Workplace Health and Safety Queensland recently issued a safety alert following an incident in which two electrical workers suffered burns following an arc flash.
They were working in a switch room with an LV main switchboard, and initial enquiries indicate electrical work was being done on the switchboard metering when the incident occurred.
The following month, an electrical worker was injured working near energised electrical parts in a switchboard.
Early investigations indicate he may have been trying to move cables in the switchboard that stopped the escutcheon panel closing.
The alert said effective control measures for arc flash related incidents are often made up of a combination of controls.
Always test before you touch and never assume parts of electrical equipment are de-energised, and the alert said to turn off the power to the entire switchboard, even if this means rescheduling the work to another time.
A safe system of work or safe work method statement for managing the risk of arc flash should include:
Risks can be further minimised by implementing administrative and personal protective equipment (PPE) controls. Examples include:
“Adopting and implementing higher-order controls before considering administrative or PPE controls will significantly reduce the likelihood of a similar incident occurring. The control measures you put in place should be reviewed regularly to make sure they work as planned,” the alert said.