What is an Arc Flash Blast?
Electrical injuries are often extremely painful and highly debilitating for those people that are unfortunate enough to experience them. More than 75% of electrical injuries that occur within the workplace are as a direct result of an arc flash incident. Electrical explosions like this can cause deadly burns, electrocution and many other types of serious injuries.
Accompanying arc flash explosions are arc blasts. These can greatly increase the hazards for those employees in the surrounding environment. Understanding exactly what an arc flash is, and what an arc blast is, will help worker to prepare the proper safety plans in order to keep themselves safe at all times.
Arc Flash vs Arc Blast - What is the difference?
Arc flashes occurs when there is an electrical fault, and the result in an electrical explosion. The electricity escapes from the system where it’s being used, and travels through the air to another conductor point or earth. An arc flash can reach temperatures four times greater than the surface of the sun, resulting in severe burns to anyone in the area. It can also cause metals and other objects to melt or catch on fire.
An arc is the pressure wave created as a result of an arc flash explosion. The pressure blast can be very strong, and will likely send objects flying through the air at great speed. The strength of the an Arc Flash Blast depends mainly on how powerful the arc flash is, and how much pressure is created.
A Deadly Duo
When an arc flash occurs, it will have an arc blast accompanying it. This combination of these two things has the potential to create an especially dangerous situation for those in the immediate area, as well as those in the surrounding environment.
An arc flash can cause fire and molten metals to be present, and an arc blast will send the molten debris flying through the air, covering anyone in the immediate vicinity. This could cause a variety of injuries to workers, which is why ensuring they are wearing the correct type of personal protective equipment (PPE) at all time is essential.
What is all the fuss about?
Arc Flash Blast is a low frequency, high consequence event and is caused when electrical conductors are either unintentionally short between phases or earth. To most people working with electricity, they have never even heard of an arc flash let alone seen one. Yet they can have devastating, life-altering effects.
Lock out Tag out (LOTO)
Under normal circumstances before any work is undertaken on a conductor it must be made dead and locked out, usually referred to as LOTO (Lock Out Tag Out).
Only in special situations where it is unreasonable in all circumstances that a circuit has to remain live, that permission can be granted for an employee to work live.
Before any decisions can be made a full risk assessment should be undertaken to identify the hazards within the work area and an identification of controls to be taken to reduce the risks.
Only after this process has been completed should the use of PPE be considered and what would be most appropriate.
This is what the fuss is about!
Just like lightning, Arc Flashes may cause personal injury and death through electric shock, thermal burns and physical trauma. Each injury can be life-threatening so the risk of arc flash must be treated seriously.
Bright light which much worse than welding flash and is strong enough to blind Blast pressure which can destroy equipment, knock people over and throw people up to three meters. Ear drums can be ruptured as a result and molten metal can be expelled into the area. Temperatures hotter than the sun which can ignite anything within a given radius