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IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS, VOL. 51, NO.

4, JULY/AUGUST 2015 2709

Electrical Safety, Electrical Hazards, and the 2018


NFPA 70E: Time to Update Annex K?
Tammy Gammon, Senior Member, IEEE, Wei-Jen Lee, Fellow, IEEE,
Zhenyuan Zhang, Student Member, IEEE, and Ben C. Johnson, Life Fellow, IEEE

Abstract—Sharing the same goals and overlapping member- ilar to the original Annex K printed in 2004. The only additional
ship, IEEE and NFPA are committed to improving electrical safety Annex K material, added in 2009, is a short section on arc
in the workplace. Knowledge about electrical hazards, particu- blast. NFPA 70E focuses on establishing a safe workplace for
larly arc flash hazards, has expanded greatly since the first 2002
edition of the IEEE Standard 1584, IEEE Guide for Performing employees involved with the installation, troubleshooting and
Arc-Flash Hazard Calculations. In the NFPA 70E Standard, 2004 maintenance of electrical equipment. Moreover, the purpose of
edition, the 1584 arc-flash hazard calculations were included in 70E as defined in Section 90.1 is “to provide a practical safe
the recommended methods for quantifying the potential inci- working area for employees relative to the hazards arising from
dent energy exposure. In 2004, IEEE and NFPA initiated the the use of electricity [1].”
IEEE/NFPA Arc Flash Collaboration Project to conduct research
and testing which would lead to a greater scientific understanding Understanding the nature and consequences of electrical
of the arc flash hazard. Presently, IEEE Standard 1584 is in the hazards provides the impetus for developing and following
process of major revision. Subsequent editions of NFPA 70E— electrically safe work practices. Over the last decade, consid-
the 2009, 2012 and 2015—have greatly expanded the coverage erable effort has been expended in redeveloping 70E with the
of the arc flash hazard. However, NFPA 70E Annex K, which goal of establishing safer work environments. Annex K should
addresses the general categories of electrical hazards, has changed
little since the 2004 edition, except for the addition of a short convince employers how critical electrical safety programs are.
paragraph on arc blast hazards in 2009. This paper suggests Annex K should also convince workers how critical it is to
content for expanding the 2018 NFPA 70E Annex K. follow safe work practices and to be able to recognize unsafe
Index Terms—Arc flash, electrical hazard, electrical safety, elec- electrical conditions. For the maximum effectiveness of 70E,
trical shock, NFPA 70E. redevelopment and expansion of Annex K needs consideration
in three areas. Annex K should identify 1) the range of electrical
I. I NTRODUCTION hazards; 2) the threshold electrical parameters capable of caus-
ing various physiological responses and injury from electrical

T HE first edition of NFPA 70E, entitled Standard for Elec-


trical Safety Requirements for Employee Workplaces, was
published in 1979 to help OSHA provide guidance on electrical
shock; and 3) the types of potential injury and the physical
mechanisms (as well as thresholds) such as heat, light and
pressure capable of human harm during an arcing event.
safety in the workplace. In 2004, NFPA 70E, retitled Electrical The NFPA 70E-2015 Annex K is reprinted in its entirety in
Safety in the Workplace, first included annexes to provide sup- this introduction for easy comparison and review with addi-
plementary information so that the requirements of 70E might tional content suggestions which appear in subsequent sections
be better understood and implemented with greater ease. Since of this paper. Suggested content for Sections K.1 and K.2 are
the 2004 70E edition, the number of annexes and the depth provided in Sections II and III. The 70E-2015 Sections K.3
and range of their content on achieving electrically safe work and K.4 should be combined to address all hazards associated
places have increased significantly. However, NFPA 70E’s 2015 with an arc-flash explosion; suggested content is provided in
Annex K, General Categories of Electrical Hazards, is very sim- Section IV. The suggested Annex K content will need to be
rewritten and presented in a manner which best engages all
Manuscript received February 3, 2014; revised June 10, 2014 and January 20, members of the electrical safety community, including man-
2015; accepted January 22, 2015. Date of publication February 24, 2015; date agers, workers, contractors and inspectors. The prose injury
of current version July 15, 2015. Paper 2014-CSC-0017.R2, presented at the
2014 IEEE Industrial and Commercial Power Systems Technical Conference, descriptions presented in this work and thresholds may need
Fort Worth, TX, USA, May 20–23, and approved for publication in the IEEE to be presented in “easy access” table or graphical form for
T RANSACTIONS ON I NDUSTRY A PPLICATIONS by the Codes and Standards quicker comprehension. Other than citation numbers, less sub-
Committee of the IEEE Industry Applications Society.
T. Gammon is with John Matthews & Associates, Cookeville, TN 38502 stantiation will be provided about the reference information and
USA (e-mail: tgammonphd@gmail.com). statistics.
W.-J. Lee and Z. Zhang are with The University of Texas at Arlington, The reproduction of Annex K also serves another purpose.
Arlington, TX 76019 USA (e-mail: wlee@uta.edu; zhenyuan.zhang@mavs.
uta.edu). NFPA 70E has been widely cited for its informative and injury
B. C. Johnson is with Thermon Manufacturing Company, San Marcos, TX data. However, NFPA did not generate this data, and not all
78666 USA (e-mail: ben.johnson@thermon.com). material and statistics have been adequately documented. NFPA
Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online
at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org. 70E is viewed as a worldwide authority on electrical hazards
Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/TIA.2015.2406852 and electrical safety in the workplace. It is critical that it reflects
0093-9994 © 2015 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission.
See http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/index.html for more information.
2710 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS, VOL. 51, NO. 4, JULY/AUGUST 2015

