Safe work practices around electrical equipment
Power line voltage from electrical equipment has enough power to cause serious injury or worse. When working near or around overhead lines, underground power lines, or other electrical equipment it is important for everyone to practice electrical safety.
Stay safe around power equipment; plan your work to make sure you are 7 metres away from overhead power lines, and get locates for any underground electrical infrastructure.
Consequences of coming into contact with electrical source
Electric shock, burns or Arc Flash burns that occur from direct or indirect contact with electrical infrastructure are serious injuries and could result in death.
Electric shock can cause damage to the nerves and organs in the body, especially the heart (can cause fibrillation).
Electric burns produced by contact with a power source can be mild, superficial, or severe depending on the circumstances of the contact. Exterior electrical burns can be misleading because most of the damage occurs underneath the skin. These burns tend to develop from the inside out and will continue to progress hours after the contact. They can result in loss of a limb.
Arc flash burns and injuries
What is an arc flash? Arc flashes are electrical explosions that happen when electric current flows through an air gap between conductors. Arc flashes expel deadly amounts of energy and can reach temperatures as high as 19,400°C — that's almost four times hotter than the sun. Even from a distance, that heat can set fire to clothing and burn human skin within milliseconds.
Arc flash events can ignite or melt clothing resulting in further burns, and can also cause burns to the eyes and respiratory tract. Victims often require grafts or amputations, death is a possibility with the increased severity of the burn and percent of body area affected.
Arc flashes also release explosive sound and pressure waves, sometimes with enough strength to knock workers off balance and rupture eardrums, causing hearing loss. The pressure blast of an arc flash can result in impact injury from being thrown, falling from a height, or colliding with nearby objects.