Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News
Blog Author Steve Hudgik
Friday, March 29, 2013
Arc Flash Detection Technology
How To Specify An Arc Flash Relay
"One way to defend against arc flash is to retrofit electrical cabinets with arc flash relays, which reduce arc duration by sending a trip signal to the upstream device faster than conventional over-current relays, thus limiting the incident energy and protecting workers from hazards. In many cases, the protection provided by an arc flash relay can reduce the level of PPE required for compliance with NFPA 70E safety standards and OSHA workplace safety requirements."
Topics covered in the article include:
- How an arc flash relay works
- Where to install arc flash relays
- Arc flash relays and power analysis software
- Arc flash relays and zone identification
- How long of a delay?
- What to look for in an arc flash relay
Read the article in Consulting-Specifying Engineer
Using Fiber Optics In Arc Flash Detection Applications
"The primary components of an arc flash detection system (light and current detector) are the arc monitor unit, control unit, optical detector, current detector and current transformer. The control unit receives signals from both a high-sensitivity light detector and the upstream current transformer, enabling it to determine whether to trigger the circuit breaker. Clearly, this signaling process must be both fast and reliable to minimize danger and damage. Fiber optics, with its inherent speed and EMI immunity, make it a perfect medium for an arc flash detection system."
Read the article in Electronic Design magazine.
See A Video Demonstration of Arc Flash Detection Using Fiber Optics
Engineers must consider arc flash prevention in the electrical systems. How important is timing?A post on the Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine's we site raises the question of timing. The post is called "Timing Is Everything." The opening paragraph poses the question:
"Because an arc flash relay depends on an existing circuit breaker to interrupt the current, does it make a difference in overall reaction time? And if the relay must wait until an arc forms, will the relay take longer to trip than the circuit breaker would trip on its own? Finally, how does the reaction time of an arc flash relay compare to an overcurrent protection relay?"
The question is, do arc flash relay actually work? What do you think?
Read the Consulting-Specifying Engineer post here.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Arc Flash and Electrical Explosions
Man Burned In Electrical Explosion at CSU Channel IslandsThe Ventura County (Calif) Star reports that:
"Two male subcontractors were preparing for maintenance work on a substation behind Ironwood Hall when an electrical explosion occurred, burning one of them.The other man pulled him off the equipment, and two campus police officers got him out of the substation."
Read the article here.
Arc Flash Incident Offers Learning MomentLast week, Mark Reichanadter, Chief Operating Officer at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, wrote about a recent arc flash incident they had. He said:
"Last week, while performing regularly scheduled maintenance on SLAC’s linear accelerator, there was a mechanical equipment failure of a 12 kilovolt power supply which resulted in an “arc flash” explosion. I am very thankful to say that no one was hurt during this serious event."
"Those relatively new to SLAC may not know we had an arc flash in 2004, which resulted in serious burns to a worker and a major investigation by the Department of Energy (DOE). These events brought about major changes to how the laboratory performed work."
"In last week’s incident, we avoided injury because we followed our work planning and control process: define the work scope, identify and analyze hazards, develop and implement hazard controls, and perform work within controls."
New Arc Flash Safety Products
Designers can program the RD-195 to optimize the balance between arc-detection accuracy and false detection prevention to meet their system needs. The RD-195 is accompanied by a software application tool that enables alteration of threshold detection parameters.
Labels: arc flash prevention
Monday, March 18, 2013
Improving Electrical Safety - Integrating Maintenance Requirements Into The System Design
Integrating maintenance requirements into the design of an electrical system is an important first step to provide workplace safety.
An in-depth article in Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine looks at ways that electrical equipment design can improve workplace safety.
Read the article here.
The article concludes by stating: "Engineers can design the hazard out of work tasks by specifying electrical products that have enhanced safety features, by specifying products that address both design requirements and operation of the facility, and by incorporating improved installation techniques is a strategy that will not only increase worker safety, but also increase productivity and profits."
Arc Flash BoundariesEnsure Electrical Safety by Following New Arc Flash Guidelines
An article by Jack Rubinger provides introductory information on NFPA 70E b2012 and discusses the eight arc flash boundary zones. The article quotes Gary P. Larkins of APS/PowerSafetyPRO as stating:
"Effective electrical safety programs begin with achievable goals. Many organizations pursue safety training, arc flash hazard analysis, PPE selection, labeling and electrical safety program development as independent projects, when for an effective safety program, they are really interdependent. Strategic planning can reduce program investment, implementation time and provide enhanced worker safety,"
The same page also has links to a free guide to arc flash labeling.
Read more at: Arc Flash Boundaries
Arc Flash and Electrical Explosions
|Photo by J.M. Garg|
A Flock Of Birds Causes Arc Blast And FireThe accumulated weight of more and more pigeons landing on an electrical wire caused the wire to sag until it came into contact with another wire. The result was an electrical explosion and hundreds of fried pigeons. The article in the Hunts Post reports that:
"This extraordinary event in Benwick Road, Ramsey Forty Foot (United Kingdom), on February 22, was witnessed by Ron Laverick who says it was reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds."
"Mr Laverick, of Benwick Road, Ramsey Forty Foot, said:'Sparks went everywhere, some pigeons were incinerated, others dropped into the ditch and the fire raged.'"
Read the story and see a photo (click here) of the burned area in the Hunts Post.
