Testimonials

PPE for Arc Flash Protection

You’ve been asking for our help with your PPE needs, we’re happy to announce we’re now providing our customers with the convenience of Arc Flash protection clothing, rubber insulated gloves, and double-insulated hand tools.

These are high quality products, made here in the USA, and our customers receive a discounted corporate rate on all products. With our corporate account, there are no contracts or minimum orders, next day shipping, as well as customizable orders.

PPE Kits available that are specially designed to meet NFPA 70E ARC Flash PPE Categories:

  • Category 2
  • Category 3
  • Category 4

Click here to learn more about available products.

Contact us for your discount authorization code to begin ordering your PPE:
Call:  (877) 252.2626 ext. 157   | Email:  PPE@jacmangroupsafety.com

Arc Flash PPE and COVID-19

The article explains how sharing PPE can be at higher risk of being exposed to the Coronavirus, and goes on to discuss how long the virus survives on PPE and how it can be cleaned properly. See the link below to the full article.

How the electrical industry must work together to reduce the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Sharing is not caring… when it comes to arc flash PPE. For decades, workers have been sharing arc flash personal protective equipment, including suits, hoods and face shields but — to protect the safety and health of our workers — this age-old practice must stop immediately.

Workers who share PPE are at a higher risk of being exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19. In this regard, sharing is not caring. Actually caring about our workers requires employers to issue individually assigned equipment. Any PPE, tools, or equipment that must be shared among workers must first be cleaned and disinfected before each use.

The best way to protect workers from cross-contamination is to stop sharing arc flash PPE. Suit hoods and face shields are particularly high-risk due to their proximity to the worker’s mouth and nose. Every time you exhale, cough, or sneeze, your bodily fluids can be deposited onto the interior surface of the shield and/or fabric. Even outerwear garments, such as suit coats, can become contaminated when workers dutifully and conscientiously cough or sneeze into their arm. The safest solution is to individually assign all arc flash PPE, and prohibit workers from sharing any PPE that cannot be effectively cleaned and disinfected before each use…

“… the safest, most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases and keep our workers healthy is to individually assign arc flash PPE to every worker requiring it. We must all work together to help stem the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Click here for the full article “Stop Sharing Arc Flash PPE” from EC&M.

Preventing and Minimizing Arc Flash Risk

Following OSHA regulations and using good design can reduce the risk of damage to workers and equipment from arc flashes.

Arc flashes present a serious hazard involving electrical equipment that is more common than many would believe. Due to OSHA’s reporting requirements for arc flashes, they are under-reported or not reported at all. No one is certain how frequently they occur, but some sources estimate there are five to 10 electrical equipment explosions (aka arc flashes) each day in the U.S.

Most reports on electrical-related injuries focus on shock and electrocution, rather than arc flashes in which explosive forces, heat, and gasses cause the injuries and deaths, according to the National Fire Prevention Assoc. But research conducted across burn centers show arc flashes cause 34% to 55% of all the electrical burns received on the job.

It has been estimated that more than 2,000 workers are admitted to burn centers annually to be treated for severe arc-flash burns, and arc flash incidents kill one to two people every day. In addition to injuries and fatalities, arc flash also carries significant financial costs. Medical treatment for arc-flash injuries costs an average of $1.5 million per incident, which is borne by the factory owner. This makes arc-flash prevention and risk reduction a high priority when designing electrified equipment.

Labels indicate boundaries around electric enclosures and levels of personal protective equipment  for working inside it.

Arc Flashes vs. Arc Faults

An arc flash is the explosion caused by a phase-to-phase or phase-to-ground short circuit. Arc flashes emit extreme heat, intense light, and violent pressure blasts. In comparison, an arc fault is the high-power discharge that causes the short and triggers an arc flash. Arc faults can be caused by several different conditions, including a faulty wire, a loose fuse, a tool dropped into a live cabinet, or even personal contact with live components.

