Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News
Blog Author Steve Hudgik
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
OSHA Announced Two New Online Tools For Electrical ContractorsThe following is a press release issued today by OSHA. You'll find the online tools discussed in this press release at: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/electricalcontractors/index.html
WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) today added two new modules to the Agency's "Ergonomics Solutions for Electrical Contractors" e-Tool. The modules, developed with input from the Independent Electrical Contractors, Inc. (IEC), as part of the OSHA and IEC Alliance, include safety and health information for Installation and Repair, and Prefabrication processes.
"Employees in the electrical contracting industry have benefited greatly from information in our Ergonomics Solutions e-Tool," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke, Jr. "The new modules are another proactive effort to educate employees on how to improve safety and health in the workplace."
The e-Tool offers potential solutions to ergonomic hazards that electrical contractors may encounter. The Installation and Repair module describes hazards encountered by employees who often dig trenches and pull and feed wire. It includes information on potential tendon and nerve problems that may result from using hand tools such as pliers, crimpers, and side cutters. Further, the module provides solutions to help industry professionals reduce the risks associated with electrical installation and repair.
The Prefabrication module discusses ergonomics-related hazards including heavy manual lifting, repetitive movements, and awkward or stationary positions. It lists possible solutions to reduce these hazards as they relate to various activities such as bending conduit, cutting and spooling wire, and welding and assembly tasks.
E-Tools are "stand-alone," interactive, web-based training tools on occupational safety and health topics. They utilize illustrations, graphical menus, and expert system modules, which enable the user to answer questions, and receive reliable advice on how OSHA regulations apply to their work site.
Labels: Electrical Injuries
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Ferraz Shawmut Arc Flash Paper Wins AwardThe following is a press release from Ferraz Shawmut
Paper Written by Ferraz Shawmut's Wilkins, Lang and Allison Wins First Place at PCIC Conference
IEEE recognizes authors for "Effect of Insulating Barriers in Arc Flash Testing"
NEWBURYPORT, MA — Three Ferraz Shawmut engineers and researchers were recently honored for an insightful paper presented at the 2006 IEEE Industry Applications Society Petroleum and Chemical Industry Technical Conference. "Effect of Insulating Barriers in Arc Flash Testing," was named the first place prize paper from last year.
IEEE recognized authors Robert Wilkins, Mike Lang and Malcolm Allison at an awards luncheon on Sept. 17 in Calgary, Alberta, held in conjunction with the 54th Annual IEEE IAS Petroleum and Chemical Industry Technical Conference.
"Words alone can’t describe our gratitude to the IEEE, IAS and PCIC for this recognition, and our company is truly fortunate to employ such talented individuals as Robert, Mike and Malcolm," said Ken Hooper, senior vice president of sales and marketing for Ferraz Shawmut. "These continued research efforts give us greater knowledge of arc flash hazards, which can make the electrical industry safer. There's nothing more important than finding better means of protecting people."
Determining award-winning papers involved multiple levels of evaluation:
•At least four technical reviews were conducted for each IEEE PCIC paper before the conference. Technical reviewers scored papers based on: reader interest, reference value, originality, conciseness/clarity, and layout/format/figures.
•The chair for the technical subcommittee sponsoring the paper also provided a technical review summary.
•At the conference, each paper received 10 oral reviews from audience members immediately following its presentation. Oral reviewers scored papers based on: visual aids, oral presentation and audience participation.
•The technical session moderator also submitted an oral review.
•Scores were tabulated for all 42 papers presented during the conference, and the PCIC Executive Subcommittee and Papers Review Subcommittee, about 150 people, voted on the 10 best papers.
•The Papers Review chair and vice chairs reviewed the results and presented the top six papers to the PCIC Executive Subcommittee for approval.
"Recognizing exceptional achievements and contributions is an important part of the mission of the IEEE, the Industry Applications Society, and the Petroleum and Chemical Industry Committee," said H. Landis Floyd II, advisory and awards subcommittee chair. "We extend heartfelt congratulations on this recognition of dedicated contributions to the electrical engineering profession."
To view Ferraz Shawmut’s paper, "Effect of Insulating Barriers in Arc Flash Testing," visit http://us.ferrazshawmut.com/resources/articles-white-papers.cfm.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Power Magazine Report on IEEE/NFPA Collaboration on Arc Flash PhenomenaBen Johnson and Jack Wells, the Steering Committee Cochairs for the IEEE/NFPA Collaboration on Arc Flash Phenomena reported on their committee's research plans in an article in the February 2007 issue of Power Magazine.
