Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News
Blog Author Steve Hudgik
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Reaching New HeightsThe cover story in the May issue of Electrical Contracting Products is called "Reaching New Heights". It provides a overview of selecting the proper ladder or lift, and of the safety concerns electrical contractors may have with ladders and lifts. It is a good article for anyone who needs to be working above ground level.
The article opens by noting: "According to OSHA, falls are the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry. From 1995 to 1999, an average 362 fatal falls occurred each year."
After discussing ladder design and ratings, and the selection of the proper ladder material (fiberglass is recommended for electrical work), the three important ladder related questions are identified:
"At what height will you be working from? Many manufacturers will provide a height safety chart that will show the ladders height as well as the maximum safe reaching height."
"What type of jobs will be performed? For instance, not only will you need to consider your own weight, but also the tools you may use while on the ladder. "
"What type of material is appropriate for the job? If the ladder will be used near an electrical hazard, then a non-conductive fiberglass ladder must be selected."
The article also discusses work platforms used for electrical work, such as scissor lifts. It discusses selection criteria, common causes of accidents, safety concerns and maintenance concerns.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Is Your Electrical PPE Adequate?Yesterday I recommended an article in Occupational Hazards magazine that presented a variety of problems with OSHA's proposed rules to reduce electrical burn injuries. Today I'm recommending an article from Maintenance Technology magazine that provides more details, including information based on two recent IEEE papers.
This article looks at the recent scientific research into what happens during an arc flash. The article concludes that:
"Recent research into arc flash phenomena, however, indicates that workers could be under-protected against the heat generated during an arc flash event. Test results presented at IEEE conferences and at the 2007 IEEE Electrical Safety Workshop show that different configurations of electrodes (conductors) yielded heat energy higher than current predictions due to the directional nature of the arc development. Additionally, initial tests of PPE, when placed within this directional plasma flow, did not provide the level of thermal protection predicted by its APTV."
An interesting result of the research is that it shows the design of electrical equipment has a major impact on the severity of the arc flash. Improved designs can reduce the intensity of the arc flash by 50%. It also shows that current-limiting fuses may reduce the heat energy to workers exposed to the plasma flow from an arc flash.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Regulating Arc Flash HazardsAn article in the May 2007 issue of Occupational Hazards magazine digs into OSHA's proposed rules to reduce electrical burn injuries, and raises several serious questions about the effectiveness of these rules. The article states:
"There are several problems, however, with the proposed rules. First, the proposed rules do not clearly define the obligations of an employer. Second, electrical arcs are unpredictable and the methods for calculating the maximum available heat energy to which an employee may be exposed are extremely unreliable at high voltages. Third, even if employers could calculate the actual maximum available heat energy and put their employees in the appropriate arc-rated clothing, there is still a 50 percent chance than an employee could sustain a second-degree burn. Finally, attempting to comply with the proposed rules may cause the same injuries that the proposed rules are designed to prevent in the first place."
The article addresses each of these points.
Occupational Hazards Magazine does not make it easy to link to their articles. Use this link http://occupationalhazards.texterity.com/occupationalhazards/200705/?u1=texterity to go to the May 2007 issue. Then at the top of the page, use the "Page" box to select page 41. As you finish reading each page you'll need to use the "Page" box to select the next page.
Electrical Safety NewsWe'd like to be providing you with all of the latest electrical safety news and information in an easy and convient format. One of our tools for doing this is our blog, but we've been looking for ways to improve and provide a wider variety of news.
We have added a new page to our web site on which we will publish RSS feeds from safety related publications. Our intention is to provide a one-stop summary of electrical safety news and then use our blog to highlight the more important or interesting stories. The new page is:
Electrical Safety News (http://www.labelprinters.org/electrical-safety-news.php)
I don't know how well this will work out. We are still working to identify additional publishers that offer RSS feeds... and I'm not sure that the RSS feeds that are available are kept current. But we thought we'd give this a try and see what happens. As always, your comments and suggestions are welcome.
Labels: Electrical Safety
Monday, June 04, 2007
Electric TV Provides Electrical NewsEasy-to-watch online video clips have quickly become the fast way to share updated information across the Internet. NECA and IBEW have jointly launched a new video web site www.ElectricTV.net. It provides people searching for data on electrical construction a source of electrical information using the latest streaming video technology.
Jointly funded through our National Labor-Management Cooperation Committee, ElectricTV presents streaming videos formatted as segments of a televised news magazine. These segments show online viewers how NECA contractors work with IBEW electricians to consistently surpass owners’ and end-users expectations. The site also provides articles in PDF format about the electrical and information systems industries and construction in general.The current videos include a "Spotlight on Skill" that covers arc flash hazards; a segement on the electric grid in North America discussing its viability for the future; and a feature story on the new Portland, Oregon tram.
Plans are to update the site at least six times per year.