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Every day in America, staff working with electricity suffers fatal accidents by profession who have chosen cable installers of utility, industrial electricians or electrical contractors.


In fact, based on recent statistics from the Labor Department of the US, we can say that electricians have chosen the third most dangerous profession. Many workers are electrocuted, ie through direct contact with electricity. But there is another reason that many people are unaware of: explosions arc.

What is an explosion of Arc?

An explosion arc is a discharge of explosive energy, caused by the passage of electric current between two electrodes one Through the ionized gases and vapors or a power source and ground. When employees work on or near electrical conductors or circuit parts electrified, UN MAY occur DUE arc movements or accidental contact one UN or equipment problem, which causes a failure phase to earth or phase to phase. Results Terribles son. The electrical energy delivered to the arc becomes a ball of fire engulfing the worker. The explosion esta composed of an intense thermal radiation, noise, explosive expansion of air near owing to rapid heating and melting / vaporization of metal arc Nearby Components. Depending on the location of the worker with respect to the arc and the severity of it (based on the amount of energy available para El Arco), burns on exposed skin and non-fire resistant clothing worker will cause burn. Workers who use fire-resistant clothing can also cause burns if the arc releases heat index above the fire resistant fabric (ATPV or EBT) Energy. The results can be terrible burns. In many cases, these burns can be fatal. In others, the injured must be hospitalized for a long time, undergoing treatment UN Extremely painful. The part that more than one Menudo is exposed to arc energy is the face. A burn in the chest may go unnoticed under a shirt or jacket, but UN face disfigured by a burn is very difficult to hide, so you can get to ruin sea life So go to the supermarket or the party of His children. So you will see forever.

How do we protect ourselves? At present there are several standards that ensure
a safe workplace. The NFPA has published a standard called NFPA 70E,
Standard for Safety Requirements in the use of electricity in the Workplace. 
The NFPA is not an agency that enforces laws, however OSHA often refers  to
this document should be evaluated as a workplace.

This standard requires the employer to conduct a Risk Assessment at work when
the voltage exceeds 50 volts.
The worker has two effective defenses: his
knowledge and the PPE has placed. NFPA 70E requires that all employees are
properly trained and protected for the work to be done. Still, accidents happen.
His last defense is the PPE (the clothing and wears gloves).
The NFPA 70E
requires the electrician use protection that is suitable for potential arc, which he
will be exposed energy. In the same way that a police officer used a bulletproof
vest to protect against bullets,
Electricity worker must wear special clothing and
head protection that has been  tested and rated for the level of risk of arcing
which could be exposed.

Protection against electric arc is a fire retardant!

A large number of companies have a program to ensure that all employees use
fireproof clothing (FR, fire retardant). Fireproof means that the material is designed to go off by itself when the exposure to a fuel source (fire) ends. Fabrics are not flame resistant and will set fire to burn, causing serious injury to the user. Moreover, fire retardant clothing is manufactured fabrics which were specially treated (as fireproof fabric cotton) or with elements that are naturally flame retardant (such as Nomex® Dupont®). There is currently a lot of fire retardant clothing brands on the market. In almost every magazine you can see ads for some manufacturer announces that its fabric is the "solution". It is true that all PPE against electrical arc are fireproof, but it is important to note that not all the fireproof clothing is necessarily PPE arc. The Arc Flash PPE is more effective than fire retardant clothing !. Protective clothing against electric arc is designed and tested to isolate the user from harmful energy, not only to go off by itself. What differentiates clothing against electric arc flame retardant?

Protection Classification or ATPV Arco.

The NFPA 70E and ASTM F1506 standards require that the electric arc clothing

specified on the label classification arch protection. This clearly establish the

level of product protection features against arc energy. The classification of the

arc is determined by a specific procedure (ASTM F1959), where an electric arc is

created in laboratories to simulate real life conditions. Under these conditions, it

is determined protection feature of the material, which is made clothing. Without

this arc rating, the clothes just happens to be a work shirt, and should not be

used as protection against electric arc.

Always work energized. Why do I need protection?

How you do an employee who is de-energized the team? To establish that this in

fact is de-energized, the employee should be tested for the absence of voltage

by a meter. For this test, you must enter a prohibited or restricted area. To cross

these limits, the person conducting the test should:

• have specific training

• have a documented plan justifying the need to work within the restricted area.

• perform a risk assessment

• have a work plan and approved by an authorized person analysis

• use PPE rated for risk

Once the worker has verified the absence of voltage, there will be no more 

danger. But suppose you can not work energized or has multiple sources of 

energy; then you must continue to use PPE for electric arc while performing their

activities. Returning to the previous example of the police. An officer uses vest 

only when the possibility of a risk. A worker electricity should use protection when

there is a possibility of an accident. And in the same way that the police do not 

use a free vest for a bb gun and it aims to protect a burst of .57 caliber bullets. 

So should the Electricity worker protection insist that you are using is rated and 

tested for the level of risk they could be exposed.

How does the level of risk is calculated?

NFPA 70E requires the employer to perform a risk assessment before they 

perform any work. The objective of risk assessment is to determine the level of 

risk present and ensure that workers are trained and protected level of risk. At 

present  there are several resources available to help the employer to carry out

the risk assessment. The Duke Power Heat Flux Calculator is a DOS shareware 

program written by Alan Privette that calculates electricity arc potential based on

existing conditions. In addition, there ArcPro, a software developed by Ontario 

Hydro Testing Laboratory, which costs around US $ 2,000. For the option of total 

service, whether the employer needs additional help to perform risk assessment

of electric arc also has security consultants and teachers who can come to the 

facilities, by paying fees, for evaluation and update training programs.

We are all heroes. . . for our families and friends who depend on us!

Although an explosion of electric arc does not occur every day in a particular 

installation, and hopefully it will never happen in the life of a professional,

electric arc incidents happen every day somewhere in North America. Although

none of  us is considered a hero for our families and friends who have our love

and  financial support, we are all heroes. We all have responsibilities.

The work we do every day is dangerous. All deaths and serious burns,

which occur as a result of  an explosion arc, has no reason to be and are

preventable. If the work is done by a trained and experienced electrician,

and if used for electric arc clothing suitable for the risk of the activity, all

electricians can expect back home safely with his  family, with only fatigue a

long day of work.

Randell B. Hirschmann, Director of Product Development for Oberon Company

a division of Paramount Corp, which has over 60 years experience in personal 

protection products. For more information on PPE for electric arc Safety 

Standards for Electricity or Risk Assessment Resources available.

By Randell B. Hirschman



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