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How to Protect Against Arc Flash Hazards

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2017 by Mila Adamovica

An arc flash is a dangerous release of energy produced by an electrical fault in the air from one phase to another phase, or from one phase to the ground. The elements released during an arc flash event are: intense light, sound, pressure, and extremely high temperatures. Arc flash hazards exist in many professional environments, but those who work in or around energized electrical equipment are at the highest risk: maintenance workers, electricians, and operators engaged in working with electrical generation, transmission, or distribution systems. When an employee is in close proximity to an arc flash event, serious injuries, burns, and even death can occur. PK Safety carries a full line of arc flash protection from top brands like Oberon and National Safety Apparel to keep workers safe.

NSA Arc 65 Multi-Layer ArcGuard Kit bundles 65 cal pieces together and creates an easy all-in-one solution: a coat, an arc hood, safety glasses, a hood bag, a gear bag, leather protectors, insulating gloves, and a glove bag.

arc rated kit

Remember that all arc-rated garments are flame-resistant (FR), but not all FR garments are arc-rated for arc flash protection. When layering arc-rated garments, it is necessary to figure out the combined arc-rating of your garments and make sure it is consistent with NFPA 70 requirements.

Arc Rated Rainwear

If you are looking for arc-rated rainwear, we offer Arc H20™ Class 3 Rainwear Kit that comes standard with the Arc H20™ 30 in jacket which has hi-vis reflective trim, and the Arc H20™ Bib Overall. The kit also comes with a fluorescent orange mesh bag to allow the rainwear garments to drip dry, keeping them odorless for the next use.

Even when in rainy conditions, don’t forget to use an Arc rated balaclava, hard cap, and facesheild:

Faceshield and Hard Cap

Oberon’s 21AGR12AF-C500 is the lightest arc flash faceshield on the market today. The polycarbonate formula allows you to experience distortion-free, full-color spectrum viewing without color tints.

The Oberon’s ARC13-BH-NB FR Sock Hood is made to be worn with the ArcShield ARC12 faceshield to provide the 13 cal/cm2 ATPV-rated protection over the entire head.

 ARC13-BH-NB FR Sock Hood from Oberon

PK Safety experts can guide you through the selection process once you know the risk/hazard level of your workspace. Check out our previous blog post on how to conduct a Hazard Analysis/Assessment: The Shocking Need for Electrical and ARC FLASH Safety.

If you have questions or would like help selecting the right protective equipment for your application, please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580, or go to www.pksafety.com.

 

 

 

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How to Easily Prevent Catastrophic Dust Explosions

Posted on Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Mila Adamovica

Effective September 2015, the NFPA 652 Standard outlines the requirements for controlling combustible dust hazards. The Standard specifies guidelines on dust combustibility and emphasizes the importance of fire protection and explosion prevention. It states that within three years, starting from October 2015, a Dust Hazard Analysis (DHA) must be performed by all enterprises that generate combustible dusts. It is also good to know the difference between NFPA 652 and NFPA 654 standards: the first one focuses on combustible dust hazards, the second one – on explosion protection in chemical processing facilities.

Combustible dust explosion hazards exist in a variety of industries including:

  • Agriculture, fertilizer, grain, tobacco, food processing (for example, candy, sugar, spice, starch, flour)
  • Rubber, tire manufacturing
  • Wood and paper processing facilities, furniture, textiles, dyes
  • Chemical processing, pesticides, pharmaceuticals
  • Plastics and recycling operations
  • Fossil fuel power generation (coal)
  • Metal processing (aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium, and zinc) and welding

In general, about 70% of dusts are explosive. In addition, non-explosive materials (sand or silica, for example) could become explosive when mixed with other explosive materials (such as organic or metal dust) in sufficient concentration.

Why Do Explosions Happen?

