Arc flash occurs when an electric current passes through air between ungrounded conductors or between ungrounded conductors and grounded conductors. The temperatures can reach 35,000°F. Exposure to these extreme temperatures both burns the skin directly and causes ignition of clothing, which adds to the burn injury.
The majority of hospital admissions due to electrical accidents are from arc flash burns, not from shocks. Each year more than 2,000 people are admitted to burn centers with severe burns. Arc flashes can and do kill at distances of 10 feet. The tremendous temperatures of the arc flash cause the explosive expansion of both the surrounding air and the metal in the arc path.
For example, copper expands by a factor of 67,000 times when it turns from a solid to a vapor. The danger associated with this expansion is one of high pressures, sound, and shrapnel. The high pressures can easily exceed hundreds or even thousands of pounds per square foot, knocking workers off ladders, rupturing eardrums, and collapsing lungs. The sounds associated with these pressures can exceed 160 dB. Finally, material and molten metal is expelled away from the arc flash at speeds exceeding 700 mph, fast enough for shrapnel to completely penetrate the human body.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an important line of defense in arc flash safety. PPE requirements should feature head-to-toe protection against serious electrical hazards so you’re able to get the job done in the safest, most efficient, and professional manner possible. Appropriate PPE requirements includes Arc- and heat-resistant gear to protect your entire body from the dangers of arc flash, including your skin, vision and hearing.
Determining the correct arc flash PPE can be very challenging. Arc flash-rated garments are required by employees for tasks such as testing, troubleshooting, voltage measuring, diagnostics and even if they are testing for the absence of voltage while creating an electrically safe work condition.
Electrical Safety Specialists travels nationwide to provide many different types of training. Based in the heartland, just outside of Kansas City, Electrical Safety Specialists can be anywhere in the United States in a matter of hours. With a long list of return clients ranging from healthcare, government, universities, space industry, manufacturing, to industrial, we pride ourselves in building long lasting relationships in the Electrical Safety Industry. Our belief in safety first and delivering the highest quality of workmanship possible gives us the opportunity to serve for years to come.
Our Mission is “To save lives and reduce injuries by creating a positive safety culture in the workplace for employers and employees alike.”