Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News

Blog Author Steve Hudgik

Monday, February 05, 2007

Failure to Wear Proper PPE Results In Arc Flash Injury

A report from the Department of Energy Office of Health, Safety and Security describes an arc flash incident that happened in April 2006. This report caught my eye because the incident involved an electrical engineer. We sometimes focus training on employees in crafts or trades, and neglect others who may be exposed to workplace hazards. I'm an electrical engineer who worked as a field and sales engineer for 16 years. In all of that time the only facility I can remember requiring me to go through their safety training was the Boise Cascade St. Helens paper mill. Although the engineer who was injured in the DOE incident described in this report was a DOE employee, this report serves as a good reminder that everyone with access to a facility--employees, management, contractors, inspectors and vendors--needs to be aware of the potential dangers in that facility and be fully trained concerning required protective measures.

Read The DOE Article

This article is titled "Failure To Wear Proper PPE", but when you read the complete report you'll see that there was more to this accident. PPE is protection of last resort. It would be much better if the accident had been prevented in the first place. Page two of the report identifies five problems:

– Failure to ensure the ground fault monitoring detection system was operable.

– NFPA 70 for ground fault protection was not implemented.

– They failed to implement work controls for ungrounded delta systems that could have a ground fault.

– Protection boundaries had not been established and the panel was not properly labeled.

– Established work proceedures, which should have resulted in the engineer being stopped from working on the panel without proper PPE, were not followed.

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