Arc flashes pose a significant risk for bodily harm from the force of the explosion, heat of the blast, and the corrosiveness of the gasses. Physically, the pressure of the explosion can be as much as 10,000 psi, which compares to the force of a high-speed collision.

In addition to its explosive force, arc flashes carry high temperatures and can reach up to 35,000°F, which is hotter than the surface of the sun. Arc events also create noxious and corrosive gasses that, if inhaled, increase the chances of catastrophic injury or death.

Arc-Flash Regulations and Standards

The Occupation Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the governing body that regulates workplace safety, including arc flash prevention, equipment labeling, and use of personal protection equipment (PPE). Specific standards related to arc flash include OSHA 1910.137 for electrical protective equipment and OSHA 1910.269 App E on protection from flames and electric arcs.

 The National Fire Prevention Association’s standard NFPA 70E covers safety-related work practices, maintenance requirements, and special equipment requirements. Companies that comply with NFPA 70E must conduct an Arc Flash Risk Asessment, sometimes called an Arc Flash Study or Arc Flash HazardAnalysis. The review determines safe work practices, arc-flash boundaries, and appropriate levels of PPE to be used.

Underwriters Laboratory also has a standard specifically for industrial control panels and switchgear (manufactured and modified). It covers control panels intended for general industrial use and operating at 600 V or less. Equipment meeting this standard is installed in “ordinary” locations in accordance with the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70.

As the governing body for workplace safety, OSHA regs are the driving force for compliance in the U.S. Manufacturers that do not meet the regs can be fined by OSHA and lose their insurance. With OSHA issuing fines and penalties when workers are put at risk for arc flash injuries, a common misconception arose that the agency enforces NFPA 70E. Although companies are not specifically required to comply with NFPA 70E, it acts as an outline on how to ensure compliance with OSHA’s arc flash safety regulations.

A Closer Look at NFPA 70E

NFPA 70E sets arc flash boundaries for organizations, including keeping 3 ft away from cabinets with electrical circuits running at less than 750 V and keeping 19 feet away from cabinets holding circuits running at 15,000 to 36,000 V. Boundaries are delineated by tape or a chain and show the safe distance from cabinets for workers without PPE.

Arc flash boundaries vary with the risk level and the voltage of the equipment. For instance, a “limited” range is for minimal shock hazards from electrical overarcs; a “restricted” range is for increased shock risks; and a “prohibited” range entails significant risks of direct contact with electrified components. Ranges for these boundaries are outlined in NFPA 70E table 2-1.3.4. and OSHA 29 CFR,1910.269 table R6.

Energized panels or boards must be marked with a danger or warning label that indicates the potential hazard and the level of PPE required (from 0 to 4). Category 0 PPE requires cotton, untreated fiber shirts and pants, safety glasses, and hearing protection. It warns against wearing polyester or synthetic fabrics near the equipment that could melt This category is for areas with the lowest potential for an arc flash event, but the standard warns against wearing polyester or synthetic fabrics that could melt near the equipment. At the other end of the spectrum, Category 4 protection includes an arc-rated suit, along with protection for face and head, hands, eyes, and hearing, as well as a hard hat and appropriate footwear.

Reducing the Risks

To minimize the possibility risk of an arc flash, follow OSHA’s lockout/tagout procedures. When followed closely, they can protect workers from hazardous energy release and from the unexpected energization or startup of machinery and equipment.

Lockout/tagout requires that machinery be turned off and disconnected from its energy source before anyone performs maintenance on it. It mandates that authorized individuals either lock or tag the energy isolating device(s) to prevent the release of hazardous energy. An authorized person must also take the required steps to verify energy has been isolated effectively. Lockout devices hold energy-isolation equipment in a safe or off position. They prevent equipment from being energized and can only be unlocked with a key. Tagout devices feature prominent warnings that are fastened to energy-isolating equipment to warn workers not to reenergize the equipment while it is being serviced. Details for using tagout devices are listed in the OSHA standard, The Control of Hazardous Energy (Lockout/Tagout), Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations Part 1910.147.

