According to OSHA, arc flash burns are one of the top three most common hazards when working with energized electrical equipment. Every day in the U.S. there are up to 10 arc flash incidents, totaling more than 3,600 disabling electrical contact injuries each year.
IEEE, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, recently produced a paper1 reviewing 100 years of research on shock and arc injuries. Going back, the first recognized hazard to workers was the shock hazard.
Not long after toddlers take their first tentative steps, they’re likely to be told, “Don’t touch the hot stove.” Either by heeding that warning or sadly through their own experience, they learn that a hot stove may burn them.
A 29-year-old technician at a windmill survived 80% burns caused by a massive electric shock at his workplace in India, in a recovery that took six weeks and 17 surgeries, according to theBangalore Mirror.
Each year, 2,000 workers are admitted to burn centers for extended injury treatment caused by arc flash. Arc flash is an electric current that is passed through the air when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is not sufficient to withstand the applied voltage. The flash is immediate, but the results can cause severe injury.
A crew was working on upgrading the battery room at a receiving substation. (The room provided emergency power for up to 8 hours.) The electric utility, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, had purchased replacement batteries from RSC in Wilmington, CA.
BP faces potentially billions in penalties for Deepwater Horizon explosion, PG&E faces actual billions in penalties for San Bruno pipeline explosion and firefighters helping with an “Ice Bucket Challenge” are serious burned by an arc flash incident. These were among the top EHS-related stories posted this week on ISHN.com.
OSHA cites Mass. Contractor for violations following arc blast
June 5, 2014
OSHA in 2012 cited Interstate Electrical Services, a North Billerica, Mass., electrical contractor, for alleged willful and serious violations following a November 2011 arc flash blast at an Andover jobsite. Two workers installing electrical service were seriously burned when a piece of equipment made contact with an energized part of an electrical panel, resulting in the arc flash.
National Fire Protection Association, National Safety Council, and Bureau of Labor Statistics data indicate that 10 arc flash accidents happen every day in the U.S. More than 3,600 disabling electrical contact injuries happen every year. Last year in Oregon two workers were seriously burned in arc flash incidents:
Among the articles in the October 2020 issue of ISHN Magazine, we answer questions on dangerous dusts, discuss respiratory protection programs and the risks and benefits of smoke tubes, and learn how to get creative with training programs.