Arc Flash Safety And Hazards According To OSHA Guidelines

Arc flash is the light or heat produced in the form of fire with the use of two different phases of electrical arc. This results in an electrical explosion which is adequate to cause harm; but is very useful for welding and industrial function.

The Arc Flash Hazards

If mishandled the possibilities of electrical hazards could be many and cause colossal explosion by destroying equipment, workers and the surrounding area up till a superior capacity. The arc flash hazards put the lives of the workers at a greater risk. A survey showed that 5-10 of the workers are admitted in the hospital everyday due to arc flash hazards occurrence in the United States. The injury caused by it results are devastating and the treatment plan can cost up till $ 8-10 million. The New York Academy of Sciences has published an EPRI study which confers the burns through injury, costs and its treatment plan which can be highly extensive. The details can be found on "Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 888, October 30, 1999, pp 1-7."

The Arc Flash Safety Measures

In the 1980's a paper "The Other Electrical Hazard: Electric Arc Blast Burns" was published according to industry standards to take protective measures against the workers. But in observance with OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) at least the following points must be followed:

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

A protective clothing of FR shirt, FR underwear FR pants, double layer switching coats and pants along with hard hat with face shield and protective gloves are required to be worn by the worker.

Calculation of Arc Flash Hazards

A data must be analyzed and then tested to check for any sensitivity, breaker or fuse characteristics according to the PEE requirements. In most cases the breakers are adjusted as old breakers have slow reaction times. Any loophole must be corrected before starting over the actual procedure. Also the chances of short circuit must be taken into account and checked.

Now that we have discussed the safety measures according to the OSHA standards, but still there are many who believe that the protective suit for the workers is not cumbersome as it's hot and provides poor visibility during work which in return can cause further dangerous situations during the chore. Moreover the safety analysis is not always correct. On several occasions OSHA has penalized companies and contractors esp. in New York and New Jersey over electrocution and other hazards. OSHA takes these matters strictly and makes sure that the company adheres to its guidance.

In June 2010 three New York contractors were charged over $ 465,000 in penalty by OSHA due to arc flash hazards which the workers were exposed to. Couple of months later The Fountainhead Group Inc of New York Mills faced $ 83, 650 in fine due to 34 OSHA violations according to arc flash safety concerns and the New York Postal Center were charged $ 210k in infringement for arc flash safety purpose.

On one incident, the Claremont Terminal site in New Jersey exposed its workers to lead; failing to endow with respiratory tract protection and other measures which caused an $ 188,500 fine. Service Corp on Suydam Avenue in New Jersey was also fined for 36 federal violations of $ 158k.

OSHA has played a pivotal part in protecting the workers and it's bystanders against arc flash hazards by implementing proper safety regulations. Noncompliance of electrical system and equipment has caused legal notices all over New York and New Jersey and this is not it, the online resources will come up with a bundle of more electrical safety measures bought up by OSHA.