The five factors – oxygen, heat, fuel, dispersion, and confinement – are known as the “Dust Explosion Pentagon”. A rapid combustion of dust particles is more likely to happen in a closed area where their concentration in the air is the highest. Keep in mind that secondary explosions could be even more dangerous than the initial ones: they claimed many lives of workers who were not aware of this danger. Why do secondary explosions occur? Because a primary explosion may release more accumulated dust into the air, or may damage a containment system (such as a vessel or a duct), which may cause multiple secondary explosions.

How to Prevent Catastrophic Explosions

OSHA recommends identifying factors that may contribute to an explosion and completing a thorough hazard assessment of all materials handled, all operations conducted (including by-products), all hidden spaces, and all potential ignition sources.

How to Comply with Combustible Dust Standard NFPA 652

The Standard dictates the following 10-step action plan that you need to implement in order to comply:

  1. Detect the combustibility and the explosibility of the materials being handled
  2. Identify fire, flash fire, and explosion hazards
  3. Manage these hazards: considerations must be given to the safety of building and equipment design, house-keeping, PPE, dust control, explosion prevention, protection, isolation, and fire protection.
  4. Educate all employees about the hazards and train them on protective measures
  5. Improve housekeeping procedures: do not clean with compressed air
  6. Use effective dust collection systems
  7. Use venting systems that comply with NFPA 68
  8. Direct exhaust air outside
  9. All central vacuum systems must be equipped with attachments made of static dissipative material, and all vacuum hoses must be grounded
  10. Develop MOC (Management of Change) procedures to be implemented prior to any changes to materials, equipment, technology, or work tasks.

How to Protect Workers: Explosion Prevention and Proper PPE

Unfortunately, combustible dust fires and explosions continue to occur on a regular basis. For example, 14 workers were killed in a sugar dust explosion in Georgia in 2008, and 3 workers were killed in a titanium dust explosion in West Virginia in 2010.

When properly designed, installed and maintained, explosion prevention systems protect well from the explosion hazards posed by combustible dusts. However, these systems provide little protection for the employees being exposed to combustible dust flash fires. Some employers tend to focus on wearing simple PPE (safety glasses, hearing protection, gloves) that only protects workers from easily recognized hazards. OSHA’s Personal Protective Equipment Standard (29 CFR 1910.132(d)(1)) requires employers to “assess the workplace to determine if hazards are present, or are likely to be present, which necessitate the use of PPE.” Often overlooked, Flame-resistant garments (FRGs) and ARC Flash Clothing can help protect employees from thermal and other hazards associated with combustible dust.

A significant portion of industrial explosions and fires are attributed to static electricity: fine dust in grain elevators has been ignited by static electric sparks, coal dust explosions happen in coal mines, and explosions in wood-working facilities have been reported every year. Preventing these explosions is possible by the elimination of static electricity with the help of grounding devices. Heavy-duty grounding clamps and static grounding cable reels from Stewart R. Browne are built for grounding in various industrial applications. These products are designed to prevent static build-up and control static charges in hazardous environments where equipment may be surrounded by dust or flammable liquids.

Additional Resources:

Read our previous blog posts on Arc Flash Clothing and Safety.

Download Combustible Dust poster: osha.gov

Check out OSHA website: Hazard Communication Guidance for Combustible Dusts

If you have questions or would like help selecting the right PPE, please give us a call at 1-800-829-9580, or visit us online at www.pksafety.com.

