Arc Flash – Death and Debilitating Injury

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Now that you know the definition of an arc flash and the danger such an episode poses to your facility, how do you assure your safety standards and legal compliance are up to date?

An arc flash is nearly impossible to predict, but there are a few steps you can take to prevent one from happening at your facility. Understanding your company’s risk potential is the first step in mitigating this threat.
NFPA 70E 130.5 defines the Risk Assessment process.

Inside The NumbersArc Flash Injuries Graphic

The Fire Protection Research Foundation cited The National Safety Council in the March 2015 report, “Occupational Injuries from Electrical Shock and Arc Flash Events” as reporting in the 2014 edition of Injury Facts that there were 961 fatal injuries from 2008 through 2010 due to exposure to electric current, radiation, temperature, and pressure.

Non-fatal electrical injuries are known for having the potential to be particularly debilitating. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicated that 7,000 non-fatal injuries in 2008 to 2012 were due to contact with electrical current. The same report also provided the cost of electrical injury; the direct cost, which includes worker’s compensation, contract pay, replacement time, equipment replacement, and lost productivity for the day of the incident was over $80,000 per incident in 2014; this figure does not include indirect costs (i.e., legal, medical).

Managing Risk

Synergy’s Arc Flash assessment team is equipped with the knowledge, experience, and technology to effectively assess your electrical systems in compliance with Article 130 of the NFPA Standard “Work Involving Electrical Hazards”.
Synergy maintains a full suite of SKM software to support the assessment and reporting process. SKM is the industry leading software for Arc Flash Assessment. Incident Energy and Arc Flash Boundary calculations follow NFPA 70E, IEEE 1584 and NESC standards.

It is the goal of Synergy’s team to ensure that you are receiving deliverables that meet today’s requirements and have the data necessary to protect your staff, comply with OSHA inspections, and sustain safe operations through training, awareness, and proper documentation.

Synergy offers training for your staff members to ensure compliance is maintained over time and for non-electrical workers who do work around energized equipment. Electrical safety practices and understanding Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) recommendations for specific levels of exposure are available through our training program.

The result of the Arc Flash Hazard Study will categorize the hazard level of specific equipment based on the incident energy, as well as identify the Arc Flash Protection Boundary. Inside the Arc Flash Protection Boundary a worker must be wearing the proper clothing, or PPE. The main objective of the PPE is to limit burns to the body resulting from an arc flash event to a survivable level (2nd degree or less).

Some of the different types of PPE include:
• Flame-resistant clothing
• Helmet or headgear
• Face shield
• Safety glasses
• Insulating gloves
• Shoes appropriate for electrical work (that contain no metal)

As you can see, preparing for an arc flash hazard incident and compliance go hand in hand. For a copy of the complete Arc Flash Hazard Study as cited above, please contact johnj@synergy-engineers.com