Electric arcing or an arc flash can cause electrical injuries. Incidents typically occur because of human error while working on or around any energized electrical equipment, but they can also happen when working with control equipment or small, low-voltage electrical components. An arc flash study can help ensure your safety and complete compliance with codes, regulations, and standards.
Why arc flashes occur
Any short circuit between live conductors in an electrical network, whether by indirect or direct contact, will cause a fault in the electrical network. The result is an electric arc that can lead to an arc flash. The incident can cause hearing loss, severe burns, lung damage, blast injuries, and eye injuries. However, you can avoid those mishaps with an arc flash study.
An awareness of what causes arc flashes can also help. Here are some instances that can trigger it.
- Accidental contact
Working around live exposed parts is hazardous. Direct physical or indirect contact with a tool can set off an arc flash and result in an explosion with temperatures exceeding 19426.667 Celsius.
- Troubleshooting and testing live equipment
An arc flash can occur when the test probe accidentally creates a phase-to-ground or phase-to-phase connection during checks. Using the right tools can reduce the probability of an incident.
- Operating or installing live equipment
Removing or adding circuit breakers, components, or contactors in energized control circuits or MCC buckets can induce an arc flash. It could also happen when removing or installing MCC buckets from a live bus.
It’s best to perform an arc flash study with routine maintenance on all disconnect switches and breakers to prevent any problems.
- Poorly maintained and low-quality equipment
Incorrectly or loosely wired connections, damaged insulation and improperly maintained tools and equipment increase the risk of an arc flash.
Conduct an arc flash analysis
Arc flashes may be rare but can impact the business and overall safety when they occur. Having heightened awareness and performing an arc flash study can help save lives, protect equipment, and prevent unnecessary expenses. It may help improve or develop new policies, strengthen your training and capacity, and assist in selecting the best PPE, protection devices, and relay coordination for your team. A study also provides short circuit and load flow analysis and a definition of arc flash boundaries.