Burn up the Myth: Lineman Receives Retina Burn from Flash

CASE STUDY: A lineman from a Canadian company was involved in an arc flash that gave him a retina burn. He recovered fully after 2-3 days. In due diligence the company line crew supervisor and safety adviser began looking for new information on the arc flash glass industry. He states: “We, as most line personnel in our province, were wrongly under the impression that we were covered (protected from arc flash) with the safety glasses we are wearing.”

There are no glasses tested to ASTM F2178, mostly because no one large has required it. Many would be better than a standard safety glass but no one to date has specified testing. Paulson has a goggle for arc flash. My experience also says safety glasses with tint have worked. For example, another utility had two workers exposed. The worker with sunglasses (they were Oakley brand, rated as safety glasses but not rated for arc flash) did not get an eye burn and the one with regular safety glasses did. The tint doesn’t have to be too dark but without testing we don’t know today.

If you would like assistance in writing a performance based specification for safety glasses meeting arc flash criteria, please contact ArcWear.

Hugh Hoagland

Hugh Hoagland

Hugh Hoagland is the foremost tester of clothing and PPE exposed to electrical arcs and is an arc flash expert. Read more about Hugh.

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