ICE CO. SPOTLIGHT

The Spotlight will highlight topics spanning industry news, safety, product and equipment reviews, codes and much more! We look forward to a dialogue with you.

What is an Arc Flash

Friday, October 23, 2015

What is Arc Flash?

An arc flash is an explosive burst of heat and light, caused by a sudden, uncontrolled electrical arc (or current passing through the air). Temperatures may reach as high as 35,000°F in just 1/1000 of a second, vaporizing metal, causing fatal burns, and generating a blast wave that can collapse workers’ lungs and rupture eardrums. Shrapnel, toxic gases, and intense UV rays can cause additional injuries. Arc flash accidents can kill in an instant, or cause a long, slow, and painful death. Even non-fatal injuries from an arc flash may require months or years of medical care and therapy.

What Happens in an Arc Flash?

An arc can begin whenever a conductive object gets too close to an exposed current source. Dropping tools, opening panels on deteriorated equipment, inserting or removing components from an energized system, and even a rodent infestation can provide an opportunity for an arc to begin.

If that arc has enough energy, it can continue to ionize the air around it. This ionization reduces the electrical resistance along the path of the arc, allowing the arc to draw even more current. As more and more energy flows through the arc, the process builds on itself, and in a moment the arc becomes an arc flash.

The primary source of injury in an arc flash is the burst of heat. Just like lightning, an arc flash releases an enormous amount of heat energy in a very short time. That heat also melts and vaporizes the materials around it, such as wiring and metal equipment panels, as well as drastically raising the temperature of the air nearby.

As this material heats up very quickly, it expands to create a pressure wave, just like thunder. That pressure wave can scatter the broken and melted fragments of equipment like a spray of bullets. Even after the immediate blast, the vaporized material can form a cloud of toxic vapor, mist, and dust. Arc flash is one of the more dramatic electrical accidents, and is often deadly where proper safety precautions have not been taken.

Steps for Arc Flash Safety

Preventing arc flash accidents or minimizing their impact requires a comprehensive safety program, involving both electrical workers and management. The following steps should be taken to ensure worker safety.

First, perform an electrical risk assessment. Use the guidelines in NFPA 70E and IEEE 1584 to identify and assess electrical shock and arc flash hazards throughout your facility.

Determine protective boundaries for electrical equipment. NFPA 70E recommends Limited and Restricted Approach Boundaries to protect workers from electric shock and a separate Arc Flash Boundary to protect them from burns in the event of an arc flash. Employees should keep outside these boundaries during ordinary work.

Identify equipment and components that present a significant risk of arc flash. The NFPA identifies the following types of frequently-affected equipment:

  • Switchboards
  • Panelboards
  • Industrial control panels
  • Meter socket enclosures
  • Motor control centers

Next, ensure all potential arc flash hazards are properly labeled. Warning labels that inform workers of potential hazards are a key part of arc flash prevention. The National Electric Code (NEC) Article 110.16 addresses arc flash protection, stating that affected equipment  ”shall be field marked to warn of potential arc flash hazards...." In addition, NFPA 70E requires that arc flash labels contain information specific to each piece of equipment, detailing the exact hazards that are present.

Pre-printed arc flash labels can be used, although pre-printed labels must be modified in the field to include the required information. A better option is to print custom arc flash labels on-site. Specialized software can track and organize the information for each label, such as available incident energy, approach distances, and required Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Labels should be kept legible and up-to-date, since arc flash hazard levels can change any time your electrical system is modified.

Finally, make sure that workers are adequately trained. Any employees who will work on electrical equipment need to be aware of the dangers of arc flash, understand the warning labels and signs, and know how to select and use the appropriate PPE.


Halloween Safety

Thursday, October 30, 2014

                               

Happy Halloween blog readers! As you may know, Halloween is one on the congested days of the year. Here are some tips to keep your family and others safe!

Stay off your phone! Admit it; you probably have answered the phone while driving. It is very important not to be texting and driving Halloween night. There will be a ton of people running around in dark clothing that will be hard to see, and you don’t need any extra distractions. So stay off your phone and pay extra attention!

 

As trick-or-treaters, it’s important to look before crossing the road! Use some sort of Lighting while trick or treating this Halloween so other people and drivers can see you. Reflective tape, flash lights, and glow sticks are a great way to light up. Glow sticks can be a great accessory for your costume. Plus, the dollar store sells them! You know you can spare a dollar for safety.

