Arc flash, also known as flashover or arc fault, is a risk for any workplace that has energized equipment. This uncontrolled electrical discharge can cause serious injury or even death for any workers in the vicinity. Read on to learn more about arc flash danger around generators and how to protect your workers.
What Is Arc Flash?
All electrical equipment is designed so electricity will follow a particular path. But sometimes, that electricity follows an unexpected path. It may jump to another conductor, or it may move to ground. An incident like this is called an arc flash.
An arc flash’s massive electrical discharge can create a dramatic and rapid increase in temperature, as much as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit. That can create fires and serious burns in workers, with non- fire-resistant clothing melting onto skin.
When the discharge is serious enough to vaporize the conductors, arc flash can create a supersonic shockwave called an arc blast. This explosion can be as loud as a gunshot (140 dB), with pressure upward of 2,000 pounds per square foot. This blast can send objects flying, including molten metal created by the initial arc flash. As you might imagine, arc flash can cause serious injury or death, and a worker in an arc flash accident may never fully regain her quality of life.