What is Arc Flash?

By Pat MacNally BSc.(Hons.) Quality Management, MBS S&H, Compliance Manager at Premium Power Ltd.

Arc ash is perhaps the least understood, and yet one of the most dangerous hazards in the workplace. This article sets out to raise awareness about this hazard, its potential consequences, and some of the legal duties of employers. It also discusses some of the factors to be taken into account during risk assessment, and some of the possible measures to mitigate arc ash risks. 

“Of the many inputs to an arc flash risk assessment, undoubtedly one of the most important is the calculated prospective arc incident energy at the working distance.”

An employer needs to ensure that employees and contractors have the knowledge and understanding necessary to be able to recognise arc ash hazards which can arise during work, the associated risks and the precautions to be observed. They need to understand how arcing might be initiated, the potential consequences, and the measures to be taken to prevent arcing and to mitigate the consequences in the event of a flashover.