Any workers that are certified to work in the electrical field should be subject matter experts on the hazards and nfpa 70e safety measures a person should take in regards to an arc flash. An arc flash is a serious phenomenon that may cause death or serious injury to a person standing close by when this event happens. An arc forms between the gap of two electrodes in the form of an illuminated bridge of electricity. The cause of this arc is normally a type of fault or short circuit that passes through the gap in which the air is the conductor.
The factors that may lead to an arc flash event may include: corrosion of equipment, dust, dropping tools, contamination of insulated surfaces and moisture. Damage from these arc flashes may be extended throughout the building where the flash happened and may even cause the entire building to explode. Anyone close to the explosion when it happens may suffer from hearing loss, burns, they may be even thrown backwards into the air for several feet depending on how severe the blast is. The extreme arc flash temperatures can quickly escalate to liquefy or vaporize anything in its path. The causes of an arc flash may all be prevented by proper maintenance, training, working in teams and closely monitoring the areas susceptible to arc flashes.
Before working in an area where arc flashes are likely to happen, all electrical workers should successfully complete arc flash safety training conducted by a certified company that is qualified to provide the official osha arc flash training. The training company should also be qualified to provide flash hazard and potential incident analysis of the site. The equipment used will stimulate and identify the hazards as well as provide solutions to fix the issues before an accident occurs. This process is called an Arc Flash Study where an Electrical Engineer uses the latest sophisticated software analysis tools to create and analyze a short circuit. The results of the study are localized to identify a specific piece of equipment that needs to be addressed and is known as the Arc Flash Protection Boundary.
After the Arc Flash Protection Boundary is identified, the Hazard Risk Category and Personal Protection Equipment can be identified for the equipment and area. These suggestions help to improve the level of safety of the electrical workers. Using an arc flash training powerpoint in the training program, the employees are taught the important points of protecting themselves during an arc flash. An arc flash training video is also shown to the employees to show real footage from previous arc flashes caught on tape and help the employees learn from those mistakes.