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Arc Flash Safety Training: Are Your Employees Up to Date?

According to Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), exposure to electrical current accounted for 2.6% of all workplace fatalities in 2017. Arc flashes are a part of that statistic. This dangerous yet preventable event claims lives, property, and potential from industrial workers and their employers every year.

But what is an arc flash and how does it make industrial work more dangerous? How can arc flash training prevent these deadly occurrences? If your workers are already trained, what are some reasons that workers should be periodically retrained?

What is an Arc Flash?

An arc flash is one of the products of an arc fault. An arc fault occurs when a high voltage electrical current discharges between two conductors. This most commonly occurs when industrial wiring is not correctly grounded. The discharge produces a large amount of heat that wears down the protective plastic coating around the wires.

When the voltage from an arc fault is high enough, it can cause an explosion. An arc flash is the intense light and heat that results from this explosion. The electrical fire ignites oxygen molecules in the air around the event, which produces a short but violent and widespread flash with temperatures up to 35,000 °F. Anything in the vicinity of an arc flash can be instantly vaporized, set on fire, or otherwise severely burned. Those who are looking directly at the arc flash without proper eye protection can experience long-term vision loss.

Industrial workers are at high risk of encountering arc flashes. In settings with a lot of mechanical equipment, it’s more likely that an arc fault will occur. Workplaces that store and use flammable chemicals also experience greater risk of catastrophic arc flashes.

Controlled arc flashes are often used for lighting and in some welding techniques. The intense heat they produce is uniquely useful for cutting and forming certain metals. The bright light of arc flashes power floodlights, searchlights, and large film projectors.

The Importance of Safety Training

Many industrial accidents are preventable. Arc flash training gives industrial workers the tools and knowledge they need to reduce deadly missteps.

  • Basic electrical safety is the first step in preventing arc faults. In a safety training seminar, workers learn how to identify potential problems and make them right before they can cause a fire.
  • Sloppy procedure is a big problem in industrial settings. Workers who cut corners to save time or inconvenience are one of the main contributors to accidents. During safety training, instructors highlight the importance of following protocols and give workers many reasons why they should stick with the safety routine.
  • PPE (personal protective equipment) is an important part of arc flash safety. Workers often don’t understand which pieces of equipment are right for the conditions they are in. Safety instructors teach workers all about the appropriate PPE for their workplace.
  • Improper equipment use is another contributor to arc flash conditions. In a safety training, industrial workers get a detailed review of how to use the machines and tools on their job site. They also get first-hand practice in how to operate their equipment in the safest way.
  • Controlling the environment is essential in reducing all kinds of industrial accidents. Disorganized work areas make accidents inevitable. However, it isn’t just about putting things in their proper place. During safety training, instructors show learners how to make their environment safe while they work with electrical current.

These are just some of the important lessons industrial workers learn in a safety training seminar. These lessons are designed to reduce harmful arc faults, blasts, and flashes.

Why You Should Retrain

Even if your workers have already earned their safety certification, there are some important reasons why they should revisit those lessons periodically.

  • Over time, workers lose their focus. They may start to become more relaxed in their safety habits, which can lead to accidents. Retraining reminds them of the dangers of inattentive work.
  • As technology evolves, new equipment and techniques require new safety procedures. Retraining ensures that your workers are up-to-date on the latest methods.
  • When your operation upgrades its equipment, procedures naturally change. Safety retraining is a chance to show workers how to us the new equipment in the safest way.

The 2018 Arc Flash Electrical Safety seminar from NTT Training is based on the NFPA 70E. This hands-on training takes place on your site under the guidance of an experienced instructor. Your workers will learn everything they need to know to reduce the chance of catastrophic accidents involving arc flashes. Contact our representatives today for more information.

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