What is an Arc Flash?
An Arc Flash is the result of a quick release of energy due to an arcing fault between a phase bus bar and another phase bus bar, neutral or a ground.
During an arc fault the air acts as the conductor. Arc faults are generally limited to systems where the bus voltage is in excess of 120 volts. Lower voltage levels usually will not sustain an arc. An arc fault is similar to the arc obtained during electric welding and the fault has to be manually started by something creating the path of conduction or a failure such as a breakdown in insulation.
The arc flash results can be deadly. In the case of an electrical arc flash, often a devastating electrical arc flash explosion occurs. This year approximately 30,000 people will be injured due to some sort of electrical arc flash accident and at least 1000 or more will be killed. More than half of these fatalities will occur while servicing energized equipment that are less than 600 volts. Electrocution is the fourth highest cause of industrial fatalities.
OSHA has made many requirements for companies and industrial facilities to follow in an attempt to prevent injuries or deaths due to arc flash hazards and other electrical arc flash related accidents. If an injury or death occurs due to an electrical arc flash hazard the company managing the facility is at fault if they are not within OSHA 1910.333 compliance.
ITU’s Arc Flash Analysis (Arc Flash Risk Assessment), studies, and survey service puts your company in compliance with OSHA by determining the areas of potential danger of electrocution, arc flash potential, electrical fatalities, or electrical arc blasts. An arc flash analysis or arc flash study also includes detailed reports of your electrical system, one-line diagrams, and ANSI Z535 approved warning labels to warn workers of these danger areas and to inform them of the proper personal protection equipment (PPE) to use while working in these areas.