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Should you have arc flash protection in place?

Should you have arc flash protection in place?

Arc flash is a type of electrical explosion or discharge that can occur in an electrical system. 

If your employees are at risk of arc flash in their day to day role, as an employer it’s your responsibility to make sure they’re protected from any harm.

Injuries experienced because of arc flash can be severe, ranging from external burns, internal burns, inhalation of hazardous hot gasses, blindness and hearing damage.

What are the common causes of arc flash?

The most common causes of arc flash include:

  • Lack of staff awareness and training on how to use equipment correctly
  • Equipment failure
  • Using incorrect instruments
  • Working on damaged equipment, loose connections, or exposed live parts

When to protect your staff against arc flash?

Whenever your employees are working with live electrical systems, the consequences of arc flash should always be considered and you should do your best to put protection in place.

Any time that a member of staff is carrying out an activity on electrical equipment, they should have adequate protection to protect them from the injuries that can result from arc flash.

You should be aware of the level of arc flash risk your employees are exposed to before determining the type of protection to put in place.

Arc flash incidents happen daily, so the appropriate steps should always be taken to ensure safety, like:

  • Enforce the arc flash boundary
  • The arc flash boundary is the minimum distance that people can stand from exposed electrical systems while remaining safe.
  • Make sure that all employees maintain this distance at all times to prevent them from coming into harm’s way.
  • Educate staff on the proper use of live equipment
  • Many incidents of arc flash happen because members of staff do not have the right knowledge and training they need to operate live equipment safely.
  • All members of staff should receive training before working with electrical equipment and should receive ongoing education throughout their time in the role so their knowledge stays up-to-date and they are constantly aware of the importance of proper arc flash protection.
  • Use PPE correctly
  • Wearing PPE can impact the senses and someone’s ability to communicate clearly, which is not a good thing when you’re working with electricity, so you should ensure that the right PPE is being worn to limit the risk of arc flash.

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