An arc occurs when flowing current leaves its intended conductor, traveling through air to another conductor or to the ground. The resulting flashover can cause fire, damage to property, severe burns, and even death to individuals within close proximity. Circumstances that can create arc occurrences include electrical equipment malfunction and failure (spontaneous arc) and failure to take proper precautions when working on energized circuits (inadvertent arc). Accordingly, fall protection equipment for affected workers must reflect specific needs.
OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269, Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Final Rule is a recently released update of a 40-year-old standard, and all requirements are now in effect. This standard intends to reduce the number of injuries and falls from heights related to arc flash exposure within the electric utility industry and other facilities that are subject to similar potential hazards. Significant changes within these new requirements include up-to-date fall protection and positioning requirements for tower and other structural climbing, as well as elimination of an exception for free-climbing hazards.