Statistics From “Engineering Safety” NSW
From 2005 to 2015 there were on average 11.6 people burned working on or near electrical apparatus each year from arc faults. The average percentage body burn for the incidents was approximately 6.4%. To put that into perspective your whole hand is approximately 2.5% of your body. Only 2 of the 129 patients were female and the average patient age was 37 years. Of those injured 78 of the 129 required admission into one of the specialist burns units for treatment with the rest treated as outpatients. The following chart outlines the electrical equipment involved contact with overhead power lines generally did not involve electrical workers and included the only fatality in 2006 where the patient suffered burns to 75% of their body. Burns from live cables resulted primarily from cutting, drilling or digging activities. Incidents involving work on switchboards or electrical equipment accounted for 81 of the 129 incidents.
Incidents and Electrical Equipment Type
Overhead Powerlines: 13
Live Cables: 27
Safework NSW General Duty Rules
• Current version 1 July 2016 chapter 3 Part 3.2 Division Clause 44, in accordance with clause 36
• The person conducting the business must ensure the correct PEE is worn at the workplace, that is suitable to the nature and possible exposure hazard
• The person conducting the business, must ensure people are properly trained in the correct use of the PPE
• The PPE equipment must be maintained and replaced to minimise risk?
• If non arc rated garments are in use and a clothing fire ensues from an arc incident, then above general duty rules would have been breached?
Statistics on burn injury costs from the USA (American Burn Association)
Burn injuries of 40% to 60% body
Average hospital stay for survivor: 54 days
Average hospital stay for fatality: 21 days
Average cost of a survivor – $780,000
Additional costs could come in the form of lawsuits, productivity losses, work safe fines and insurance claims.
“I thought it was safe!”
• Unathorised re-energisation or other failure of the isolation and lockout procedure
• Errors in equipment identification due to orientation, wiring misreads, or even document errors.
• According to industry studies, approximately 50% of electric arc incidents involve energised conductors and parts that were thought to be NOT ENERGISED.
• Low level energy is where most arc incidents occur
• Arc Rated Flame Resistant Clothing, can eliminate clothing fires?
• Is a head-to-toe system
ENA NENS 09-2014
• National Guideline for the selection, use and maintenance of PPE for electrical Arc Hazards, was updated after AUSGRID, ran arc testing at Lane Cove, this testing revealed 100% cotton could be ignited at very low energy levels
• Previously 100% cotton was deemed suitable for electrical personal to wear