the most authoritative, published scientific work. The suggested TABLE I


2003–2010 N ONFATAL E LECTRICAL I NJURIES , P RIVATE I NDUSTRY∗
content for Annex K in Sections II–IV is well referenced. This
paper also serves as a concise summary, capturing the critical
details of the publications and studies cited.
Informative Annex K. General Categories of Electrical Haz-
ards, NFPA 70E-2015: [Reproduced with permission from
NFPA70E-2015, Electrical Safety in the Workplace, Copyright
2014, National Fire Protection Association. This reprinted ma-
terial is not the complete and official position of the NFPA
on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the
standard in its entirety. Electrical Safety in the Workplace only a total of 11% occurred in the trade, transportation and
and NFPA70E are registered trademarks of the National Fire utilities industries [2]. Electrical fatalities accounted for 10.4%
Protection Association, Quincy, MA.] of the industrial fatalities after motor vehicles and violence,
K.1 General Categories: There are three general categories the leading causes of industrial fatalities, were eliminated from
of electrical hazards: electrical shock, arc flash, and arc blast. the list. Non-fatal electrical injuries accounted for 8.7% of the
K.2 Electric Shock: Approximately 30 000 nonfatal electrical total nonfatal injuries which occurred in the private sector. As
shock accidents occur each year. The National Safety Council Table I shows, the utilities industries account for only a small
estimates that about 1000 fatalities each year are due to elec- number of the 20 350 nonfatal electrical injuries that occurred
trocution, more than half of them while servicing energized in the same time period.
systems of less than 600 V. Electrocution is the fourth lead- The numbers of shock and burn injuries and fatalities are
ing cause of industrial fatalities, after traffic, homicide, and probably higher than the BLS statistics indicate. Many less
construction accidents. The current required to light a 71/2-W, serious incidents were probably not reported. Furthermore,
120-V lamp, if passed across the chest, is enough to cause a since electrical injuries are defined by the category “contact
fatality. The most damaging paths through the body are through with electric current,” it is likely that a number of arc flash
the lungs, heart, and brain. injuries were miscategorized. Tragic electrical incidents may
K.3 Arc Flash: When an electric current passes through also cause extensive injuries which result in death after the
air between ungrounded conductors or between ungrounded required reporting period for fatalities has elapsed. According
conductors and grounded conductors, the temperatures can to statistics compiled by CapSchell [3], five to ten arc flash ex-
reach 35 000 ◦ F. Exposure to these extreme temperatures both plosions occur every day and result in ten to fifteen employees
burns the skin directly and causes ignition of clothing, which being hospitalized and one to two dying as a result of burn
adds to the burn injury. The majority of hospital admissions injuries. The 2003–2010 BLS data presented in [2] suggests an
due to electrical accidents are from arc flash burns, not from average of 205 electrical fatalities and 2544 electrical injuries
shocks. Each year more than 2000 people are admitted to burn occur each year. The CapSchell statistics indicate that 365 to
centers with severe arc flash burns. Arc flashes can and do kill 730 electrical fatalities and 3650 to 5110 nonfatal electrical
at distances of 3 m (10 ft). injuries occur from arc-flash explosions alone, not including
K.4 Arc Blast: The tremendous temperatures of the arc cause those from electrical contact accidents.
the explosive expansion of both the surrounding air and the
metal in the arc path. For example, copper expands by a factor III. S UGGESTED C ONTENT FOR K.2
of 67 000 times when it turns from a solid to a vapor. The danger K.2 E LECTRICAL S HOCK1
associated with this expansion is one of high pressures, sound,
and shrapnel. The high pressures can easily exceed hundreds or Table II lists thresholds for 60-Hz, 10 000-Hz and dc electric
even thousands of pounds per square foot, knocking workers off shock currents established from Dalziel’s early research involv-
ladders, rupturing eardrums, and collapsing lungs. The sounds ing human and animal experiments. An individual’s response
associated with these pressures can exceed 160 dB. Finally, to shock current depends on weight, height, bone structure,
material and molten metal are expelled away from the arc and muscular development [4], [5]. Shock thresholds for dc
at speeds exceeding 1120 km/hr (700 mi/h), fast enough for and higher frequency ac systems are higher than those for
shrapnel to completely penetrate the human body. 50/60-Hz power systems. Fig. 1 illustrates that shock current
thresholds for ac systems generally increase as a function
II. S UGGESTED C ONTENT FOR K.1 of frequency, particularly above 1000 Hz. Table III provides
K.1 E LECTRICAL H AZARDS current thresholds listed in IEC TS 60479-1. The thresholds
of ventricular fibrillation for 1- and 3-s shocks are based on
Both electrical shocks and arc-flash explosions represent electrical accident data and represent a lower boundary of a
electrical hazards in the workplace. Although the electric utility time-current plot [6, Fig. 20]. For short shock duration periods
industry is often associated with electrical hazards, potential less than 0.1 s, ventricular fibrillation is likely to occur only
electrical hazards are present in all workplaces. According to during the vulnerable period of the heart cycle.
the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1635 electrical
fatalities occurred in the private sector between 2003 and 2010; 1 Note: Unless explicitly indicated as in Fig. 1 and Tables II–IV, the voltage
however, 52% occurred in the construction industry alone and and current levels discussed in Section II apply to 50/60-Hz, ac power systems.
GAMMON et al.: ELECTRICAL SAFETY, HAZARDS, AND THE 2018 NFPA 70E, TIME TO UPDATE ANNEX K? 2711