 The safest way to work on any panel is when the panel is turned off. If lockout/tagout is done correctly, maintenance staff can safely work on electric panels without risking exposure to arc flash.

An arc flash assessment, another required safety measure, determines both the potential and intensity of an arc flash. Calculations done in these assessments (found in IEEE 1584, Guide for Performing Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations) helps in creating appropriate training and procedures for anyone working with energized electrical parts, switches, breakers, or other equipment.

To minimize arc flash risks, it is critical to understand that NFPA 70E standards make it easier to comply with OSHA regulations. NFPA 70E outlines proper training and  procedures and PPE standards for manufacturers and their maintenance staff. In addition, engineers can design arc-flash prevention into enclosures so that they serve as the first line of defense. Using the isolated box approach, customized with appropriate accessories, manufacturers can prevent unsafe access inside enclosures. As manufacturers look to improve efficiency and safety of their operations, developing and executing proper arc flash prevention standards will ensure the health of their staff and their bottom line.

 

Click here to read the entire article from Machine Design.

“I Hear You Knocking . . . But You Can’t Come In!”

Check out this months article from Employment Law Monthly, written by Melanie D. Lipomanis, an Associate on the Employment Team at Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C.

I Hear You Knocking . . . But You Can’t Come In!

The time to plan and implement procedures for handling a worksite inspection is definitely not when the Occupational Safety and Health inspector, known as a compliance safety and health officer (“CSHO”), is knocking on the door. Frequently, employers permit CSHOs to expand their inspection to areas in the workplace that are not specifically related to the injury or illness under investigation. Since the inspectors can cite any violations they see in “plain view” regardless of the purpose of the inspection, permitting them unfettered access to the entire worksite can lead to additional citations and penalties.

In United States v. Mar-Jac Poultry, Inc., the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit held that OSHA could not expand the scope of a narrow injury-based inspection to a facility-wide general inspection based on the employer’s OSHA 300 injury and illness logs.

In her article she lays out the Facts, Impact of Mar-Jac, and Employer Takeaway from this case.

Facts: Mar-Jac operates a poultry plant in Georgia. In 2016, an employee was hospitalized after being burned by an electrical arc flash. The employer reported the incident as required under OSHA regulations. OSHA’s initial inspection uncovered the potential for other electrical hazards in the poultry plant. OSHA sought to expand the scope of the inspection to cover the entire facility and search for additional hazards in the plant that had no relation to the electrical accident whatsoever, including ergonomics, biological hazards, and slips/falls.

The employer consented to an inspection of the specific worksite and tools involved in the electrical accident, but refused to allow inspection of any additional areas or hazards. OSHA applied for and was granted a warrant to inspect the entire facility. Mar-Jac filed an emergency motion to quash the warrant.

Procedurally, in a warrant application, OSHA must establish probable cause by providing reasonable suspicion that a violation exists. OSHA argued that Mar-Jac’s OSHA 300 injuries and illnesses logs created reasonable suspicion of hazards which suggested the existence of violations. The Eleventh Circuit rejected this argument, holding that a recorded injury or illness does not by itself demonstrate that it resulted from an OSHA violation. The Court distinguished hazards from violations, and explained that the existence of a hazard does not necessarily establish the existence of a violation. OSHA must show a violation to demonstrate reasonable suspicion in a warrant application.

Impact of Mar-Jac: Mar-Jac reinforces that there are limits on OSHA’s inspection authority. OSHA cannot expand its inspection of a facility based solely on the existence of an injury or hazard. Rather, OSHA must proffer additional evidence to support its reasonable suspicion of a violation. Although Mar-Jac is an Eleventh Circuit decision and not binding precedent in other jurisdictions, it does offer a valuable lesson for employers to reasonably limit their consent for inspection to the specific area or tools involved in the reported injury or illness.