 

Walk in large groups to stay safe. Halloween is a spooky night! Don’t let the ghouls and goblins get you. Did you know malls pass out candy to trick-or-treaters? Outlet malls are a great place to trick-or-treat. It’s very safe and you get to see a lot of cool costumes!

 

Please trick-or-treat responsibly!



Smoke Alarm Safety

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

 

Clear the air with these smoke alarm facts!

 

Did you know?

Three out of every five home fire deaths happen in homes where there are no smoke alarms present, or no working smoke alarms. Most home fire deaths occur because people are sleeping when a fire breaks out.

 

Why take the chance?

By having a working smoke alarm, the chances that it will wake up the occupants of the home and allow them to get out safely, is greatly increased! Prepare your home against the dangers of smoke inhalation with the right equipment, proper installation and an exit plan. 

 

 

Types of Smoke Detectors

There are many smoke alarm brands, but which is the best? All of these brands fall under two basic types: ionization and photoelectric. Each one detects a different type of fire – but since no one can predict what type of fire may start, the USFA recommends that every home install both types of alarms or a dual sensor smoke alarm.

 

A dual sensor alarm contains both photoelectric and ionization sensors. There are even smoke alarms equipped with strobe lights and vibrations to alert those who are unable to hear a standard alarm. 

 

 

 

 

Where To Place Smoke Alarms

Be sure to place an alarm everywhere that needs protection – every floor! Each bedroom and hallway outside of the bedrooms needs a smoke alarm on the ceiling. The manufacturer’s instructions will offer more assistance on the best place to put your alarm. Know when to call in an expert - only qualified electricians should install hardwired smoke alarms. 

 

 

 

 

Create Exit Plans

Finally, take the time to create and learn exit plans with the whole family. Every room should have an exit plan – the quickest and safest way to get outside. Be sure to practice these exit plans, especially if you have younger children! This will help them to remember the exit strategies in case of an emergency.

 

Keep it safe and remember to make Summer 2014 memorable!


Summer Fun

Saturday, May 31, 2014


The WARMER it gets the CLOSER it gets...


And you KNOW what that means.....





June, July & August are packed full with fun water activities, family vacations, and some much needed R&R!!


Water activities are great ways you can cool off and keep active during these next few months, which makes this is the perfect time to remind our fellow readers about the simple tips that we all easily forget on the long wait to summertime.




SAFETY BY THE WATER,

 SAFETY IN THE WATER,

AND NEAR THE WATER, 

SAVES LIVES!!!



"TEN people die EVERYDAY from drowning!!! One in five of those people are CHILDREN ages fourteen and younger. Drowning ranks 5th among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States." -Centers for Disease Control and Prevention




A less common, but incredibly deadly danger when it comes to swimming, is electrical shock. Pool lights can have faulty wiring or can have products that are not properly grounded. If a person is not killed immediately from the shock, they can be rendered immobile and unable to call for help, resulting in drowning.




When looking for electrical hazards, keep in mind:

-          Underwater lighting/faulty wiring

-          Aging or neglected wiring

-          Underground pumps, washers or vacuums

-          Electrical products near a pool that could potentially fall in (IE. Radios)


Always be ALERT & ACTIVE during all water activities. It can make the difference!!


(Interested in more facts regarding Water-related injuries in the United States? Check out this articleUnintentional Drowning: Get the Facts)

Make pool safety a priority in 2014!


GFCI Receptacles Keep You SAFE

Thursday, March 27, 2014

About 200 people in the U.S. alone die of ground faults each year, accounting for two-thirds of all electrocutions occurring in homes. Keep reading to learn more about keeping you and your family safe!

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are used to protect people from electrical shock. If a person’s body starts to receive a shock, the GFCI senses this and cuts off the power before he/she can get injured. The GFCI will “sense” the difference in the amount of electricity flowing into the circuit to that flowing out, even in amounts of current as small as 4 or 5 milliamps. The GFCI reacts quickly (less than one-tenth of a second) to trip or shut off the circuit.



Click 
here for more information on what a ground fault is and how a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter can protect you!



GFCIs are generally installed where electrical circuits may unintentionally come into contact with water. GFCIs are required by the National Electric Code in all new kitchens, bathrooms, crawl spaces, unfinished basements, and most outdoor receptacles.



GFCI outlets should be tested on a monthly basis.
Simply, plug in a light fixture and turn it on. Then push the device's test button. If the light stays on, the GFCI needs to be replaced.

 

Is your GFCI receptacle needing replaced or you want a GFCI receptacle installed, ICE Co. is here to help you!

Power. Current. Grounded.



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