Electrical Arc Flash Hazards

In a flash, your workers could be in serious danger

What happens when an electric current leaves its usual path? If one of your employees winds up in the middle of an arc flash, the result could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills or even death. Find out how to keep your workplace safe from electrical hazards.

What Causes an Arc Flash?

An arc flash can be caused by:

  • Dust
  • Accidental touch
  • Condensation
  • Corrosion
  • And more

When an arc flash occurs, it often causes fires, burns, dangerous flying objects and intense heat. So how do you protect your workers from arc flash injuries and your workplace from damage?

Arc Flash Safety

According to OSHA, your arc flash safety procedures should include:

Proper Boundaries

  • Prohibited Approach (inner boundary)
    • Do not allow your workers to enter the area nearest the exposed live part.
  • Restricted Approach
  • Limited Approach
  • Flash Protection Boundary (outer boundary)
    • This is the outer boundary, where a worker would be exposed to a curable 2nd-degree burn in the event of an arc flash.

Proper Clothing

  • No metal jewelry
  • No metal clasps on clothing
  • No uninsulated metal tools in the area
  • Make sure your employees have appropriate PPE at all times

Proper Procedures

  • Conduct a hazard analysis to help determine if a work area is safe from arc flash hazards
  • Make sure lockout-tagout procedures are followed
  • Check all equipment on a regular basis for dust, corrosion and other abnormalities that could divert the electric current, and keep appropriate barriers
  • Always deenergize the circuit while your employees work on it, if at all possible