The best way to prevent serious arc flash injuries is to not work on energized (live) equipment. One common misconception is that most electrical work is performed on equipment that is de-energized. Unfortunately, electrical work is performed on energized equipment on a regular basis. Though having an effective lockout/tagout system is an important component of arc flash safety, it is critical to recognize that equipment may be energized and following the appropriate safety measures could save time, money and lives. One of the most important principles of electric safety is to assume that all electric circuits are energized unless you make sure they are not energized before commencing your work.

Live voltage is required for an arc flash to occur. The best way to avoid a potentially devastating and costly incident is to remove that voltage from the situation altogether by de-energizing the circuits and equipment whenever possible. An arcing fault is the unintended flow of current through a medium not intended to carry the current, which means the electricity is flowing through something unintended such as the air. The arc flash is the resulting discharge of energy caused by the arcing fault. An arc flash can occur during the de-energizing process, making de-energizing a critically dangerous task.

As awareness grows of the dangers, arc flash safety becomes an increasingly vital part of facility safety standards and procedures. Being aware of the danger that arc flash presents in the workplace will help identify safety procedures that need to be followed to protect your employees and your company.

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