TABLE II of allowable current leakage from an appliance permitted for


C URRENT T HRESHOLDS D ETERMINED IN DALZIEL’ S
E ARLY R ESEARCH [4] most circumstances. Shock current becomes dangerous (as well
as extremely painful) at the “let-go” current, the current level
that causes the hand to involuntarily close and grasp on a
conductor. The “inability to let go” threshold for an adult has
been set at 6 mA, higher than the 5-mA trip level required for
GFCI devices [7]. When a person cannot “let go,” perspiration
increases and skin resistance decreases, so higher levels of
current flow through the body. Respiratory paralysis, the loss
of voluntary control over the respiratory muscles, can be fatal
at current levels of 30 mA for a 68-kg (150-lb) adult [8]–[10].
Electrical workers standing on ladders have broken free from
low-voltage2 “let-go” shocks by kicking the ladder away from
themselves and falling. The response to let-go currents at high
voltage can differ significantly: a person’s grasp of a conductor
may involuntarily tighten, or the person may be propelled from
the conductor [5].
By definition, electrocution is death caused by electrical
shock. Electrocution sometimes occurs from respiratory arrest,
current flow though the respiratory center in the brain; however,
current flow through the heart is usually the cause of electro-
cution. The heart muscle stops pumping blood either due to
cardiac asystole or ventricular fibrillation. Cardiac asystole is
the stopping of the heart; asystole occurs from contact with high
voltage which generate shock currents greater than 1 A in the
body [12], [13]. Cardiac asystole does not necessarily lead to
death, since a fall or blow to the chest may cause the heart
to revert to a normal rhythm without medical defibrillation.
Ventricular fibrillation is the most common cause of electrocu-
tion, particularly for voltages below 1000 V. Based on 0.5% of
70-kg (154-lb) adults, the fibrillation threshold is commonly
set at 100 mA for a 3-s shock duration [14], [15], but has
been associated with currents as low as 30 to 50 mA in the
literature [16]. When a human heart enters a state of ventricular
fibrillation, which is a rapid, uncoordinated and asynchronous
quivering of the heart, it rarely reverts to a normal heart rhythm
without medical defibrillation. Particularly at low voltages such
as 120 V, death can occur without any electrical burns on the
body and without any conclusive autopsy findings. People with
Fig. 1. Dalziel’s research: Let-go current versus frequency [4] 1956 IEEE. heart conditions, may be susceptible to ventricular fibrillation at
Reprinted with permission from C. Dalziel [4].
thresholds below the normal population. Early literature reports
TABLE III “a number” of electrocutions occurring from 65-V circuits
C URRENT T HRESHOLDS IN S TANDARD IEC TS 60479-1 [6] and even one from 46 V [17]. More recently seven cases of
electrocution, four occurring at 24 to 75 Vac and three at 36 to
75 Vdc have been reviewed in [18].
The severity of a shock is determined by the magnitude,
the duration and the path of current flow through the body.
Ohm’s law is commonly used to estimate the shock current
as the quotient of the contact voltage and 500 ohms, the
initial, internal resistance based on 5% of the population [6].
This conservative estimate excludes skin resistance. The body
impedance is actually a nonlinear function of current path and

