Arc Flash & Electrical Safety News

Blog Author Steve Hudgik

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Number Of Arc Flash Fatalities - Checking With MSHA

Last week I mentioned that I've been working to compile arc flash fatality and injury statistics for a number of years.  The numbers that I come up with are far far less than are commonly reported in magazine articles and news stories.  Recently I've tried contacting authors of articles asking them for the source of their numbers, with no response.

These blog posts are republished in a number of places. There was a response to my question in a another blog that had republished last week's post. The response suggested I check the MSHA records as those are not included as a part of the OSHA data.  I track MSHA accident reports for other reasons and had not noticed a great number of arc flash incidents reported, but I thought I'd do a search of their accident database to see what I could find. Here are the results:

September 8, 1965 - (Mine not identified)
An electrician was fatally burned from an arc occurring in the control equipment for a ball mill.

October 18, 1968 -  Colonial Mine
An electrician was severely burned by a 7200 volt electric arc that he died on October 26,1968.

September 8, 1993 - Stauffer Chemical
Victim was injured seriously and burned on September 18 when struck by an arc formed by the short-circuiting of a 44,000 volt ac feeder line in an electrical substation and knocked about 20 feet from a crossarm to the ground. He died on September 30, 1973.

October 31, 1995 -
Phelps Dodge Morenci, Inc.
An electrician was fatally injured when he was shocked and severely burned by an electrical arcing fire while troubleshooting problems with control power. The victim died of his injuries on November 1, 1995.

June 07, 1997- Burro Chiefe Copper Company
An electrical supervisor was fatally injured while testing a 480 volt electrical circuit breaker. An arc phase fault occured at the breaker, resulting in a flash that injured the supervisor and two other miners. The supervisor died on June 8, 1997 due to injuries sustained in the accident.

January 03, 1991 - Cantera Carraizo
Victim was severely burned on January 3 by an electrical arc and explosion when the metal band of a paint brush he was using to clean the dust inside of a magnetic starter came in contact with the energized terminal. He died on January 4, 1991.

March 23, 2003 - Energy Plus, Inc. Number 50 Mine
A section foreman was using 2-phases of the 480- volt, resistance grounded, 225 amp output, on the section power center to detonate explosives during construction of a boom hole. This resulted in an electrical arc that produced intense heat, resulting in serious burns to the victim's hands and face. The victim died on April 10, 2003 from complications due to these injuries.

May 23, 2002 - Calvary Coal Company Mine No. 4
An electrician sustained fatal injuries when he was burned by an electrical arc at the female receptacle of a shuttle car. He died on June 27, 2002.

May 23, 2005 - Turquoise Ridge Mine
A 48 year-old electrical foreman, with 15 years mining experience, was fatally injured on the surface of an underground gold operation. The victim was working near an energized high voltage conductor when apparently an arc flash occurred.

October 12, 2006 - United Plant Mine
A 24-year old maintenance coordinator, with 1 year and 4 months mining experience, was fatally injured at an iron ore operation. The victim was troubleshooting an electrical fault in a high-voltage motor control center when a sustained arc blast occurred.

Is it possible that arc flash (arc blast) injuries are not being properly described and thus don't show up in database searches?  What this data says to me is that, while fatalities are not numerous, arc blast incidents are very serious.  Every effort should be made to prevent any type of arc flash or arc blast injury.  However, let's also be using statistics that are correct. The statistic I continually see is that arc flash kills one to two people per day, 365 days per year.  The actual number appears to be no more than two fatalities per year, not per day. If anyone can shed some light on the data that backs up the one to two fatalities per day number, I'd appreciate it.  The place to post a reply where I'll see it is: http://blog.labelprinters.org/2012/11/numbers-of-arc-flash-fatalities.html


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posted by Steve Hudgik | This Arc Flash Post and 2 Comments |

2 Comments:

At 4:59 AM, Anonymous Amy K said...

I recently ran across a paper on the CDC’s website that investigated arc flash in the mining industry. It was a two part investigation that reviewed 836 electrical arcing incidents reported to MSHA over an eleven year period (1990-2001) resulting in three fatalities and over 12,000 lost work days.

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/mining/UserFiles/works/pdfs/rncea.pdf

 
At 6:05 AM, Blogger Steve Hudgik said...

Amy: Thank you for the information. That matches up with what I've been finding. The number of fatalities is much lower than reported in various articles, but arc flash injuries are very serious.

 

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