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Useful Insights on Electricity Distribution Network: Arc Faults, Electric Shocks and Electrical Accidents

An electricity distribution network carries power from generating stations to the end consumers. Power substations and transmission poles perform the crucial task of transmission and distribution of electrical power. However, these facilities are often vulnerable to electrical accidents. As a reputed power substation structures supplier, we share with useful insights on arc faults, electric shocks, and electrical accidents:

  1. Arc faults: An arc fault occurs when loose wires or damaged wires trigger sparks or arcs. Arcing doesnâ€�"�t always mean that fire is imminent but it indicates that thereâ€�"�s a danger of fire and the problem should be addressed. Arc faults can lead to arc flash and arc blast. 

  •  Arc flash: It is a type of electrical explosion that  generates flashes of light, sparks and heat. In power substations, where voltages and currents are significantly higher, arc flashes can generate heat, toxic fumes, blinding light and deafening noise. 

  • Arc blast: An arc blast is an extremely strong explosion that can throw away people and objects that are nearby. Both arc flash and arc blast can be quite dangerous and cause loss of life and property. 

Unlike a circuit breaker detecting overloads and short circuits, an AFCI is used to detect different arcing conditions so that the situation can be controlled in a timely fashion. 

  1. Electrical accidents: An electrical accident is an undesired event that is caused by an electric current. An electrical accident could cause injury to a person or damage property. Different types of electrical accidents are: 

  • Electric shock: It occurs when any part of the body, be it a finger, hand, or arm comes into contact with an electric current. A mild electric shock is usually not serious. It causes a mild tingling sensation.  Moderate electrical shock can cause muscle spasms whereas severe electric shock can lead to organ failure. Moderate and severe electrical shock can be fatal in the absence of appropriate help. 

  • Electrical burn: Electrical burn occurs when severe electric shock causes the skin to burn. Some electrical burns can be superficial and heal on their own. But internal burns can be quite serious and burn deep tissue.

  • Electrical fires: Electrical fires occur when an electrical spark causes flammable materials to burn. Electrical fires are extremely dangerous as putting them out with water may expose a person to a higher risk of electric shock.

  1. How can electrical accidents be avoided in power substations? An effective way to help prevent arc faults is to identify the potential risks and measures to control them. For instance, all equipment must be regularly checked and maintained. Environmental conditions and equipment state must be reassessed from time to time so that preventive measures can be updated accordingly. All employees should wear PPEs that are arc-rated. 

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