Electrical safety has become a major concern in the North American power industry. Electrical accidents occur every day of the year. They can be extremely debilitating, or even fatal, depending on their particular voltage and amperage. As little as 80 milliamps of electricity can put the human heart into defibrillation or cardiac arrest.
Human error is the most common cause of electrical accidents, most of which occur during routine maintenance or troubleshooting. Whether it’s a slip of the hand, the dropping of a tool, covers, or panel trims, the falling of an enclosure accessory, or the disturbance of conductive dust, it doesn’t take much to bring about an electrical meltdown. A clear example of such a danger can be seen in the photo on the right, which was taken after a screwdriver was used to force open a defective disconnect cover. The tool accidentally contacted the 60 amp / 480-volt line side fuse holder--exploding the fuse. A simple accident like this can cause serious injury or even death.
The most serious electrical hazard is an arc flash, an explosive release of energy caused by an electrical arc. Typically, an arc flash results from either a phase-to-ground or phase-to-phase fault, which can arise from dropped tools, accidental contacts with exposed conductors, a buildup of conductive dust, corrosion, or improper work procedures.
Every year, thousands of workers are treated in hospitals and burn centers for electrical shock and/or severe arc flash injuries. The intense heat, light, and force emitted by an arc flash can cause injuries that may last months, years, or even a lifetime. Common injuries from arc flash include critical burns, collapsed lungs, blindness, hearing loss, puncture wounds--even death.
For more information regarding electrical safety, we recommend that you review the “NFPA 70 E - Electrical Safety in the Workplace” standard (www.nfpa.org) . This electrical safety standard covers the full range of electrical safety issues, from work practices and maintenance to special equipment requirements and installation.
An Easy Way to Reduce Risk
The Delta T Alert™ will effectively track your electrical system temperatures and send that data back to your computer hub for analysis and trending. If a critical issue arises, you’ll know about it in time to take the appropriate corrective action, before costly damage occurs.
Your building’s maintenance personnel and/or electricians will have an enormous safety advantage if they are warned, prior to any type of scheduled routine maintenance or troubleshooting, of possible electrical anomalies prior to accessing electrical enclosures.