Use of arc suppression blankets can help reduce arc flash/blast injuries. When properly installed, arc suppression blankets absorb or deflect heat and blast energy emitted from an arc event, reducing the event's impact on workers.
We all know the data. Typically, one third to one half of our field injuries are musculoskeletal disorders such as strains and sprains, rotator cuff syndrome, lower back disorders and tendonitis. Workers’ compensation costs for these injuries far exceed those for acute incidents such as burns, cuts and even fractures.
NESC-2012 change proposals have been published and are available for comment through May 1, 2010. Subcommittee 8, Work Rules Sections 40-44, is responsible for the changes to Part 4 of the NESC. The main change proposal includes a requirement for employers to determine potential electric arc exposures for employees who work on or near lines, parts or equipment 50- 1,000 volts. NESC-2007 does not specifically require employers to perform an arc hazard analysis on low-voltage systems so this will be a major change for 2012.
To be absolutely clear – there is an arc hazard in the utility workplace. There is also a need for protecting employees with arc protective clothing. If you are responsible for hazard mediation, you should have an arc protection program or at least a plan to begin a program. Regularly, people call me and ask what they should do about NFPA 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace; and therein lies the problem. NFPA 70E is not the solution to utility arc flash hazards.
Even the safest among us will occasionally veer off the road to safety excellence and encounter an incident. When this happens, the best management practice is to identify and correct the cause(s) so that you can get back on track and avoid future mishaps.
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