Emergency power generators can be critical pieces of equipment for any facility, especially in the stormy seasons of spring or winter or in disasters such as hurricanes or floods. If you have one in your facility now, or are thinking about getting one, you need to be aware of the environmental regulations which are triggered by having one onsite.
UPDATE for 2019: PG&E announced more expansive fire risk measures in February 2019. For details about that announcement, visit the PG&E 2019 wildfire safety plan press release.
A few of our customers have asked about recent PG&E announcements and how to best be prepared. Here is what we know and recommend:
1) PG&E announced its plan to proactively manage wildfire risks. You can read the full report here. Some key things to note: they will be more aggressive in managing vegetation around power lines and are warning customers now that they will conduct “Public Safety Power Shutoff[s]” when concern about wildfires is high.
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.