The Dangers of Arc Flash

NFPA 70E/Arc Flash Seminar

The Dangers of Arc Flash

Did you know? 2/3 of Arc Flashes are the result of worker error.

Arc flashes are some of the most deadly electrical incidents within our industry.

While arc flashes are entirely preventable when appropriate preventative measures are in place, an average of 30,000 arc flash incidents still occur every year.

A 2007 estimate placed the occurrence of these arc flashes at 5 to 10 events per day within the United States alone.

Almost all of these events result in injuries to employees, some of which can be deadly.


Arc flashes can be caused by even the smallest error. Anything from a misplaced tool to a loose rodent in the work area can set one off by decreasing the distance between two energized components.

This allows for a jump of energy to occur between the two components, creating the arc flash. Though equipment failure or other circumstances can bring about these flashes, over two-thirds of all arc flashes are the result of worker error.

In most cases, the worker simply failed to make sure the equipment was properly de-energized.


Arc flashes are, in essence, dangerous releases of electrical energy that ionize the surrounding air. This energizing of the air results in the emission of thermal and acoustical energy, along with a pressure wave and debris.

The size and energy of an electric arc flash varies widely depending on the amperage, voltage and closure time of the event, but any arc flash has the potential to cause serious damage to surrounding people and property.


The results of these incredible blasts of heat and pressure can be devastating to the health of anyone unlucky enough to be standing nearby.

A 2009 study concluded that injuries from arc flashes and other related electrical incidents resulted in a wide variety of injuries, ranging in severity from moderate to severe, with the most severe cases resulting in death.

Over forty-eight percent of these injuries were electric shocks, 19.3 percent were burns and 31.9 percent were strains, sprains, lacerations, fractures or hearing or vision loss.

What can you do to be better prepared?

There is an old saying; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the spirit of preventing accidents and injuries before they happen, we are hosting a one-day Introduction to Electrical Safety  and NFPA 70E on May 15th, 2018 in Hagerstown, MD.

This one-day instructor-led course provides a basic understanding of how to establish and maintain a safe working area relative to hazards arising from the use of electrical equipment; includes review of pertinent content from the NFPA 70E, 2018 Edition.

This course meets the mandate of training as prescribed in the NFPA 70E, 2018 Edition, Chapter 1, Article 110.2.


CapitalTristate is now an International Code Council (ICC) “Preferred Education Provider”. Did you know that our 2017 NEC Analysis of Changes Course is now an ICC approved course?

CapitalTristate is an ICC Preferred Education Provider