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In the early 1980's a paper "The Other Electrical Hazard: Electric Arc Blast Burns" by Ralph Lee was published in the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Applications. The effect of this paper was to realize the need to protect people from the hazards of arc flash.

The light and heat emitted by the explosion is known as the arc flash, and the pressure wave is known as the arc blast. An arc flash releases hot gases and concentrated radiant energy up to four times the temperature of the sun's surface, which can melt metal and cause severe radiation burns, damage eyesight, and result in fatalities.

Staying Safe: What to Do About an Arc Flash Incident. If you've never seen an arc flash firsthand, you may not realize just how destructive they can be. An arc flash can cause significant damage to electrical systems, start fires and cause injuries or even deaths.

What causes an arc flash and what kind of injuries can arc flash cause? Back to F.A.Q. An arc flash happens when electric current flows through an air gap between conductors. Accidents caused by touching a test probe to the wrong surface or slipped tool are the most common cause of an arcing fault. ... An arc blast can cause the following ...