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 Post subject: Arc Flash Kills!
PostPosted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 8:33 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2007 5:00 pm
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Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
I tell this horrible story a lot when I am conducting Arc Flash Training.

Many statistics have been published about arc flash injuries and deaths, and every one of those statistics has a name and a family.

Earlier in my career, while working on the design of a power distribution system for a large manufacturing facility, I got to know Henry, the maintenance manager, rather well. He was married, had a very upbeat personality and a good position at the company, and was pleasant to be around.

One day, during routine testing procedure, Henry became an arc flash statistic. He was trying to track down a low voltage problem and was conducting voltage measurements of a 4,160V to 480V dry type transformer on an upper level mezzanine. He took off the transformer cover, knelt down in front of it with a meter to test the 480V side and....... got the 4,160V side. The fire ball shot out and since he was kneeling, it hit him right at his torso and groin then rolled up his face.

I was called in to conduct the forensic investigation the next day. I interviewed many people that were at the scene and they said they heard a muffled bang and saw a flash up above. They looked up and saw Henry with burning clothing running down the catwalk, making his way down the ladder - still burning! They put the fire out and he was rushed to the hospital.

He received third-degree burns over a large portion of his body and like so many burn victims, he did not die right away. He died about 7 days later after a very long agonizing week.

From that moment, the way I viewed electric power changed forever.

If you work in this business long enough, you either know an arc flash victim or you know someone that knows a victim. Working on energized equipment can be a very dangerous business and NFPA 70E “Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace†and IEEE 1584 "IEEE Guide for Performing Arc Flash Calculations" have been developed to help drive down these grim statistics.

BE SAFE! ALWAYS FOLLOW SAFE WORK PRACTICES. WORK ONLY ON EQUIPMENT PLACED IN AN ELECTRICALLY SAFE CONDITION WHEN YOU CAN, AND WEAR CORRECT PPE WHEN YOU CAN"T

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:06 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:56 pm
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That is quite awful. I think most of us that work in the industry can relate. We all know someone that has caused a few sparks to fly. A few of us probably know people that were greatly hurt or worse. Be careful and be safe.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:05 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 7:10 pm
Posts: 261
Location: NW USA
Another story with different ending

We had completed labelling at a large plant, and a contract worker suited up to take a rotation reading from a transformer secondary. By mistake he went into the primary side, caused a large flash/explosion (I wasn't there) and apparently was not hurt due to the arc blast suit.

I am sure the ensuing paperwork was miserable, but at least the guy was okay.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 9:59 am 
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Gary - that's the kind of story I prefer to here. So many people grumble about the work required for the study and how uncomfortable PPE is but in the end, people might get to go home at the end of "A very bad day" when they have a study performed and use the correct PPE.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:15 am 

Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 5:56 pm
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Great Story Gary,
That is the kind of "happy ending" that people need to hear about when they question wearing PPE.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 8:42 am 
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Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2007 3:27 pm
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Location: Texas
Gary B wrote:
We had completed labelling at a large plant, and a contract worker suited up to take a rotation reading from a transformer secondary. By mistake he went into the primary side, caused a large flash/explosion (I wasn't there) and apparently was not hurt due to the arc blast suit.

I am sure the ensuing paperwork was miserable, but at least the guy was okay.


He is also the current winner of the Darwin award of this Forum.........


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