Electrical Workers and Arc Flash

Electrical Workers and Arc Flash

Electrical Workers, who are they, there are different types of electrical workers, they can be;

  • Electrical Engineer (Various disciplines)
  • Electrician (Domestic and light commercial)
  • Electrician (Industrial and Mining)
  • Linesperson
  • Cable Jointer 

All of the above, at some time, could be exposed to arc flash hazards. However, many do not have the knowledge, skills and training to deal with arc flash hazards. The question is, what knowledge is required to be able to manage arc flash risks?

Those exposed to an Arc Flash should understand'

All of the above are essential to managing arc flash hazards and mitigation.

Lack of Vocational Training

Vocational training and knowledge differ depending on the types of electrical worker, let’s look at a few instances.

Electrical Engineer

The Electrical Engineer may have majored in electrical protection, light current circuit design etc. Then that engineer gets promoted/moved to look after a Power System, their background knowledge would be insufficient to manage arc flash risks.

Electrician (Domestic and Light Commercial)

The apprenticeship curriculum is designed to cover the knowledge where most electricians will be employed.  This is in the Domestic and light commercial field and in many cases the hazards of arc flash are minimal.  This being due to the high impedance to the source and low fault levels. However, as an electrician, they may be called to a situation, where an arc flash hazard does exist.  Unfortunately, most of these electricians would not have the knowledge to be able to assess and manage arc flash hazards.

Electrician (industrial and Mining) 

Most of the electricians will have received the same apprenticeship training as domestic electricians, many will have acquired skills in the high current field, however, there will be many more that only understand the basics.  The majority would still be lacking the skills to assess and manage arc flash hazards.

Linesperson

Linespersons work a lot of their time in high fault current situations.  However, even if they know about arc flash, they lack the skills to assess and manage arc flash hazards.

Cable Jointer

The cable jointers are in the same position as linespersons.

Conclusion 

At present most electrical workers would lack the skills required to assess and mitigate the risks associated with an arc flash hazard. This contravenes Occupational Health and Safety Legislation, both in Australia and the United Kingdom.

Next article Arc Flash Safety Procedures

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