However, while most health and safety professionals are confident about fire and electrical safety protection, they may be less knowledgeable about the dangers posed by an arc flash incident.Contrary to popular belief, flame-retardant PPE can’t protect against burns in an arc flash incident, as these burns aren’t caused by fire, but by thermal energy. This means that protecting a team against an arc flash incident requires more specialist garments.What is an arc flash?Hotter than the sun and louder than a bullet being shot, an arc flash is when an arcing fault releases dangerous levels of radiant energy, which vaporises metal that spews from the arc. The air is super-heated, causing pressure waves that can throw individuals across rooms and create deadly molten shrapnel. They can be caused by voltage spikes, worn connections, cable strikes or gaps in insulation, and are a risk even in low-voltage setups. Treatment for those that survive an arc flash incident can require years of skin grafts, hospital stays and rehabilitation – and they may never recover sufficiently to regain their lifestyle. So, it’s safe to say that choosing the appropriate PPE is key when it comes to arc flash safety...
Read the full article in PBSI's September issue
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