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 Post subject: Arc Flash - Statistics
PostPosted: Thu Dec 01, 2011 7:32 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:27 pm
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Hi Guys!

Do you know where I can find updated statistics on ar flash accidents? I need the latest numbers (statistics) about accidents, deaths and injuries in the United States and/or World. Can anyone help me?

Thanks.

Wagner (Brazil)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2012 7:52 pm 
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Location: San Antonio, TX
Updated Arc-Flash Statistics

I also would like to have current arc-flash statistics. I have been doing some research but nothing so far.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:47 pm 

Joined: Tue Nov 09, 2010 5:00 pm
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Location: Virginia
I'm drawing a blank as well. All I know is the traditional 5 to 10 accidents a day that has been getting quoted for many years. I'm wondering how accurate those older statistics are - i.e. were all arc flash accidents classified as an electrical accident or just an industrial burn.

Be curious to hear if anyone else has any info.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2012 6:05 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:04 pm
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Burn center admissions

I also hear, on occassion, that there are 2000 electrical burns admitted to burn centers per year. I wish I had a reference because I'd use this statistic more formally, but I don't


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 7:55 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:01 pm
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Location: Beaverton, OR
Workplace fatalities must be reported to OSHA. In 2010 I researched the complete list of OSHA fatalities for the 12 month period July 2009 through June 2010. There was one arc flash fatality reported. I posted a report on my blog at:

http://blog.labelprinters.org/2010/08/how-many-arc-flash-fatalities-are-there.html

I also monitor news reports daily for incidents of arc flash. Most reports come from local news sources that don't know what a arc flash is. A typical report might say "there was an explosion in an electrical panel with an unknown cause." Typical reports I see are (these are from last Friday):

Small explosion in a church:
http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/137226783.html

Electrical vault explosion - unknown cause:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2012/01/12/ottawa-donald-street-fire-report.html

I then need to judge whether the report is of an actual arc flash incident. Overall I'd estimate that I see an average of 1 to 2 arc flash incidents reported per day, with 2 to 3 injuries reported per week. Please note, this comes from public news sources, so I don't consider this to be "scientific" quality data on the number of incidents. My guess is that many (maybe most) industrial incidents do not show up in news reports.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:06 am 

Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:01 pm
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Location: Beaverton, OR
I should mention that my news monitoring includes the English speaking world. Most reports come from U.S., U.K., Canada and India, with India probably leading in the number of reported injuries. I say "probably" because I've not been keeping a formal count of either incidents or injuries.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:35 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:00 pm
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Nice work, sir. I always thought the Arc Flash statistics were extremely exaggerated. There is a school of thought that a lot of people have that you can never go wrong exaggerated how dangerous something is. The school of thought goes "tell them it's super-dangerous so they'll be extra careful".

I don't subscribe to this school of thought. In my opinion, if you exaggerate the danger of everything, workers won't know what the serious dangers are. If you tell them that everything is super-dangerous, it'll be like the boy who cried wolf, and they'll tend to doubt you on everything. If you tell them Arc Flash kills multiple people every day, and then they find out that the number is much, much lower, they will doubt the veracity of everything else you've told them.

That's my two cents. I was researching the Arc Flash statistics myself for an introductory course I'm writing at the moment.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:21 am 
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Location: New England
If we can't obtain good statistic, how do we know Arc Flash is working, or when the rules surrounding arc flash have achieved their goal. Arc Flash costs US companies millions each year. We should know that there is value in the rules, and we should also know when the rules are sufficient and need no more enhancements. The goal is to protect as many as possible, as much as possible, but with a balance of cost. I see arc flash evolving into a scientific study of never ending changes and have no idea if those changes are actually accomplishing any real statistical difference.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:20 pm 

Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:04 pm
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haze10 wrote:
If we can't obtain good statistic, how do we know Arc Flash is working, or when the rules surrounding arc flash have achieved their goal. Arc Flash costs US companies millions each year. We should know that there is value in the rules, and we should also know when the rules are sufficient and need no more enhancements. The goal is to protect as many as possible, as much as possible, but with a balance of cost. I see arc flash evolving into a scientific study of never ending changes and have no idea if those changes are actually accomplishing any real statistical difference.