You can read the article at: http://www.powermag.com/ExportedSite/Archives/Archives.htm
This research effort is described as:
"The IEEE/NFPA Arc Flash Collaborative Research Project is a multiyear effort encompassing more than 2,000 test protocols."
"The initial phase of the project will explore published and unpublished information on arc flash and blast to build a coherent picture of what is known about these phenomena. This will lead to a research and test plan that seeks to tie the electrical characteristics of equipment to arc-fault hazards. The program will go well beyond what was done in the past. For instance, most arc fault studies to date have involved controlled conditions and stabilized arcs between opposing electrodes. In real life, turbulent arcs often occur between parallel electrodes and vary by several orders of magnitude along their length and with time."
The research will look at the physics of arc flash phenomena, as well as aspects of arc flash that go beyond thermal testing to include measuring "the intensity of IR, visible, UV and other potentially injurious electromagnetic energies." It will study blast effects and evaluate shrapnel and molten metal ejected during arc faults. It will also research toxic and corrosive particles and vapors that result from arc flash.
Monday, October 15, 2007
ScienceDirect:: Arc Flash and Organizational IssuesI generally don't post links to science papers that require a fee in order to read the paper. However, this paper looked particularly interesting and the area of study so important that I thought it worthwhile.
The paper is on the ScienceDirect web site and is titled: "Reducing non-contact electric arc injuries: An investigation of behavioral and organizational issues"
The abstract states:
"This study fills a vacuum in electrical training with a focus on the organizational and behavioral aspects of arc flash incidents. The research is cross-cutting in its scope, in that the results apply not only to mining and construction, but many other industries employing electricians."
Labels: Preventing Arc Flash Accidents
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
NEC Digest Survey - Field Marking Electrical Equipment for Arc Flash HazardsThe NEC Digest has published the results of a survey they conducted earlier this year. An article, in the August issue of NEC Digest states:
"The requirement for field-marking electrical equipment to warn of potential arc flash hazards was first added to the National Electrical Code (NEC) in 2002. We at necdigest wanted to know where, in your jobs, you see these warning labels applied, what information they contain, and how you determine arc flash energy levels for your facilities. So we sent out an email survey, and here’s what you told us."
It was surprising to see that the survey found only 14% of equipment installed before 2002 had arc flash warning labels, and only 52% of the equipment installed in 2002 and later had arc flash labels.
You can read the summary of the survey on the NEC Digest web site.
Labels: Arc Flash Labeling
Monday, October 08, 2007
Protect Your Employees From Arc Flash - FREE Training VideoARLINGTON, Va. PRNewswire-USNewswire -- An arc flash can happen without warning and occurs much too fast for you to react. The heat released during an arc flash can reach as high as 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit, hotter than the surface of the sun. Large arc flashes can cause an explosion noise loud enough to cause hearing loss and injuries from being thrown back from the electrical explosion.
To better address this issue, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) has teamed with NIOSH and the Centers for Disease Control to distribute Arc Flash Awareness, a DVD training course, available in both English and Spanish. The DVD includes basic information about arc
flash awareness and contains the first hand accounts of three electrical workers who were severely injured in arc flash accidents.
Surprisingly, it has just been in recent years that the term "arc flash" has garnered much attention. Many companies have started to raise awareness about the problem. Some companies, however, do not think that arc flash is a serious concern because they have not yet had an arc flash incident.
An arc flash can result from the spontaneous failure of equipment during normal operation or from accidentally bridging two live electrical contacts with a conducting object, like a metal screwdriver or wrench. Other causes may include the improper use of electrical multimeters, poor
housekeeping that allows the buildup of conductive dust, or severe corrosion that allows connections to break.
How large is the problem?
- According to CapSchell, Inc., a Chicago-based research and consulting firm that specializes in workplace injury prevention, there are five to ten arc flash explosions every day in the United States.
- The final cost to employers and their insurers for a single, serious injury can approach $10 million. (CapSchell)
- 2,000 workers are admitted annually to burn centers for extended injury treatments caused by arc flash, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
- A recent study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined 17,101 injuries were caused by electric arc flash burns between 1992 though 2001.
With statistics like this, companies cannot afford to ignore electrical safety issues surrounding accidental electrocution from arc flash explosions.
For more information on Arc Flash or to order a copy of the Arc Flash Awareness DVD visit the ESFI Library on the ESFI's website, http://www.electrical-safety.org or call ESFI at 703-841-3229.
The videos may be downloaded free from the NIOSH web site at: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/products/product152.htm
Labels: Arc Flash Training