Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Keys to Staying Safe Around Electrical Equipment

One of the things that make working around electrical equipment so dangerous is that you cannot always see the hazard. Sharp edges that can cause cuts are usually visible. The same is true of rotating gears and pulleys that create pinch points. Electricity is something you cannot see. This makes staying safe around it more challenging than it otherwise might be. As a result, there are certain things that should be done ahead of time to avoid finding out the hard way that an electrical hazard was present.

One of the things that have come about over the past few years as a way of keeping electrical workers safe is an arc flash hazard analysis. For organizations who need outside help in conducting them, companies like Predictive Service can help. During such a study, each piece of equipment is analyzed to determine the amount of energy that could potentially be released during an arc flash event, should one occur.

Based on the results of the arc flash analysis, the appropriate category of personal protective equipment that must be worn if workers are working around live electrical components is specified. The intent is to protect the individuals against life threatening injuries if an arc flash could occur.

An arc flash is an electrical explosion that involves a tremendous amount of heat being generated in fractions of a second. It is usually accompanied by flying shrapnel.

What might seem like minor oversights can drastically increase the chances for an arch flash event to occur. One of these things is the accumulation of dust. If it consists of conductive material, a path for electricity to travel is provided and gives it more of a chance to jump from one surface to another in the form of an arc. Accidental contact with live components or the mishandling of tools can cause an incident to happen as well. Condensation and corrosion can be factors as well.

The best way to avoid an arc flash is to disconnect the electrical power before working on a piece of equipment. However, this is not always feasible. The need to troubleshoot or the inability to shut the equipment down can mean certain tasks must be completed while the equipment is live.

Detail in how to work around equipment in which the potential for an arc flash is present can be found in the latest edition of the National Fire Protection Agency’s 70E standard.


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Work-At-Home Mom who quit years of corporate life to take care three kids full time. Fond of cooking, reading books and determined to master housekeeping. Created this blog to share about career, job, human resource, hobbies, sports and travel

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