Inadequate PPE Causes Arc Flash Injuries: End of 2016 Australian Report Findings


To Wear or Not to Wear (PPE)

According to a December 2016 ISHN article¹, 38% of the workers surveyed did not wear flame-resistant (FR) clothing for their jobs. The main reason given was that the employer did not provide the FR clothing. Other reasons included the clothing was too expensive, uncomfortable, or too hot [to wear while working].

Some of the reasons given by the employees who did wear PPE was the belief that safety was a top priority at work and the desire to be compliant with industry regulation and company policy.

Significantly, 56% of those surveyed admitted to having experienced a near miss as a result of an arc flash or flash fire. Nearly half of those people needed time off from work because of injuries received from their incidents.

The industries whose workers are most likely to be exposed to arc flash are electrical and energy, mining, and manufacturing. The employees most at risk to flash fires work in emergency services and the oil and gas industry.

What a product manager had to say:

“While the research was conducted to better understand industries’ understanding of flame-resistant clothing, it’s alarming to see the significant number of people who don’t sufficiently protect themselves at work, and subsequently the injuries they’re exposing themselves to.”

Unfortunately, we still see similar attitudes toward PPE and electrical safety at some facilities where we consult. This is true even though great strides have been made in educating electrical and non-electrical workers. More detailed information on shock and arc flash safety is available than in the past, and products engineered to keep workers safe abound, with improvements and innovations coming out every year.


¹The statistics for this article came from Australian

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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