Are Your Workers Protected from an ARC Flash Hazard?

| June 27, 2016

To get an understanding of what an Arc Flash is, imagine this scenario: a linesman is working on a transformer from his bucket truck, when he accidentally drops a tool that produced a simple spark. That spark triggered a full-blown tragedy…an arc flash occurred.

What’s an Arc Flash? An Arc Flash – also known as an arc fault or arc blast – happens when a dangerous release of energy is created by an electrical fault and a flashover of electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to the ground. When the second conductor is a person, the results are often violent; serious injury and even death can occur as a result. Arc flashes can produce blast pressure high enough (upwards of 2,000 lbs. per square foot) to knock down humans and propel objects through air. Arc temperatures can reach 35,000° F, hot enough to melt metal and send the droplets flying. Resulting sound blast decibel level can rival that of a gunshot.

What causes an Arc Flash? There are several ways to cause an arc flash and most are due to an unsafe work environment. Common incident cases included dust, dropping tools, accidental touching, condensation, material failure, corrosion, and faulty installation.

MSAMSA provides harnesses designed to help keep workers safe. To help protect workers at heights, MSA offers an Arc Flash full body harness which maintains its integrity in the event of an arc flash occurring and the worker falling. To keep workers safe around electrical hazards at heights, such as on bucket trucks, scissor lifts or other elevated areas, MSA premium EVOTECH® and value Workman® Arc Flash Full Body Harnesses provide workers with excellent arc flash protection in a sleek design combined with lightweight technology, while also providing comfort that can last for long duration work hours. The harnesses are designed to self-extinguish quickly to prevent melting or dripping in the event of an arc flash. They will perform as intended according to ASTM F887 and prevent the “burnt” worker from falling out of the harness.

MSA EVOTECH Arc Flash Harness: The EVOTECH Arc Flash Harness provides outstanding arc flash protection for utility company employees and contractors who work at heights. Its rugged design looks good on the job and is 30% lighter than comparable harnesses. Made from 100% Kevlar® webbing, the EVOTECH Harness is fire-resistant, so it maintains its performance in the event of a fall after an arc flash. The inherent properties of the harness help to maintain its color, making formal inspection easy. Designed to provide more comfort for the user, the Kevlar shoulder padding has no binding edge. Our patent-pending horizontal leg strap design conforms to the user’s body for increased support.

MSA Workman Arc Flash Harness: The Workman Arc Flash Harness provides excellent arc flash protection in a sleek, black design that’s lightweight and comfortable. It’s the economical choice for workers needing protection for arc flash and fall arrest. The high-strength nylon is designed to maintain its integrity after exposure to an arc flash and in the event of a fall. The Workman Arc Flash Harness is a cost effective option for safety managers and contractors who need to be compliant to the latest electrical requirements without breaking the budget.

Arc Flash accidents occur daily. In the United States alone, there are between five and ten arc flash accidents every day, with more than 3,600 disabling electrical contact injuries each year. What is frightening is that due to the violent nature of an arc flash exposure, when a worker is ten feet from the blast site, fatal burns can still occur. And when an employee is injured, the injury is serious – sometimes even fatal.

When safety is on the line, trust MSA, the Safety Company, because simply put, safety is what we do! MSA EVOTECH or Workman Arc Flash Harnesses are designed to help protect electrical workers who are working at heights. For more information or to schedule a no cost safety evaluation, please visit MSAsafety.com, Keyword: Arcflash or call 800-672-2222.

MSA Safety800-672-2222
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Category: Industry News