How Arc Flash Training Benefits Everyone in the Workplace
Arc flash training is an essential part of workplace safety. OSHA has established electrical safety rules to save lives. Yet, it might surprise you to learn that electrical professionals aren't the only ones who need this vital training.
Keep reading to learn how arc flash training benefits everyone in the workplace.
What Is an Arc Flash?
You may also hear an arc flash called a flashover. No matter what you call it, it's a dangerous event. It involves an explosive electrical discharge.
Arc flashes happen when energy gets released due to an arc fault. Arc faults happen when electricity propels through the air from one conductor to another.
Often, this powerful current connects to the ground. It's so powerful that it can cause serious burns and injuries. In a worst-case scenario, an arc flash can even prove lethal.
What Causes an Arc Flash?
In the workplace, there are a few things that typically lead to an arc flash. In most cases, arc flashes occur in facilities where there's no safety program. These incidents also happen where employees have been inappropriately trained about arc flashes.
It's not possible to completely eliminate these dangerous events. However, you can lessen the damage caused by arc flashes if all staff members recognize and practice safe procedures.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Electric Code (NEC) work together. They establish electrical safety compliance standards. Many of these events occurred due to non-compliance with these established codes.
For instance, employees may disregard lock-out or tag-out protocols. They may also fail to wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
Some incidents took place for other reasons. For instance, employees were provided with arc flash safety training that was inadequate.
Who Needs Arc Flash Training?
OSHA regulations determine who needs arc flash training. The agency's rules state that any worker who faces the risk of injury from electric shock and hazards must receive arc flash safety training.
This rule includes anyone who works near exposed or energized equipment or lines. These individuals should understand the hazards of working near this kind of equipment.
Ongoing training is also mandatory for these kinds of workers. Furthermore, companies must integrate this training into their workplace safety plan.
Other Training Considerations
Other employees might work near hazardous equipment but typically would not come near areas that present an arc flash hazard. Still, they require the right arc flash safety information.
These kinds of employees are classified as unqualified workers to handle electricity, machinery, or electrical equipment. Nevertheless, it's vital for them to know how to recognize hazardous situations.
Also, there are many other employees that OSHA classifieds as at-risk for arc flash hazards. These staff members might include frontline supervisors, equipment operators, and mechanical and repair personnel, among others.
Benefits of Arc Flash Training
Professional electricians would like to think that most people understand arc flash dangers when working near live electrical equipment. In reality, however, most people who are untrained in arc flash safety have no idea of the risk related to this kind of equipment.
A single mistake can lead to a fatal arc flash explosion. With the right training, however, this kind of incident is avoidable.
Arc Flash Training Establishes Minimum Safety Standards
Arc flash training establishes the minimum requirements to prevent dangerous electrical exposure. For example, many facilities have on-site maintenance personnel and electricians. Sometimes, these individuals must work on live equipment.
Imagine a repair person working in an operating room. They could find themselves in a situation where they can't turn off the electricity during a life-threatening operation.
Nevertheless, they must fix a problem with the upstream electrical distribution system. In a hospital setting, it's critical to maintain power.
It's crucial for individuals with this kind of responsibility to have the proper training. Without it, they could experience an arc flash that can lead to severe injuries or even death.
Arc Flash Training Protects Workers
Arc flash training also teaches employees about the minimum requirements for protecting their bodies from electricity. It teaches them how to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) properly.
With this in mind, organizations must conduct risk assessments. This kind of assessment is the only way that companies know how much PPE staff members need.
For example, employees might only need minimal PPE. Minimal PPE might include:
- Non-melting long pants
- A Non-melting long sleeve shirt
- Safety glasses
- Voltage rated gloves
- Voltage rated leather protectors
Conversely, staff members may need full-body electrical shock protection. Only with an arc flash hazard analysis can companies establish the appropriate level of protection needed for worker safety.
Better Workplace Safety Precautions
Companies apply arc flash labels to electrical components. This information enables qualified personnel to know what they need to know before performing work.
Arc flash training enables employees to better understand electrical labeling. For example, after training, they'll understand signage for hazards such as:
- Arc flash boundaries
- Incident energy levels
- Shock boundaries
- Working distances
After completing training, employees will understand this kind of information and more when viewing an arc flash label.
Access Lifesaving Arc Flash Training Easily
We hope that our brief guide has helped you see the importance of arc flash training. If your organization needs reliable arc flash training, we can help.
Compliance Training Online has worked with more than 30,000 businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions since 2008. Organizations around the world have selected us as their trusted source of compliance training. We're the highest-rated and most trusted source for arc flash training online.
Please feel free to contact us today to start the discussion about your online compliance training needs.
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