WHAT IS ARC FLASH?
An Arc Flash or an Electric Arc is the rapid and dangerous release of energy due to an electrical arcing fault. It happens in a fraction of a second – even faster that you can blink your eye and can have devastating consequences for anyone exposed.
ARC FLASH INTENSITY:
The intensity of the Arc Flash is influenced not only by the voltage as an Arc Flash will contain the release of thermal energy, acoustical energy, pressure wave and debris. The variables that affect the size and energy of an electric Arc Flash are:
- Arc Flash Intensity
- Voltage (safety issue where greater than 220 Volts)
- Arc Gap
- Closure Time
- Distance away from the arc
- 3 Phase v Single Phase
- Confined Space
ARC FLASH INJURIES:
The consequences of an Arc Flash can be devastating depending on the intensity of the Arc Flash, the proximity of the individual to the source of the arc and the PPE used if any. Injuries can include:
- 3rd degree (irreversible) burns caused by extreme heat and molten splatter
- Loss of sight due to electromagnetic radiation
- Internal burns and intoxication due to inhalation of hot toxic gases
- Permanent hearing damage due to explosion bang
- Other physical trauma caused by the explosion (blast pressure and flying debris)
- Death - In Ireland, there have been 67 electrocutions or deaths from the explosive/burning effects of electricity from 1996 to the end of 2015. Of those, 44 deaths have been associated with a work activity (Source: Health & Safety Authority).
To protect against the risk of Arc Flash, O'Sullivan Safety stock a broad range of Flame Retardant garments, including those suitable for working in the power and electrical industry, in environments where the risk of exposure to electric arc is present, in petrochemical industries, with molten metals or in ATEX classed environments.