’. Flash burns are like sunburn in the eye and can affect both your eyes. Your cornea can repair itself in one to two days, and usually heals without leaving a scar.

What are signs of arcing?

Lights That Dim or Flicker Flickering lights mean there’s a loose connection somewhere in your electrical system. It could be from a broken connection, a corroded wire or even damage from animals. When the lights are flickering or dimming chances are there’s arcing occurring!