Flash Suit (10-25-99)
 

Electrical Safety Flash Suit

Mike, I need to make up a procedure on when and where to use a flash suit for protection.
James Montana jmontana@herc.com

From: Albert Bradbury <albrad@erols.com
When a contractor I worked for received a contract to install the building electric at the Chrysler Plant in Neware, Delaware I found myself in the unenvious position of formulating electrical safety guidelines for the project. I already knew that there was no set rule for wearing nomex hoods and coveralls. Members of Local 313 have done the major refit work in the car plants here for years and we perform a majority of the heavy industrial work in the area. We have found ourselves in the position many times of having to work on electrical distribution equipment while the main feeders are still energized. The model I developed at the Chrysler job was full face and body flash protection when the person was working on any 480 volt or above equipment.

From: Michael White <Mwhite2690@aol.com
I work for Corbins Service Electric in Phoenix. AZ. Our hot work policy requires us to use a nomex suit with hood, safety glasses, helmet, with face shield any time we work on systems that exceed 150 volts to ground, or the AIC exceeds 10,000. We also have to be hot work trained, and CPR/first aid certified. We also must have an observer standing by with the same qualifications, and a non-conductive shepherds hook. On the higher potentials I don't think you can be too cautious when you have to work them hot. But as I have written before the best policy is still to exhaust every possibility to find a way to shut it off and lock it out first.

From: Donald W. Zipse <don.zip@dol.net
Contact Ralph Prichard, Head of the Electrical Department who has the technical safety papers from the IEEE - Petroleum and Chemical Industry Committee Technical Conferences (PCIC). The following IEEE Papers are available from IEEE: PCIC-92-7 , PCIC-96-34, PCIC-95-34, PCIC-96-34, PCIC-97-34, PCIC-97-35, PCIC-97-36, PCIC-98-34, PCIC-98-35, PCIC-98-36, PCIC-99-34, PCIC-99-35.

From: Tysseling, Tom <JTysseling@phelpsdodge.com
We have flash suit protection policy, but I would be hesitant to share this policy in the context of it being, "the ultimate in protection", because of the legal implications involved. I would however be willing to shed light and insight on the process that is involved in this task. Bear in mind that this a very lengthy and involved process. I would like it stated that the opinions that I am willing to share with you are informative only, and I will bare no legal liability for policies developed as a result of this. I don't mind being a resource for this type of project, and will tell you of resources that we have found as well.

We started this type of assessment almost 4 years ago and are still working on it. We have a policy in place right now and it is under constant revision as we learn more on the subject. If you or anyone else is interested in what I can offer please contact me personally. There are sophisticated arc and blast calculations that have to be done in order to understand the principle behind flash protection. Remember anything you do to get started on this project is better than not doing anything at all. This is the approach we took when we first started on it. The more you learn, the bigger this undertaking will become. I can be contacted by email at cttyssel@vtc.net or jtysseling@phelpsdodge.com.

From: Dave Reel dsreel@buss.com
Mike this is where the NFPA 70E Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workspaces becomes very specific. NFPA 70E was developed by representatives of DuPont, GM, IBEW, UL, Union Carbide as well as other largely due in part to:

  1. The NEC is intended for the installation and inspection of electrical installations and the detailed provisions within the NEC are not directly related to employee safety.
  2. Requirements for electrical safety-related work practices and maintenance of the electrical system considered critical to safety are not found in the NEC.
  3. Bussmann offers a Safety-Basic CD and Booklet to help Employers and Employees to understand this. This can be ordered through http://www.bussmann.com.

Therefore OSHA felt the need to create a new standard to exist and be fully consistent with the NEC. This standard charges certain responsibilities to the employer to Qualify, Certify and Train their employees. The employees now, are in turn charges with certain responsibilities. The intent is to reduce the amount of electrical accidents in the workplace, providing better practices, which directly equate to a lower incident of injuries.

I would suggest the looking into the Safety Basics Handbook/video and flash protection boundary calculator available from Bussmann (dsreel@buss.com). The video is 20 min. in length and it shows fireballs being created, employees catching fire and throwing themselves over railings. Personal Protective Equipment is required based upon the fault current available for employees performing even simple voltage and amperage checks 50 volts and above! The film stresses the importance of current limitation, because it can greatly reduce the amount of damaging arc flash energy to which the worker is exposed.

Newsletter sent out 10/25/99 by Mike Holt.

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