Two Workers Injured By Arc Flash At Space Launch FacilityKPPC radio reports that "Two workers for a company that launches spacecraft for the U.S. government were seriously injured in an electrical explosion at Vandenberg Air Force Base on the California coast."
The two employees were transported to a Los Angeles hospital. There is no information available about what caused the arc flash.
Read the story here.
Monday, March 04, 2013
Arc Flash News Briefs
Two Electricians Remain Critical After San Jose fireAn article in the San Jose Mercury News By John Woolfolk (email@example.com) reports that two electricians were badly burned in a weekend industrial accident a week ago. They were still in critical condition last Wednesday.
San Jose Fire Capt. Rob Brown said the cause of the fire at an industrial building at 71 Daggett Drive remained under investigation. Authorities have not identified the injured electricians, but Brown said one suffered burns over 65 percent of his body and the other over about 30 percent of his body and that both remained in critical condition at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center's burn unit.
The men were working on an electrical panel when it flashed or exploded about 9 a.m., severely burning them. There were no other injuries or damage to the rest of the property.
Read the San Jose Mercury News article here.
NIOSH Arc Flash Safety Video Available FreeA 25 minute video produced by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is available online on the MSHA web site at no charge. View the video here:
The video features interviews with survivors of arc flash accidents. They describe what happened during the accident, their injuries and their recovery.
Virginia Department of Mines Arc Flash Safety Presentation AvailableA Power Point presentation on arc flash safety, created by the Virginia Depart of Mines, is available online at:
You may use this presentation, or parts of it, for your training.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
How Well Do You Understand NFPA 70E?
"Electrical hazards are a significant safety and financial risk for electrical workers and their employers. While the threat of shock and electrocution from inadvertent contact with energized parts has long been recognized, the arc flash and arc blast hazards have only fairly recently been incorporated into the electrical safety standards. The recent focus on and awareness of arc flash and arc blast hazards will play a critical role in reducing the incidence and severity of electrical accidents over time."
You can read the article here.
Related Past Posts:
How NFPA Electrical Safety Requirements Affect Data Centers
Arc Flash Code Compliance
What Information Does NFPA 70E 2012 Require On Labels?
GE Introduces Light and Pressure Arc Flash Detection System
GE Announces The Multilin A60 Arc Flash SystemThe Multilin A60 uses GE's light and pressure wave detection technology to detect and initiate a trip signal, in the event of an arc flash condition. By quickly initiating the trip signal, the Multilin A60 helps minimize equipment damage and reduce the costs associated with unplanned downtime and lost production.
Designed for medium voltage switchgear and motor control center applications, the Multilin A60 is a protection relay independent, stand-alone device that can be used in new or existing installations for continuous monitoring and fast detection of an arc flash event. Its design includes five arc flash sensors for optimal coverage and its scalability allows multiple Multilin A60 devices to be connected, delivering increased fault isolation for reduced equipment damage. The Multilin A60 simplifies installation, commissioning and maintenance with sensor auto-calibration, eliminating the need for CT connections or setup software, reducing total operation and maintenance costs.
The Multilin A60 comes equipped with a self-test feature that monitors the health of the sensors, the full length of the fiber cables, and the unit itself, eliminating the need for periodic testing, additional test equipment, and ensuring reliable operation when needed
Click here for more information about GE's Multilin A60 Arc Flash System
News About Arc Flash Accidents
Con Ed Worker Injured By Arc FlashAn electric utility worker was injured by an arc flash explosion as he was working on a service box in an apartment building. The worker had burns on his face, neck, hands and arms, and was in stable condition when the newspaper reported this accident.
Read the story in the NY Daily News
The cause of the explosion is being investigated by the local utility, and an electrical fault is the leading theory.
Read the story in Firehouse World.
Related Past Posts:
Arc Flash Explosion Results in 200 Deaths and 1500 Injured
Electrical Hazard Assessments
Top Safety Story of 2007
Labels: Arc Flash Accidents
Monday, February 04, 2013
Five Common Arc Flash Assessment Errors
The recommendations include having an electrical safety program. That's something that appears obvious, but many workplaces have not taken this important step.
Read the article here to learn about the four other common errors.
Electrical Explosion Blasts Two Foot Hole In Bridge
Read the story on UPI.
Winter brings unique and and unusual electrical hazards. For example, be aware of safety precautions required when using portable electric generators during power outages. Not only electrical safety, but all aspects of safety. For example, don't run gas power electrical generators indoors as they will cause a build-up of hazardous carbon monoxide gas. Use caution when restoring power after an outage. Machines may start unexpectedly or circuits become energized while someone is working on them.
Monday, January 21, 2013
Responding Firefighthers At First Don't Recognize Arc Flash InjuriesAn article on Philly.com reports on an arc flash that happened in a carpet store. The explosion injured two men, one of whom was injured critically. When they first arrived the building was full of smoke and the firefighters did not realize two people coming out of the building were seriously injured.
Read the story here.
The article concludes:
"While metal-clad enclosures often provide excellent protection from the devastating potential of electrical arc blasts, electrical workers and engineers need to understand the limitations of such enclosures to protect the workers on the job. Several circumstances can compromise the integrity of metal-clad enclosures, although most are predictable, meaning arc blast hazards can be effectively controlled."
Read the complete article here.
1. Arc Flash Related Standards
2. NFPA 70E 2012 Changes Related To Arc Flash
3. Arc Resistant Equipment Considerations
4. Minimizing Exposure To Arc Flash Hazards
You can see the presentation here.