Industrial Flash Fire Hazard

Industrial Flash Fire Hazard
When It Counts, We’ve Got You Covered
Specialist Garments for Specialist Applications
“.... flash fires generate temperatures from 540ºC to 1040ºC (1000ºF to 1900ºF). A flash fire
depends on the size of the gas or vapor cloud and when ignited, the flame front expands outward in
the form of a fireball. The resulting effect of the fireball's energy with respect to the radiant heat
significantly enlarges the hazard areas around the gas release.”
NFPA 2112 (A3.3.12)
A hazardous workplace environment exists when any type of flammable liquids and
chemicals, combustible dusts, vapors and gases are present. Each of these provides
the potential for developing an industrial flash fire capable of killing or injuring
employees and causing widespread property damage. All that is required is an ignition
source, such as electrical malfunction, sparks from welding/cutting tools, smoking,
overheating equipment or spark generation from metal-on-metal contact. While the risk
of industrial flash fire extends to a broad number of work environments, the potential for
occurrence is greatest in workplaces associated with:
Petrochemical and Plastics
Industrial flash fires are typically of three seconds duration of less. In this short period of time, regular work wear (such as
cotton, polyester and nylon) may begin to burn and continue to burn after the flash fire has abated. Some regular work wear
fabrics will not only burn, but melt and stick to the skin of the wearer. This continuation of burn after the flash fire can lead to
severe burn injury, dramatically reducing the chances of flash fire survival.
The S&H Protex® range of industrial clothing provides flame retardant protection for
employees exposed to the potential of industrial flash fire in their workplace. Providing
both comfort and functionality, the S&H Protex® garments self extinguish upon removal
from the flame source. There is no prolonged burning—a significant factor in the reduction
of burn injury and increasing the likelihood of survival.
When It Counts
We’ve Got You Covered
When It Counts, We’ve Got You Covered
Specialist Garments for Specialist Applications
An arc flash occurs due to an arc fault, which is essentially an electrical short circuit that flows through the air (air being the
conductor) resulting in the release of a significant amount of energy. This release is characterised by high thermal energy, a loud
noise and bright flash, a pressure blast and often debris/shrapnel scattered with velocity over a wide area.
Arc faulting can occur for several reasons, however the most common causes are:
Where the isolation distance between energised components is reduced.
A reduction in isolation distance can happen, for example, where tools
are inserted, dropped or accidentally left behind in proximity to these
energised components.
There is a reduction in the energised components' insulation. This may
occur due to the formation of dust or corrosion over a period of time
building up and providing a pathway for the current to flow.
According to NFPA 70E (Standard for Electrical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces), temperatures in an arc flash
can reach up to 35,000ºF or over 19,000ºC, producing burn injury to employees within proximity and setting non-flame
retardant clothing on fire. The prolonged burning of non-flame retardant clothing is a significant contributor to the seriousness of
burn injury sustained.
The pressure blast, flash and accompanying shrapnel scatter can result in serious harm
to an employee, particularly hearing and sight damage. Brain function may well be
effected, leading to confusion, concussion or even unconsciousness.
Companies must perform an Arc Flash Hazard Assessment to establish the arc thermal
energy from the source of a potential electrical arc fault. This assessment will
determine hazard control practices and equipment, the Electrical Arc Flash Hazard
Boundary and the level of protective clothing and protective equipment that is required
to be worn (the level of which is ascertained by the tasks to be performed within the
Electrical Arc Flash Hazard Boundary).
When It Counts
We’ve Got You Covered
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