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Can you afford an electrical injury?

Julie Copeland

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Arc FlashElectrical shock is the 2nd leading cause for lost work time (Burns #1)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS):

  • Arc flash injuries are not counted in the Electrical shock statistics (they are noted under burns), meaning that the true rates are even higher;
  • 2,000 workers are treated in specialized burn trauma centers each year as a result of arc flash injuries;
  • Every 30 minutes a worker suffers an electrical injury that requires time off;
  • Electrocution is the 5th leading cause of work place fatalities in the US.

What this means to the employer in terms of cost

Equipment, Litigation, & Medical Cost Associated with Electrical Hazards

• Monetary cost can easily exceed $1 million, which includes the costs of equipment replacement, downtime, and insurance.

• Medical costs for severe electrical burns can exceed $4 million per person

• Work-related injuries can cost businesses well over $30 million in fines, medical costs, litigation, lost business and equipment costs


Morale Impact Associated with Electrical Hazard

• About 80% of electrically related accidents and fatalities involving “Qualified Workers” are caused by arc flash / arc blast. Even trained experts get hurt!

• 21% of electrical injuries (including arc flash) tended to be permanent.

• U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics determined arc flash injuries accounted for 77% of all recorded electrical injuries.

Training and the use of proper personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial in protecting employees from injury. Training should cover the care and use of the PPE, giving the qualified worker the empowerment to make life safety decisions.     A good rule of thumb for Arc Flash protection is to use PPE that has an arc rating equal to or greater than the calculated incident energy.

Machines are prone to issues and unpredictability. Common sense tells us that workers need to wear protective gear when working in close proximity to potentially dangerous electrical equipment. Why then is it that many workers (even very qualified and experienced ones) aren’t more vigilant in donning PPE. We’ve heard the excuses that they feel that PPE slows them down and that they think the repair will be quicker without. Don’t allow your employees to spend the rest of their lives regretting that thinking.

OSHA is very specific on employer and employee responsibilities when it comes to electrical hazards and PPE.

1910.335(a)(1)(i): Employees working in areas where there are potential electrical hazards shall be provided with and shall use electrical protective equipment that is appropriate for the specific parts of the body to be protected and for the work to be performed.

1910.335(a)(1)(v): Employees shall wear protective equipment for the eyes or face wherever there is a danger of injury to the eyes or face from electric arcs or flashes or from flying objects resulting from electrical explosion.

Arbill is ready to assist you with any and all facets of your Arc Flash program We not only supply all classes of Electrical Gloves and PPE that can help reduce the injuries sustained from Arc Flash, we also offer services including Electrical Safety Assessments, NFPA 70E audits and all related signage, labeling and documentation.  Contact your Arbill representative to learn how to reduce workplace injuries. Subscribe to our blog here and visit arbill.com often.

Topics: Electrical Safety/LOTO

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