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Klein Tools Designs a Headlamp with all the Must-Haves for the Jobsite

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2017 by Mila Adamovica

By Courtney Bloom, Product Marketing Specialist, Heavy Infrastructure Business Unit, Klein Tools

Klein® Tools, for professionals since 1857, launched its new Illumination line, including a headlamp designed specifically for electricians. “Most headlamps used on jobsites now are designed for activities like camping and hunting,” said Laura Ranieri, senior product manager. “They often include extra features like colored LED’s or strobe lights that electricians don’t use. We designed ours to include essential features used daily by electricians and uniquely secured it with a silicone strap which stays put and won’t stretch out.” Klein Tools’ new Illumination product line includes:

Headlamp (Cat. No. 56220)
• Anti-slip silicone strap comes pre-adjusted to fit a hard hat
• Lamp has 45-degree tilt for varied beam direction
• Spotlight mode: 150 lumens, six hours of run time (3xAAA batteries included)
• Floodlight mode: 50 lumens, 10 hours of run time
• Impact (6ft. drop protection) and water resistant

Slide Focus Flashlight (Cat. No. 56223)
• Adjustable focus: forward for spotlight and back for floodlight
• Aluminum body with cushion grip handle and rubberized power button
• 215 lumens, six hours of run time (3xAAA batteries included)

Penlight (Cat. No. 56222)
• Aluminum body with cushion grip handle and rubberized power button
• Soft-on feature for quick reference lighting; click to stay on for extended usage
• Pocket clip for hands-free use
• 36 lumens, five hours of run time (2xAAA batteries included)

Clip Light (Cat. No. 56221)
• Rubber overmold for protection and grip
• Pocket clip is magnetized for hands-free options
• High mode: 150 lumens, 6 hours of run time (3xAAA batteries included)
• Low mode: 50 lumens, 10 hours of run time

Head lamp


If you have questions about the safety equipment for your specific applications, please contact one of PK Safety Customer Service folks at 800-829-9580, or visit pksafety.com.

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Top Four Electrical Safety Tools from Stewart R. Browne

Posted on Monday, November 28th, 2016 by Mila Adamovica

You should always use caution when working near electricity. Most electrical accidents are caused by the following factors: unsafe equipment, a hazardous work environment, and poor work practices. Other types of incidents include injuries by electrocution, electric shock and burns. Ensuring electrical safety is especially challenging for manufacturing companies, large electrical contractors, hospitals, power generation plants, solar and wind power, data centers, food processing plants, breweries, bakeries, dairies, and paper and pulp manufacturers. Employees who work directly with electricity should be trained on how to use the required PPE including rubber insulating gloves, hoods, sleeves, mats and blankets, and protective helmets or full arc flash suits. Using the proper equipment like grounding devices and explosion proof lighting will make your electrical work safe. It is also important to maintain tools in a good working condition and to check them regularly to prevent them from deteriorating and becoming dangerous to use.

What tools can help you prevent accidents while working with electricity?

Here is a list of the recommended made-in-the-U.S.A. equipment from Stewart R. Browne.

1. Static Grounding Devices are used to prevent static electricity buildup and discharge.

“I have tried many clamps and this one is worth every penny. When there is paint or material that prevents you to reach the base metal for grounding, this clamp is perfect. It works every time. The adjustable tip is a great feature as well.”

-Brian

The REB2960 ground clamp
a) The Grounding Clamp is a versatile product. It is a world standard for grounding or bonding small containers, drums, totes, machinery or personnel in areas containing flammable liquids and dust. The heavy duty die-cast aluminum handles with two stainless steel points and the 55 pound spring compression are the core of these grounding pliers. The advantage of this design is that it allows the clamp to get through multiple layers of paint and corrosion buildup, which makes the proper contact to bare metal effortless. The REB2960 model has a wide variety of applications, including situations when transferring flammable liquids between containers is needed, or while performing other maintenance operations where static-generated sparks could cause an electrical problem.

Stewart R. Browne Retract-A-Clamp (RAC) coiled static grounding and bonding cable assemblies

b) The Retract-A-Clamp coiled static grounding and bonding cable assemblies provide a cost-effective and an easy-to-use system. These assemblies incorporate a corrosion resistant, orange vinyl-coated coiled steel cable (for high visibility), and a choice of clamps (most popular is the REB2960 clamp mentioned above). The RAC assemblies with the REB2960 clamp use a 1/8 in. cable in 5 ft., 10 ft., and 20 ft. lengths. The RAC assemblies with either the GAT-P or G40PC clamps use a 3/16 in. cable. This assembly eliminates tangling of the assemblies that lie on the floor and create a tripping hazard. Coiled assemblies neatly and compactly retract out of the way when not in use.

