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Arc Flash Training: 4 Essential Safety Practices

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Let’s consider the following hypothetical case. John, who is an electrical worker, followed all electrical safety rules. But one day, as he was working, he accidentally dropped his tool, and the next thing was an explosion and bright light.

Since then, John was rendered immobile after months of hospitalization. For John and other electrical workers, working with electrical power requires proper arc flash training.

When an arc flash occurs, it reaches extreme temperatures, resulting in traumatizing injuries, loss of life, and property damage. Facility Results offer arc flash training to keep workers safe and employers from legal implications.

1. Understand Arc Flash Hazards

The NFPA reports that five to 10 arc flash accidents happen daily. With these numbers, it’s key that workers understand arc flash hazards.

Arc flash training is all about understanding what arc flash hazards are and how they occur. They happen when electricity jumps from one conductive surface to another, resulting in intense heat, an arc blast, and a brilliant flash.

Equipment failure, dust, dropping tools, accidental touching, and corrosion trigger an arc flash. The result is an intense heat that vaporizes metal in the equipment, blasting molten shrapnel and extremely hot gases outward. Just being within proximity of an arc flash incident can cause serious harm.

2. Follow Safe Electrical Work Practices 

To avoid a catastrophic incident, NFPA training encourages the right safety procedures when working on or near live electrical parts. These include de-energizing equipment, wearing proper PPE, insulating blankets, working within approach boundaries, and using appropriate tools. 

Electrical workers also learn the importance of turning off power and verifying with a meter that it is off before working on equipment.

3. Conduct an Arc Flash Risk Assessment

With arc flash training, people working around electrical systems can conduct a detailed arc flash risk assessment to determine potential hazards and appropriate safety measures. This involves a detailed study of the electrical system to calculate available fault currents, arc flash boundaries, incident energy levels, and PPE requirements. 

There should be arc flash labels on equipment, warning qualified workers of the specific hazards and required PPE. Employers should then ensure they keep the arc flash risk assessment updated to account for any changes in the electrical system. 

4. Wear Proper PPE When Required 

Perhaps the most critical safety practice an electrical worker can follow is wearing proper PPE. This includes flame-resistant clothing and arc-rated PPE as specified on equipment arc flash labels. 

Arc flash PPE shields workers by resisting flames, providing insulation from heat, absorbing radiant energy, and limiting burns. For arc-rated PPE to perform appropriately, workers must wear the complete gear, including coveralls or shirts and pants, face shields, and gloves. 

Additionally, they shouldn’t expose any body part within the arc flash boundary. Workers must properly inspect, wear, and care for the PPE.

Regular Arc Flash Training Is Key

Regular training for electrical workers and personnel who may work around or interact with energized equipment should be a priority. Ensure the training aligns with all applicable local codes. Proper arc flash training prepares workers to identify hazards, follow safe work procedures, use PPE, and avoid tragedy.

Conclusion 

Arc flash training is the solution to protecting your workers from electrical tragedies. The training helps workers understand arc flash hazards, follow safe practices, conduct risk assessments, and wear proper PPE. With regular arc flash training, John and other electrical workers can avoid accidents and return home safely each day.

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