Electric Arc – Spark of Interest

Safety & Health Practitioner
Mike Frain FIET MCMI & Elaina Harvey
Published: March 2011

While legislation requires businesses to perform risk assessments for most work activities, electric-arc risk is often overlooked because many people are unsure how to assess and manage it effectively, say Mike Frain and Elaina Harvey.

On 1 February 2007, at an office building in Shoe Lane, central London, two technicians were installing a capacitor to help reduce energy consumption at the site. One of the workers was fitting cables in the back of the
capacitor, which was positioned above a number of live conductors. The cables came into contact with one of the conductors and caused an electric-arc flashover. The worker suffered severe burns to his face and upper
body – horrific injuries that have prevented him from returning to work.