Employer Takeaway: Employers are entitled to Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches and seizures of their workplaces, including inspections by OSHA. Accordingly, a CSHO must obtain either the employer’s consent or an inspection warrant prior to any inspection of the employer’s premises. Frequently, the CSHO will arrive at the worksite unannounced, and unarmed with a warrant. Employers do not want employees to make an all too common mistake of throwing the company doors wide-open when they absolutely have no obligation to do so. The initial contact is the first opportunity the employer has to negotiate with the CSHO to limit the scope of the inspection and control how the inspection process will be carried out. This is where the employer’s advanced planning really will pay off.

Section 8(a) of the OSH Act provides: “OSHA may inspect at reasonable times any workplace during regular working hours and at other reasonable times within such reasonable limits and in a reasonable manner.” During the initial consultation, the employer should try to come to terms with the CSHO regarding the reasonableness of the scope and limitations of the inspection, i.e., define the equipment, and/or area of the worksite that is to be inspected by the CSHO. Once that is established, the employer should confine the CSHO’s access and travel routes to only the areas within the scope of the inspection. The CSHO’s physical access to the premises should be with a management escort only, including the company compliance officer during any walk around and sample collection activities.

The CSHO has the right to interview employees as part of any inspection, however, the employer is entitled, and should insist, to be present for the interviews of any management employees.

Click here for the complete article.

 

 

OSHA Cites Contractor after Employees Suffer Burns from an Arc Flash

U.S. Department of Labor Cites Tennessee Contractor
After Two Employees Burned at Nuclear Power Plant

SODDY DAISY, TN – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Day & Zimmerman NPS Inc. for exposing employees to electric shock hazards at the Tennessee Valley Authority Sequoyah Nuclear Power Plant in Soddy Daisy, Tennessee. The company faces $71,599 in proposed penalties.

Two employees pulling electrical cable suffered burns from an arc flash. OSHA cited the Chattanooga-based company for failing to require that employees wear protective clothing and equipment; conduct pre-job briefings with employees on energy source controls; removal of a ground and test device; and allow potential for residual electrical energy to accumulate.

“These serious injuries could have been prevented if the company had implemented effective work practices to reduce the risk of electric shock hazards,” said OSHA Nashville Area Office Director William Cochran.

Click here for more information and to read the news release directly from the U.S. Department of Labor

OSHA reviews cause of two arc flash accidents, finding they could have been prevented if the workers performed a simple test

In both cases the workers did not test to verify the equipment was actually deenergized before beginning the work- they believed it was, and that could have cost them their life. If they had taken the extra time to perform a simple test, these accidents could have been prevented.

Summary from ISHN of OSHA analysis of two arc flash accidents:
–In the first case study, an electrician was working on a circuit breaker panel that he thought was deenergized. After completing the work, the electrician was closing one of the enclosure doors when an arc flash occurred. Electric current from the energized panel moved through the air to the closed panel door. The rapid release of energy caused the panel door to fly open, hitting the worker and knocking him unconscious as the panel continued to arc.

Although the electrician believed that all power had been deenergized from the electrical panel, OSHA said this incident could have been prevented by voltage testing the electrical panel before starting work. Taking the time to perform a simple test can ensure workers’ safety.

Often arc flashes occur when reenergizing panels after maintenance. Proper cleaning is one method of reducing this hazard.

–In the second case study, an electrician and a coworker were retrofitting dated equipment, installing new buckets on a switch gear. The electrician mechanically disconnected the switch, but he did not test it to verify deenergization. As he attempted to remove the switch from the switch gear, an arc flash occurred. The electrician was severely burned and suffered acute respiratory stress.

OSHA said disconnecting the switch was not sufficient to prevent the flow of electricity through the equipment. The equipment should have been voltage tested to verify that it was deenergized before beginning work, as all sources of power to the equipment were not secured.

We cannot say it enough, it’s so important to always test to verify equipment is deenergized before starting any work. You must assume it’s live and wear the proper PPE to perform the test. Take those few extra minutes. It can safe your life.