Industrial Safety

Arc flash research collects contribution


Aug 07, 2008

The Arc-Flash Collaborative Research Project, organized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), has received a contribution of $500,000 from Cooper Bussmann, St. Louis. The platinum-level sponsorship will help expand knowledge of the electric arc-flash phenomena with the objective of advancing codes and standards for greater workplace safety.

Arc flash, an electric current that is passed through air when insulation or isolation between energized conductors can no longer withstand the applied voltage, can cause severe injury, and accounts for more than 2,000 workers being admitted to burn centers for extended treatment every year.

The IEEE and the NFPA joined forces on this initiative to fund research and testing to increase the understanding of arc flash. The results of this collaborative project will provide practical safeguards for employees in the workplace, as well as statistical data for improving electrical safety standards and predicting the hazards associated with arcing faults (and accompanying arc blasts). The multiyear project is estimated to cost a total of $6 to $7 million.

Cooper Bussmann offers products and services that address electrical safety issues. These range from current-limiting fuses (that minimize the arc flash hazard) to engineering services that perform arc flash analysis to electrical safety training and development of electrical safety programs.

“Electrical safety and knowledge of the hazards associated with arc flash has come a long way since arc flash tests were initiated in 1996 at the Cooper Bussmann Gubany Center for High-Power Testing,” says Kevin Stein, president, Cooper Bussmann. “That groundbreaking research led to the award-winning IEEE paper, ‘Staged Tests Increase Awareness of Arc-Flash Hazards in Electrical Equipment,’ and has since improved arc flash understanding exponentially. Cooper Bussmann has led the industry with our Safety Basics electrical safety training program, so it is only natural that we continue to lead as a Platinum-Level contributor for the latest round of electrical safety research.”