Arc Flashes – Not for those of a nervous disposition

What are Arc flashes?

Arc flashes are caused when electrical energy jumps between two conducting materials. The massive amount of energy released creates light and heat that can be beautiful but also very dangerous.

Arc flashes have their uses!

With small, controlled voltages electrical arcs can be useful and are used in many industries. The light produced is harnessed in arc lamps and open electrodes, while the heat is used in arc welders. As the voltage increases however the unpredictability and danger increases exponentially. The electrical arc flash is a real danger to any workers that are exposed to these high voltage situations and can maim or even kill. The below videos demonstrate how not to act around high voltage equipment.

The massive amount of energy released can melt metal and turn the resultant gases into plasma. The major danger with arc flashes is the resultant explosion from the expanding gases. There are 4 types of arc flashes including:

  • Open Air Arc Flashes
  • Ejected Arc Flashes
  • Equipment Focused Arc Flashes (Arc-in-a-box)
  • Tracking Arc Flashes

Each of these requires its ow safety procedures and equipment.

However no matter how careful you are, no matter what safety equipment or procedures you put in place electrical arcs are an always-present danger. The below video shows how even the largest companies can feel the sting of electric arcs.

But with the right electric arc protective clothing everything will be all right.

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