Electrical Safety Training and Electrical Consulting

Arc Flash Awareness

You’ve heard the term “Arc Flash”.  This is a real and dangerous event that can cause life changing injuries.  In just a fraction of a second you can be subjected to enough heat energy to burn your entire body beyond recognition.  In this video you will see just how fast and how devastating and Arc Flash Event can be.

As you saw in the video, the arc flash event was unexpected.  The technicians had no warning as to what was about to happen.  Once the event started, there was no time to move out of the way.  The primary technician, the one racking in the circuit breaker, was enveloped in the heat and flames of the arc event.

What could have been done to protect against this happening.  There are several ideas that could have been examined.  Let’s have a look at some of them.

1.  The equipment had something wrong with it that went undetected prior to the installation of the circuit breaker.  A more comprehensive maintenance and testing procedure may have found the problem prior to re-insertion of the breaker.

2.  A through the door racking mechanism could have been used.  This method allows for the doors of the cabinet to be closed, locked and bolted prior to reinsertion.  The event still would have taken place, but the enclosure may have contained the blast, flame and heat of the arching event.

3.  Remote racking could have been used.  There are several methods of remote racking that can be employed.  An electric device mounted to a cart that is adjustable to fit most breaker installations can be purchased.  The cart rolls up in front of the unit, the electric mechanism is attached to the racking system.  A remote control is attached and the technician operates the device from outside the arc flash boundary. There are also permanently installed electric racking systems that allow for the cabinet to be closed and bolted prior to the racking of the breaker from a remote location.