Even an extremely low-level shock causing a startle reaction 2 The term “low-voltage” refers to system voltages up to 600 V. The Na-

(an uncontrolled muscular reaction) has a potential for injury, if tional Electric Code [11] considers voltage over 600 V, “high voltage.” The
descriptive term, “high voltage” in Section III most aptly refers to all “medium
it causes a response such as tripping or falling. The threshold voltage,” distribution and transmission systems associated with voltages of
startle reaction for an adult is 0.5 mA, the maximum level 2400 V and higher.
2712 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS, VOL. 51, NO. 4, JULY/AUGUST 2015

TABLE IV include paralysis, speech or writing impairment, loss of taste,


T OTAL B ODY I MPEDANCE (Ω) NOT E XCEEDED IN 50% A DULTS ,
H AND - TO -H AND C ONTACT [6] and numerous other disorders resulting from damage to the
nerve tissues, which do not regenerate [22]. In recent years, a
type of electrical shock injury, identified as “diffuse electrical
injury” has resulted in the development of chronic physical and
neuropsychological issues from low-level electrical shocks that
were not expected to cause long-term injury. Common physical
symptoms include muscle aches, generalized fatigue, numbness
and path related weakness and tingling. Common neuropsycho-
logical symptoms include insomnia, increased anxiety, concen-
tration and cognitive problems, personality changes, and short
term memory loss [23], [24].
duration, touch voltage, skin moisture, contact pressure, and
contact surface area. In Table IV, the total body impedance IV. S UGGESTED C ONTENT FOR K.3
(50% of the population) for hand-to-hand contact is provided K.3 A RC -F LASH E XPLOSION
for several touch voltages at different moisture levels and
When an arcing fault occurs, an unintended current path
contact surface areas. As the touch voltage increases to 700 V,
(between phases or phase and ground) forms directly through
the total body impedance asymptotically approaches the in-
air. An “arc-flash” incident is characterized by a flash of bright
ternal body impedance. A person lying on the ground with a
light, and is often accompanied by loud boom. Often an arc-
defective tool on his chest might have a much lower internal
flash incident is truly an explosion, associated with the genera-
body resistance, on the order of 100 Ω [13].
tion of energy and release of high-temperature gases [25]. Arc
In longer duration shocks after the skin has broken down, the
temperatures can reach 20 000 K (35 000 ◦ F) [26]. A person
total body impedance approaches the internal body impedance
standing two feet from a 25 000-A arc might experience a blast
for touch voltages over about 100 V [6]. Blisters have been
pressure of 160 lb/ft2 (1.1 psi) [27]. In the vast majority of arc
known to form (and the skin’s resistance drops) after human
incidents, thermal burn injuries cause the greatest harm.
skin had made contact with a 50-V energized circuit for 6 or
7 s [17]. The skin resistance is inherently low at the location of
A. Thermal Energy/Burn Injury
a cut or abrasion. Dalziel [19] reported, “At 240 V and above,
the voltage punctures the skin instantly, leaving a deep localized The level of burn injury depends on many parameters, in-
burn.” When the skin’s protective barrier breaks down, a person cluding the magnitude of the fault current, a person’s distance
is at much greater risk for serious electrical shock injury. to the arc, and the duration of the fault. (Note: Burn injury
In high-voltage contact accidents, the injured worker usually may be prevented with appropriate PPE!) For a short-duration
has skin destruction at the contact points, but any involved arc, the generated heat may cause superficial flash burns to
extremities may only be slightly swollen. However, the skeletal exposed skin, such as the face, neck, and hands [28]. The
muscle in the affected extremity is in “a state of severe unre- rapid generation of heat may even carbonize the skin without
lenting muscle spasm or rigor,” and frequently has “marked the development of deep injury [29]. However, the ignition of
sensory and motor nerve malfunction [20].” Nerve damage and clothing gives rise to deeper, more serious burns. Fig. 2 il-
poor circulation cause the limb to be weak, stiff and cold; “the lustrates that a person’s chance of surviving a serious burn
patient is often served by amputation of the damaged extremity injury is a function of age and the percentage of the total body
and replacement with a functional prosthetic extremity [20].” surface area burned. Surviving serious burn injury also depends
Amputation rates as high as 65% have been noted in high- on the depth and location of the burns. Other survival factors
voltage contact accidents [21]. Experienced physicians have include preexisting health conditions (such as cardiac, liver, or
compared electrical trauma to crush injuries because both types lung disease) and secondary burn effects (such as circulatory
of injuries are characterized by the “relative vulnerability of shock and pulmonary edema). If a victim survives the initial
the nerve and muscle tissues,” as well as the large release of period of shock, death may occur in the following weeks due
intracellular contents from the damaged skeletal muscle into to the secondary effects on the brain, heart, lungs, liver, and
the circulating blood. The release of large protein molecules kidneys [30].
can result in kidney failure. The release of ions can significantly Irreversible burn damage has been hypothesized to occur
shift blood serum concentrations, affecting the heart and other when the skin reaches a temperature of 96 ◦ C (205 ◦ F) for
organs [20]. 0.1 s [26] (based on earlier work [30]–[32]). Although this
Electrical shock injury can be very complex. Nerve damage prediction is conservative because the local cooling effects of
may occur from even brief shocks without an appearance blood circulation have been neglected, it is quite low compared
of muscle injury [20]. Some immediate effects of electrical with Table V, temperatures recorded from thermocouples on a
shock can include confusion, headache, amnesia and uncon- mannequin during a staged arc test.
sciousness. Secondary effects lasting on the order of hours The “safe” threshold for incident heat on bare skin has
to days can include paralysis in the legs, muscular pain, vi- generally been accepted at 1.2 cal/cm2 [35], based on Stoll’s
sion abnormality, swelling, headache and cardiac irregularities. onset of a 2nd degree burn, which involves the formation of a
Long range effects may not surface for several years and may blister [36]. Fabric testing on blue cotton, twill shirt material,
GAMMON et al.: ELECTRICAL SAFETY, HAZARDS, AND THE 2018 NFPA 70E, TIME TO UPDATE ANNEX K? 2713

