Worker injured in arc flash incident

A WA worker has been burnt in a low voltage switchboard arc flash incident.

It occurred in June, when an electrician was performing wiring modifications to a low voltage (415 VAC) motor control centre (MCC).

According to the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum, the power to the front compartment switchboard had been isolated but the busbars in the rear compartment remained energised.

When he removed the doors of the rear compartment to identify control cable core numbers, he noted the busbar cover panel inside the compartment wasn’t correctly positioned.

As the electrician touched the cover panel to check it was secure it moved, causing an arc flash and blast.

“He received minor flash burns to his right forearm and left hand,” the WA DMP said.

“The worker was not wearing PPE that was adequate for the energy released in the arc flash.”

It went on to state subsequent investigations found the cover panel had come into contact with fuse-holder bolts protruding from the energised busbars behind the cover panel.

According to the DMP’s report, the fact that the busbar cover panel was not secured or isolated, and the fact the electrician was not wearing PPE adequate for the energy released in the arc flash all contributed to the event.

Earlier this year, contractor Crushing Services International was fined after a worker was seriously burned in an arc flash incident.

CSI was fined $60,000 after pleading guilty to exposing an employee to a hazard, after being charged for failing to ensure electrical equipment under their control was adequately maintained.

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