Arc flash is an electric current that is passed through air when insulation or isolation between electrified conductors is no longer sufficient to withstand the applied voltage.
The flash is immediate, but the results can cause severe injury. Every year, more than 2,000 workers are admitted to burn centers for extended injury treatment caused by arc flash.
"Electrical safety and knowledge of the hazards associated with arc flash have come a long way since arc flash tests were first performed at the Cooper Bussmann Gubany Center for High Power Testing in 1996," explained Kevin Stein, president, Cooper Bussmann. "That groundbreaking work led to the award-winning IEEE paper, 'Staged Tests Increase Awareness of Arc Flash Hazards in Electrical Equipment,' and has since improved arc-flash understanding. Cooper Bussmann then led the industry with its Safety BasicsTM electrical safety training program, so it is only natural that we would continue to lead as a Platinum Level Contributor for this latest round of electrical safety research."
Cooper Bussmann has a complete offering of products and services that help address electrical safety and arc flash in particular, ranging from current-limiting fuses that minimize the arc flash hazard, to engineering services that perform arc flash analysis, to electrical safety training and development of electrical safety programs.
"We are extremely pleased to have Cooper Bussmann join the growing list of sponsors for the Arc Flash project," said Sue Vogel, director, Technical Committee Programs for the IEEE Standards Association. "Cooper Bussmann's experience and history with arc flash safety research makes them an ideal partner for this effort, and their generous contribution brings us closer developing a more complete understanding of the arc flash phenomenon."
The IEEE and the NFPA have joined forces on an initiative to fund and support research and testing to increase the understanding of arc flash. The results of this collaborative project will provide information that will be used to improve electrical safety standards, predict the hazards associated with arching faults and accompanying arc blasts, and provide practical safeguards for employees in the workplace. The multi-year project is estimated to cost a total of $6-$7 million.