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    Arc Flash Protection & Safety

    Electrical arc flash protection is essential for safe and reliable operation of your facility’s power system. Find best practices on arc flash safety and mitigation here.

What Is An Arc Flash?

An arc flash is an electrical accident that creates a dangerous, high-temperature explosion.

An arc flash results from an arc fault. Arc faults are caused by electricity discharging between two or more conductors that are improperly connected, such as frayed wires. Dust or moisture can also cause arcing between conductors, which explains why high-voltage power lines will glow in foggy weather.

Use this Arc Flash library to learn:

  • Why an electrical arc flash happens

  • Steps for arc flash protection

  • How to optimize safety and reliability in your facility’s power system

An arc flash creates a dangerous, high-temperature explosion

Get expert tips on arc flash mitigation in our free white paper

Arc flash events can result in significant injury to workers. Learn how the most effective arc flash safety programs are those that look to incorporate “safety by design” and other techniques.
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Why Is An Arc Flash Dangerous?

In power systems with improper arc flash protection, when a person gets too close to a live conductor, the current can escape its conductor, travel across dusty or moist air, and reach the nearby person. Flipping an improperly configured switch can also cause an arc flash. These are just a couple possible reasons why an arc flash could occur.

An arc flash is dangerous: It can vaporize surrounding metal, set fires, create deafeningly loud noises, and result in severe burns. Although rare, arc flashes can have grave consequences. That’s why you need to ensure your people and site are always protected against an arc flash.

What Are the Goals of Arc Flash Protection?

An electrical arc flash can happen at any time during your power equipment’s lifecycle. Abnormal conditions, such as improper installation, excessive impurities, or failing equipment will increase the risk. Aside from the danger, an arc flash can also render equipment unusable and force extended downtime with serious financial consequences. One of the critical steps for optimizing safety is to use proper personal protective equipment (PPE).

PPE includes rubberized clothing that does not conduct electricity. PPE helps avoid bodily harm but it does not prevent equipment damage. This leads to the question of preventing an arc flash in the first place. The goal of arc flash protection is to reduce the amount of PPE and potential arc flash energy to levels that allow tasks to be performed on equipment in a smooth and unobtrusive manner.

Schneider Electric offers a number of arc flash mitigation solutions that make this possible, including switchgear, software, and circuit breakers for both passive and active arc flash protection. Our systems work in compliance with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70E: Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace.