Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News
Blog Author Steve Hudgik
Thursday, January 21, 2010
News From Australia - Company Fined For Arc Flash InjuryThe following is a press release from the government of South Australia:
A Whyalla electrical contractor has been convicted and fined today over an incident, in which a young trainee suffered burns that resulted from an arc flash. In delivering his penalty to ICE Engineering and Construction Pty Ltd, Industrial Magistrate Michael Ardlie said: "The defendant failed in its obligations to a very junior worker. Whilst it had safety systems in place, those safety systems were not utilised."
The SA Industrial Relations Court heard how in April 2007, the then-17 year old male had been engaged as a trainee with the defendant for just three weeks. At the time of the incident, he was at a local business helping with work on a circuit distribution board. When he used an insulated copper wire to touch a live part of a circuit breaker, an arc flash resulted which knocked the youth to the ground and burned his face, neck and arms. While he required hospital treatment, he has since returned to work and remains with the employer.
The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 19(1) of the Occupational Health, Safety and Welfare Act 1986 in failing to provide a safe system of work and appropriate information, instruction, training and supervision.
The court heard that on the day:
• the trainee was supervised by a third year apprentice, not a qualified tradesperson
• no job safety analysis had been done on the tasks the trainee was to do
• the trainee had no understanding of the operation and design of the board and its components.
Magistrate Ardlie fined the company $15,000 after a discount of 25 per cent for its early guilty plea, contrition and remedial action. However he declined an application by the defendant not to record a conviction saying: "The incident … has served as a reminder to the defendant that although it may have systems in place, it does need to implement those systems at a practical level in relation to each work site it attends, especially given the environment in which it works."
SafeWork SA Executive Director, Michele Patterson says it reinforces the view that any workplace safety system must be consistently followed in order to be fully effective.
"Statistically young workers are always at greater risk of harm, and coupled with the hazard of electricity, this incident should emphasise to the electrical services industry that young workers should always enjoy the full protection of a diligently applied safety regime."
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Using Ultrasound To Prevent Electrical Failures
An article by Mark Goodman, UE Systems, Inc., showing how ultrasound can be used to detect electrical failures, appears in Reliable Plant Magazine. It describes how portable instruments can detect potential failures and reveal arc flash conditions -- allowing the arc flash to be prevented.
The article opens by describing how this is possible:
"Arcing, tracking and corona emissions produce ionization. Ionization, a process by which a neutral atom or molecule loses or gains electrons, thereby acquiring a net charge and becoming an ion, occurs as the result of the dissociation of the atoms of a molecule in solution or of a gas in an electric field. Ionization has by-products: ozone and nitrogen oxides. These combine with moisture to produce nitric acid, which is destructive to most dialectics and certain metallic compositions, resulting in corrosion. Airborne/structure borne ultrasound technology is ideally suited for detecting these emissions since the ionization process produces ultrasound."
You can find out how this works and read the entire article in Reliable Plant Magazine.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Incident Prevention Magazine - Confused About Arc Flash Compliance?An article in Incident Preventation magazine reveals that electric power utilities are struggling when it comes to developing implementing arc flash protection and prevention plans. The article states:
"A recent survey conducted by Incident Prevention indicated there is no standard method for developing and implementing electric utility arc flash implementation plans. In particular, survey participants identified four areas of uncertainty:
• Selecting and utilizing appropriate engineering software to calculate arc flash data.
• Selecting standard working distances for various types of work performed.
• Developing engineering controls and work rules to reduce energy levels.
• Identifying and developing processes to manage secondary arc flash conditions."
The article looks at each one of these. You can read the entire article at: http://www.incident-prevention.com/component/zine/article/124-confused-about-arc-flash-compliance.html