Protecting Employees from Arc Flash

Many companies with employees working around high voltage (in excess of 120v) are unaware of the exposure and dangers of arc flash. Arc flash is a short circuit that creates a high intensity flash from one exposed live conductor to another, or to ground. The ionized air resulting from the short circuit creates electrically conductive superheated plasma that can reach temperatures in excess of 5,000°F (2,760 °C). The explosion is almost instantaneous and produces a brilliant flash, intense heat, and a pressure blast. If a person is exposed to this explosion unprotected, at close range, the results will be major burns (second- and third-degree), shrapnel and debris injuries, and/or electrocution.

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Peter Juhren

Peter Juhren is the corporate service manager for Morrow Equipment Co., Salem, Ore. He can be reached at p.juhren@morrow.com.