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Arc-Flash, Take 2

Thursday, January 17, 2013

As we learned in our last comic, open electrical panels are dangerous. To protect workers from these dangers, warning labels are required to be included on panels. The "Personal Protective Equipment", or PPE, required to keep the worker safe while working on the panel when it is energized is listed.

Having learned from his last encounter, the ninja wisely takes a moment to put on the appropriate PPE. Bad luck follows the ninja, and he is struck again with an arc-flash. He is lucky that he is wearing his protective clothing. Unfortunately, "lucky" has a very strange meaning in the world of electrical safety. The recommended PPE limits the injuries to second degree burns on the face and body. Any part of the body closer to the panel than face and body, such as the hands and arms, needs a higher level of PPE to prevent third degree burns. The ninja will live, but he still has a long road to recovery.

The best practice, and the way to prevent these burns completely, is to work on the equipment while it is de-energized.

Mark Robison, PE