Monday, October 30, 2006

What's Arc-Flash?


Geocaching Electrical Safety

There are two types of electrical incidents that occur on and off the work site. One type is Electrical shock. (When current passes through the body) The other is Arc-Flash.
Please let me explain.

A large percentage of all injuries and fatalities caused by electrical incidents are not caused by electric shock, but by the intense heat, light, and pressure wave (blast) caused by electrical faults. The Arc-Flash in an electrical fault produces the same type of light radiation from which electric welders protect themselves using face shields with dark glass, heavy leather gloves, and full-coverage clothing. The temperature of an Arc-Flash can reach 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit – about four times as hot as the surface of the sun.

An example of an incident producing Arc-Flash is someone opening up an electrical panel or cabinet that does not know the dangers within and accidentally shorts (electrically connect) two phases together with the metal panel cover.

What are the effects of an arc flash explosion? The effects of an arcing fault can be devastating. The intense thermal energy can cause severe burns in a fraction of a second. The blast produced by vaporizing metallic components can break bones and irreparably damage internal organs.

I want to reinforce to you not to open any electrical covers of any kind to try to find or hide geocaches. I’ve seen the first hand results of what Arc-Flash does to people tampering with electrical panels. It’s NOT pretty.

We have so many other places we can hide our caches. Let’s stay away from electrical equipment.

Play safe.