Understanding and Avoiding an Arc Flash Hazard

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Understanding and Avoiding an Arc Flash Hazard

More than 2,000 workers per year are sent to hospitals and burn centers with injuries due to arc flash injuries. That is a shocking number. But how can you avoid a terrible hazard like this from occurring at your facility?

Before you can understand how to avoid an arc flash, you must understand the problem. An arc flash is an explosive release of energy caused by a low-impedance connection between one phase of an electrical system and another phase, neutral or ground.

But what causes an arc flash? There are several scenarios that can cause this hazardous situation.

  • Coming close to a high-amp source with a conductive object, causing the electricity to flash over.
  • Dropping a tool or creating a spark can ignite an arc flash.
  • Any breaks or gaps in insulation.
  • Dust, corrosion or any other impurities residing on the surface of the conductor.
  • Equipment failure due to improper installation, substandard parts or even normal wear and tear over time can cause an arc flash.

To see some of these scenarios for yourself, watch Mersen’s Arc Flash mitigation product video to view test lab footage showing how their fuses reduce damage to equipment and PPE.

Now that you know what can cause an arc flash, how do you reduce the risk? The Mersen Arc Flash Info Center pulled together a great overview of ways to reduce the risk of arc flash in your facility. Here is a summary.

  • Be sure to have the correct fuses on hand. Out of stock and outdated fuses increase the potential for dangerous misapplications.
  • Provide safety training for your staff. Create customized training for various targeted audiences to help emphasize the importance of accurate fuse replacement.
  • Use finger-safe devices and low-voltage disconnect switches when possible. We recommend the Mersen UltraSafe fuse holders are the industry’s first finger-safe power distribution block.
  • Learn more about mitigating arc flash hazards. Mersen offers regional engineering seminars, many specializing in arc flash protection.

If you’re interested in learning more about what causes an arc flash and how to reduce the risk or an arc flash, give your French Gerleman Account Manager a call or contact us.