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The Ultimate Guide to Arc Flash Studies for Every Facility

It happens far too often: emergency rooms are forced to transfer arc flash victims to a burn center because they don’t have the resources to properly treat their severe injuries. Recovery could take months, even years.

In addition to the physical safety risks that come with arch flash incidents, the financial effects that follow emphasize the importance of arc flash assessments. All that violent, rapidly releasing energy expelled by an arc flash event can result in costly equipment damage and facility shutdowns.

Featured Resource: Facility Risk Assessment 

To give you a better understanding of what dangers an arc flash study can help prevent, we’re covering the basics of what occurs during an arc flash incident and the aftermath that commonly follows.

What is an Arc

Merriam-Webster defines arc as “a sustained luminous discharge of electricity across a gap in a circuit or between electrodes.” The arc initiates the ionization of the air and transfers its energy to matter.

What is an Arc Flash

An Arc Flash occurs during a fault, or short circuit condition, with significant fault currents flowing through this arc gap. The fault can be caused by various factors including defective equipment, accidental contact, rodents in the electrical system, maintenance neglect, as well as other causes.

With temperatures reaching as high as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit (hotter than the surface of the sun), it’s easy to understand why an arc flash incident can cause fatalities, life-altering injuries, and detrimental financial risks. This kind of temperature can also result in the liquification or vaporization of nearby metal parts, explosive pressure and sound waves, and ignition of combustible materials in the vicinity.

Direct and Indirect Costs of Arc Flashes

It’s no surprise why arc flashes occur in U.S. workplaces every day. With power usage increasing and electrical systems aging, the risk of arc flash explosions does not discriminate against any facility.

According to the Electrical Power Research Institute, the estimated direct and indirect costs to an employer from a fatal electrical accident are in the millions. These include:

  • Medical costs
  • Workers compensation
  • Hiring and re-training
  • Equipment replacement
  • Facility repair
  • OSHA citations
  • Litigation and punitive damages
  • Lost productivity
  • Insurance premium increases

Arc Flash Studies

Facilities directors, property managers, and employers are becoming increasingly aware of the hazards of performing energized work. If you want to identify the arc flash hazards within your facility, an arc flash study is necessary.

Conducting arc flash studies in-house often places total liability in the hands of the employer. However, an arc flash study provider that has a Registered P.E. on staff is likely to have the proper licensing, training, and expertise required to produce accurate results.

An arc flash study will result in the categorization of hazards for specific equipment based on the incident energy, in addition to the identification of the Arc Flash Protection Boundary. Within the Arc Flash Protection Boundary, workers must wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

People, Processes, Partnerships, and Technology 

Do you want to protect your assets while receiving safe-working electrical services? TD is equipped to handle any size project through our unmatched resources: the people, processes, partnerships, and technology needed to get the job done. Fill out this form in seconds to not only save valuable time in the instance of an emergency, but also reap the benefits of proactive on-demand electrical service.

Keep in mind that TD Visual Intelligence is also included in our on-demand electrical service.

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