Electrical work is an in-demand profession that requires careful attention to detail and in-depth safety measures to avoid various risks, such as arc flash injury. New electricians should have a thorough understanding of this injury before entering the field. Here, Leer Electric walks you through the steps to take in the event of an arc flash injury.
What Is Arc Flash Injury?
An arc flash injury can quickly happen if an electrical discharge travels through the air. When this occurs, an intense amount of energy is released, causing the arc to flash. This burst of energy is very dangerous and often stems from inadvertent contact between an energized conductor and another conductor or earthed surface. Arc flashes may also lead to immediate burns and severe injuries. Depending on the amount of energy within the blast, an arc flash might be powerful enough to knock electricians off of their feet. Potential arc flash injuries include:
- Heat burns
- Fire to clothing or skin
- Gas burns
- Injury from flying debris
- Concussion from the blast
- Broken bones from the blast
- Hearing loss
- Flash burns (vision damage)
With the risk of arc flash injury present in the electrical field, electricians must know how to respond and reduce these incidents. Researching and gaining a better understanding through other experienced electricians is an excellent first step towards better electrical safety. For example, Leer Electric offers various blog pages with safety tips for electricians.
What to Do When an Arc Flash Injury Occurs
Even if an electrician follows all possible steps to prevent an arc flash injury, they are still at risk of seeing the accident happen. Many services electricians provide expose the individual to live and active power sources, which often pose a risk of injury or electric shock. For this reason, you should know what to do in the event of an arc flash injury. The following details what you should do — and what you should avoid — if arc flash occurs:
What to Do
The first thing to do immediately after an arc flash is to shut off the power source. If the electricity cannot be turned off, use nonconductive materials and attempt to remove the affected individual from the electrical source as soon as possible. Once the power source has been turned off, the injured person or any bystander should call 911 immediately.
In extreme cases, if you are a bystander or have witnessed an arc flash injury and the person is unconscious, check for a pulse and begin CPR if necessary while awaiting help. If they have burns, run cool (not cold or hot) water over the burn area and cover with a clean and dry cloth.
Some effects of arc flash and electricity are not immediately apparent. Therefore, if you or another person has encountered an arc flash, it is important to see a medical professional as soon as possible.
What Not to Do
If you have witnessed an arc flash, and the electrician is still in contact with the electrical source, do not touch them. Making physical contact could lead to injury for you, as well. If the affected person is on fire, do not attempt to remove any clothing that is melted to the skin.
Additionally, avoid telling a conscious person to move, as this could exacerbate any neck or spine injuries that occurred. Attempting to move the individual could also make their injuries more severe. If the injured electrician is burned, do not run warm or hot water over them, and do not apply any ointments or burn creams. It is also important to keep ice or very cold water away from the burns.
Learn Additional Electrician Safety Measures at Leer Electric
If you are looking to pursue a career in the electrical field, Leer Electric provides you with the proper safety measures for the job. Current, new, and future electricians will benefit from additional information about arc flash injury and how to respond in this situation. Contact us today if you would like to learn more about electrical workplace safety and the services we provide to businesses and other clients in Central Pennsylvania.