TABLE VI
P RESSURE T HRESHOLDS [43]

TABLE VII
P RESSURES R ECORDED F ROM A RC T ESTS

Fig. 2. Burn survival: function of age and body percentage burned (Data
source: 2002–2011 National Burn Repository data [33]).

TABLE V
T EMPERATURES ON M ANNEQUIN ’ S E XTENDED H AND AND N ECK [34]∗

5.2 ounces per square yard, demonstrated a 90% chance of


ignition when exposed to incident heat levels of 6.9 cal/cm2
[37]. The arc rating of personal protective equipment (PPE)
pressure injury, along with the OSHA limit for impulsive noise,
is the energy level incident on the equipment that has a 50%
are listed in Table VI. For comparison, Table VII contains some
probability of: 1) transferring 1.2 cal/cm2 to a surface (i.e.,
limited pressure data from arc tests. Pressure measurements
person) under the PPE (ATPV) or; 2) the fabric breaking open
taken in closed equipment demonstrate a huge potential arc-
(EBT). Workers can experience serious burn injuries if the
blast hazard.
incident energy rating of the PPE is less than the incident heat
Secondary injuries result from flying debris propelled by the
experienced during an arc-flash incident.
blast wind. Wounds can occur anywhere, including the eye
and head. During an arc-flash explosion, flying molten material
B. Pressure/Blast Injuries
may cause direct burn injury to the skin or ignite clothing.
When an arcing fault is initiated, a high-pressure front is cre- People can also be injured by shrapnel or projectiles. Shrapnel
ated as the expanding gases in the vicinity of the arc compress refers to all types of high-velocity fragments resulting from
the surrounding air. The blast wave from general explosions an explosion [44]. Any object [45], including bolts, tools, and
travels outward at supersonic speeds that may exceed 900 mi/h even heavy equipment, can become a projectile in an arc-flash
(463 m/s) [38]. The severity of the blast pressure depends on explosion. The threat of shrapnel is linked to the magnitude of
the initial peak pressure, the duration of the overpressure, a the blast pressure. Shrapnel tends to be irregular in shape and
person’s distance from the explosion, and “the degree of fo- has sharp edges. The velocity of shrapnel during an arc blast is
cusing due to a confined area or walls [39].” Blast pressures are “generally considered to start at approximately 150 to 180 m/s
greater when the explosion occurs indoors, particularly in small (500–600 ft/s) [46].” Arc-flash hood windows and face shields
enclosed rooms (such as electrical closets), and the pressure must meet the projectile impact requirements of ANSI Z87,
wave reflects from the walls [40]. A worker may actually be which specifies that a 6.4-mm steel ball must not penetrate at
far enough away from the arc to escape burn injury, but sustain a velocity of 91.4 m/s (300 ft/s). The ballistics test performance
severe blast injury to due to the propagation of the pressure of two hood shield windows and two arc flash suits to 5.6-mm,
wave in the room [41]. nonspherical fragments appears in Table VIII.
Primary blast injuries directly result from the pressure wave Tertiary blast injuries result from individuals being thrown
