Understanding the value of Arc Flash Safety

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.

Arc Flash SafetyOne accident could prove devastating, especially when that accident involves energized electrical equipment and the use of personal protective equipment isn’t being practiced.

While there haven’t been any arc flash incidents in Omaha recently, that hasn’t always been the case, and unfortunately, one can happen at any time. Since it’s always a good time for safety, today we’re re-sharing a post we wrote over a year ago when three arc flash incidents hit Omaha in a short time span.

While Miller Electric employees weren’t involved in any of them, we thought it would be a good time to review basic safety practices and PPE when it comes to protecting yourself and others from arc flash danger.

Experienced Electrician Sees a Fatal Arc Flash

One of the arc flash incidents that occured in Omaha in 2017 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 fireball 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.

Remember to Practice Electrical Safety All the Time

The incident is a good reminder to all of us to practice electrical safety precautions 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. At the end of the day, nothing matters more than safety and the ability to return home each and every day to your loved ones.