What is an arc flash hazard?

If you are managing or in ownership of a business or premises you will invariably have electric wiring and installations in place. This has no bearing on whether the premises are being used commercially, industrially, for retail or administrative purposes, or utilized solely as a residential complex. The fact remains that there is always the potential for an arch flash hazard. This short informational article raises awareness levels and should go some way in helping elevate your appreciation of this and engage proactively and responsibly in reaction to this.

In the industrial and manufacturing space it is statistically recorded that at least every thirty minutes an electrically induced injury occurs with severe results. Such results include eye damage, hearing loss, respiratory diseases and skin burns. The worst case scenario is, of course, death. A lot of this comes about due to the arc flash or arc blast. This is an electrical explosion that results from a low impedance connection with ground levels and/or ulterior voltage phases within an existing electrical system.

To alleviate or reduce the potential for such damaging occurrences, an engineering or electrical inspector will conduct a full arc flash hazard analysis. This is done to determine the amount of energy generated during the arc flash incident. The collected data and recommendations are then passed on to the property manager or owner. Thereafter a risk management plan is revised to counter against such incidents.

Effective risk management plans entail collaborations with insurance providers and adherence to state and federal legislation. The contravention of relevant legislation, once detected, usually leads to the enactment of severe financial penalties. The worst case scenario here, of course, can be the suspension of business or the closing down of premises until such time that all regulations or inspection reports have been responded to in full.