Grounded! How to deal with arcing
By T Roes, Martec
Electricity+Control, September 2013 (pages 28 – 32)
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Without downplaying the role that arc suits play in preventing arc flash-related injuries, or the role of other essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – a relevant question is - if an arc suit is the last line of defence, then what is the first?
Should there not be more interest in technologies that play a dual role – perhaps technologies that were originally intended as reliability enhancement tools, pointing out electrical defects at their earliest stages? It just so happens that the by-product of these technologies is reduced risk of arc flash. Seems like a winner and should hopefully seem so to any practical thinker in a maintenance management position. These ‘win win’ technologies are already being used successfully in South Africa everyday.
This is not to suggest that the technologies discussed in this article will eliminate every instance of arc flash – and therefore PPE remains critical. There is no ‘crystal ball’ which will predict the exact moment a flashover will occur. There is also no one perfect technology that can be relied on in all instances. We can however do the best we can, with technologies already available, to protect those exposed.
- To a large extent, the possibility of arc flash can be predicted.
- Arc flash injury can be very serious.
- Various instruments and techniques exist to allow proper condition assessment of plant.