2. Explosion Proof Lighting includes lights and fixtures specifically designed for use in the areas where flammable, explosive vapors, gases, liquids or pulverized dust are or may be present and create hazardous conditions. Their purpose is to prevent the ignition of fire or explosion. Suggested applications include offshore lights, rig lights, paint spray booth lights, etc.

XP162 incandescent explosion proof work light

a) The Incandescent Explosion Proof Work Light. The heavy-duty TUFFITE handle designed for high impact strength and chemical resistance makes it perfect for use in confined spaces such as tank cleaning and other industrial maintenance jobs. The aluminum guard and swivel hook are non-sparking which provides extra safety.

FLOOD LIGHT XP1530

b) The Flood Light is UL Listed Class 1, Division 1, Group C and D light with a base, and a 50 ft. cord. The XP1530 comes standard with a 300 watt, 120 volt flood lamp. It is ideal for use in outdoor hazardous locations or large tanks. You can find these lamps in the toughest workplaces like refineries, military bases, and aircraft hangars.

Using proper grounding devices and explosion proof lighting will make your electrical work much safer.

You can find some additional information on electrical safety here: OSHA.gov

If you have questions about electrical protection equipment, please visit us online at www.pksafety.com or call us at 1-800-829-9580.

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Is There a Safe Way to Hang Christmas Lights From the Roof?

Posted on Wednesday, December 12th, 2012 by Justin McCarter

Lots of homeowners will be pulling the ladders out to get their lights up this year. But we’d like to focus our attention on the roof guys. If you are planning on getting onto your roof to install Christmas lights, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, don’t be cavalier about this job. It can change your holiday plans in a hurry. One misstep can land you in the emergency room or worse. Last year the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported over 12,000 trips to the hospital for folks who were working on their holiday lights and decorations.

The obvious worry for folks working on their roof is falling. Depending on the type and pitch of a roof, there may be several different fall safety options. All of them involve a full body harness. Harnesses don’t have to be expensive. Since you aren’t going to be using a holiday lights harness every day, a simple 5-point harness like the Capital Safety Protecta AB17530 Back D Harness provides fall protection at an affordable price.

If you don’t have a heavy-duty beam to attach to, you still have options for fall protection. One idea is to use a vertical lifeline. The one we have linked here is fairly complex, but the basic idea is to heave a line over the house. Then connect the lifeline, and pull it over. Secure the far end to a tree or a truck – anything that will hold a really heavy load – and once it’s over the peak of the house, you have a pretty decent vertical fall safety set-up if you connect a Miller Rope Grab with Lanyard. Of course, you’ll need to read your instructions carefully to make sure your specific roof and structure will work with this rig.

If you don’t want to be rigging and re-rigging a vertical line, or if you can’t reach all the spots you need to safety, you might want to consider a permanent roof anchor. Next time you have work done on your roof, these are a great idea to have installed. They give you a solid attachment point for a number of risky roof projects.

Holiday Lights

With a permanent roof anchor you can hook up your simple lifeline, harness, rope grab, and lanyard combo any time you have a roof work, need to clear your gutters or put up and take down lights. Heck, you could even buy the inexpensive Roofers’ Fall Protection Kit from Protecta. The kit includes everything you need (plus a temporary roof anchor which you could use while installing the permanent one!) for light installation safety.

There is only one way to install holiday lights on your house without any of this gear and still be completely safe. The energy drain is minimal, no bulbs will burn out, and there is not a chance you will fall from your roof or ladder. Of course, nobody will be able to see them since you will be photoshopping them in.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.

Be safe so you can stay merry.

Thanks for reading!

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