Miller Gets Sprint Facility Up and Running After Arc Flash Incident

Arc Flash

It’s true in life and work — knowing what to do isn’t as important as actually doing it. Whether it’s something as simple as riding a bike or something as complex as testing energized electrical equipment, you have to be aware of your surroundings and practice safety every time.

One accident could prove devastating.

There were three arc flash incidents in Omaha in recent weeks, and while Miller wasn’t involved in any of them, we thought it would be a good time to review basic safety practices when it comes to protecting yourself and others from arc flash danger.

Sprint Sees a Brush With Danger

One of the recent arc flash incidents in Omaha involved a 480-volt, 600-amp switch that shorted out during electrical testing performed by an electrical testing company. When the trip didn’t engage, the arc flash continued to roll to an 8000 amp main breaker, which also didn’t trip. “Because that main didn’t trip, it just kept feeding the arc flash,” says Miller Electric Safety Director Scott Love. “There was nothing to trip that fire ball that just kept rolling and getting bigger.”

By the time the electrician was able to shut down the main power breaker, the facility’s switchgear had sustained extensive damage. Far worse than the cost of business interruption was the physical toll that the event took on those involved. As the arc flash engulfed one individual working on the job, it inflicted severe burns and critical injuries that ultimately, and sadly, resulted in his death.

Practice Safety All the Time

The incident is a good reminder to all of us of the need to practice every safety precaution on every job, regardless of how many years of experience we have under our belts or how routine the task before us seems to be. The only way to truly work safe is to wear proper PPE on every job.

Good customers recognize the need for this and are thankful that we practice safety on every job. In Sprint’s case, that was definitely true. “Your team was instrumental in our recovery,” writes Sprint’s Vice President of Network Service Assurance, Joe Meyer. “I cannot thank you enough for your company’s responsiveness and your individual people’s dedication on the ground, in very dangerous and trying circumstances, in helping to restore and maintain Sprint services to hundreds of thousands of customers.”

We couldn’t agree more. Our hats are off to the Miller team on the job: Paul Conroy, Kaleb Faber, Andy Kroupa, Kevin O’Neil and Steve Schneiderwind.

Steve Schneiderwind’s message to all of us is simple and strong: “Stay vigilant in your safety practices and the wearing of your PPE. Nothing is more important than your safety and your ability to return home each and every day to your loved ones.”

Our thoughts and prayers go to the family of 59-year-old electrical contractor, Steven Nintz, who died from his injuries sustained during the Sprint facility arc flash incident.

Read more about practicing arc flash safety in our latest blog post at millerelect.com