If anything, good acting companies are becoming believers in shutting down being their best way forward (historically, there has been abuse of the feasibility exception). I also believe hardware solutions will get cheaper. I couldn't agree with you more, though; it's unfair to ask businesses to comply with a standard without evidence that it's a good investment or even the right thing to do. If the anecdotal two burn unit admissions per day due to electrical flash in the US holds up (that is, if they are actually shown to be arc flashes and not electrical incidents of other types included), that might be enough to push forward, but many companies cannot afford arc flash studies.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2012 4:23 pm 

Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 7:15 am
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Location: St. Paul, MN
twm22 wrote:
Burn center admissions

I also hear, on occassion, that there are 2000 electrical burns admitted to burn centers per year. I wish I had a reference because I'd use this statistic more formally, but I don't


I don't know where those number originally come from, but they are in NFPA 70E 2012 Annex K. The problem with Annex K is that is hasn't been updated at list since the 2004 edition of 70E (that is the oldest copy I have). The statistics must be from prior to 2004 for them to be included in that standard. Since there has been such a large emphasis on arc flash since 2004, it would be nice to know if the numbers have changed significantly.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2012 5:48 pm 
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This data was from a paper was from Dr. Mary Capelli-Schellpfeffer and appears in: Industry Applications Magazine, IEEE Issue Date: Jan.-Feb. 2005. I'm not sure if there is anything newer or not. I would hope the data has improved but I don't know.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 1:58 am 
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I am looking for updated stats on Arc Flash related incidents too and finding it extremely difficult to find meaningful usable data. I, like a lot of people here, have reservations about using exaggerated numbers as that is wrong in my opinion.
Why do we think there is a shortage of data on Arc Flash incidents in the work place? Is it because injuries can be mis-classified as burns? Or is it that companies themselves dont know and just file the injuries as electrical incidents - which leads to a much more serious issue of lack of knowledge and hence lack of safety training surrounding arc flash in the work place!!


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2012 6:31 am 
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Location: Michigan
[font=Tahoma]This data is difficult to extrapolate since there is not a category specifically called “arc flash” and injuries can be coded under either burns/corrosions or electrocution/shock depending on which is more severe.[/font]

You can access the Bureau of Labor Statistics Illness, Injuries, and Fatalities (IIF) webpage at [url='http://www.bls.gov/iif']http://www.bls.gov/iif[/url]. You can also contact them directly to request specific information [url='http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcont1.htm']http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcont1.htm[/url].

There is some good info compiled by the Electrical Safety Foundation International using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics available for download at [url='http://www.esfi.org/index.cfm/pid/10272/cdid/index.cfm']http://www.esfi.org/index.cfm/pid/10272/cdid/index.cfm[/url].


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 6:49 am 
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Thanks A King - I will look into that. I am based in Ireland and in Europe the data situation is worse than the US as Arc Flash is not treated the same way as in the US. In the EU, the onus is on providing a safe workplace more than anything else. So even the arc calculations etc. are only done mainly by US companies driven by their parent organisations. A lot of other companies might just lockout out live switchrooms and manage the problem out like that. A lot of them just dont know about the issue which is worrying in itself!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:38 pm 
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premium_power wrote:
Thanks A King - I will look into that. I am based in Ireland and in Europe the data situation is worse than the US as Arc Flash is not treated the same way as in the US. In the EU, the onus is on providing a safe workplace more than anything else. So even the arc calculations etc. are only done mainly by US companies driven by their parent organisations. A lot of other companies might just lockout out live switchrooms and manage the problem out like that. A lot of them just dont know about the issue which is worrying in itself!


Sounds good except the act of opening a disconnecting device is precisely the time at which an arc flash can occur. I don't see how you can simply avoid doing it altogether.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 12:21 pm 
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I was looking for fresh arc flash statistics as well, and I came across an article at http://exiscan.com/electrical-safety-arc-flash-statistics

The part that caught my attention was that arc flash fatalities are often classed as burn injuries not as electrocutions. If that is so, it is going to be that much harder to get new meaningful information regarding arc flash injuries and deaths.


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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 7:31 pm 
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ESFI actually parsed the reports. According to their data over a little more than a decade, the incident rates have down by 60%. That is a significant improvement. I also noticed from perusing the data that the industries with the highest accident rates have changed.


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