Path to Safety: Step 18
What is the most hazardous item you have in your facilities and your employees interact with it every day? You probably thought of the chemicals at your facility or some machine or equipment, but the answer is electricity! Annually, there are approximately 30,000 non-fatal and 1,000 fatalities from electrical shock.
In the last 10 years another hazard, the arc flash and arc blast have emerged as serious problems, which are being more frequently reported. Approximately 2,000 people are admitted to burn centers every year with severe arc flash burns. Research shows that most burns in electrical accidents are caused by an arc flash. Of the approximately 350 persons killed in the work place by electricity last year, roughly 50% were related to arc flash.
An arc flash is an airborne short circuit consisting of a flash that moves from one exposed live conductor to another or to ground. Lighting is an example of a naturally occurring arc flash. An arc flash can occur in less than a sixtieth of a second. Injuries from arc flash accidents tend to be severe, and result from two types of hazards the arc flash and arc blast.
Visit the Safety Resources section of www.asa.net and discover the causes of arc flashes, how to conduct an arc flash analysis at your company and use it to create an arc flash safety program. Also found there is a PowerPoint presentation on arc flash safety and a Toolbox Talk for use in educating your employees on this important safety topic.