striking the air- and fluid-filled organs. Primary blast injuries by the blast. During an arc-flash explosion, individuals may be
can cause collapsed lungs, ruptured eardrums, or concussions injured by being thrown off a ladder or propelled into a wall or
without a direct blow to the head [42]. In a worker who appears equipment. But the tertiary effects of the arc blast may also help
unharmed immediately after an arc-flash explosion, loss of reduce the severity of burn injury.
hearing (which may be temporary or permanent), confusion,
and unsteady walking may indicate a blast injury. Other symp-
C. Light/Eye Injury
toms such as concentration difficulty, depression, and memory
problems may not surface for weeks after the arc-flash ex- Very brief, arc-flash incidents sometimes occur without caus-
plosion [41], [43]. Various pressure thresholds associated with ing burn or blast injury to nearby workers. However, the bright
2714 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRY APPLICATIONS, VOL. 51, NO. 4, JULY/AUGUST 2015

TABLE VIII TABLE X


BALLASTIC R ESULTS : 50% OF F RAGMENTS N ON -B URN I NJURIES F ROM OSHA “E LECTRIC A RC ” R ECORDS
P ENETRATING S PECIMEN [46] [55],[56]

TABLE IX
L IGHT L EVEL M EASUREMENTS IN R ECENT P UBLICATIONS
TABLE XI
OSHA “E LECTRIC A RC ” AND “B URN ” R ECORD
I NJURIES (1984–2007) [58]∗

light, visible within a millisecond, may cause flash blindness.


(Limited light data from two arc tests is listed in Table IX.) flash
blindness is a temporary vision loss, which occurs when the
retina receives excess thermal energy, but not enough to cause
a burn. A reduction in visual acuity can last a few minutes or
a few days. The recovery time from flash blindness depends
on the brightness, size, and direction of the light flash, as well
of the light spectrum and person’s age [50]. Recovery times tric arc poses a substantial risk of nonburn injuries. . . less well
also increase when a pupil is more dilated [51], as in the case known. . . frequently less severe than the potentially threatening
of a person’s pupil size increasing to receive more light in burn injuries [55].” Table X provides a summary of the original
a dimmer environment. Light radiated by an arc flash covers analysis and an additional nonburn injury analysis of 95 OSHA
part of the ultraviolet region, predominately in the range of records released between 2005 and 2008 [56]; 14.7% of the
200 to 600 nm [52]. Long term visual effects from ultraviolet 2005–2008 records reported nonburn injuries. It is likely that
and infrared light exposure may also occur. Cataract devel- many of the OSHA records did not document any or all of the
opment is fairly common in workers surviving significant in- nonthermal burn injuries that occurred. It should be noted that
juries from arc-flash explosions [41]. Testing has indicated that eye injuries and hearing damage can result from serious thermal
safety glass significantly reduced the energy reaching the eye burns, as well as the respective effects of light and sound.
to about 40% [37]. The nonburn injury data in Table X also includes reports
of smoke inhalation and asphyxia. Intense arc temperatures
can vaporize the electrodes (typically copper or aluminum)
D. OSHA Arc Flash Records
and adjacent enclosure walls (typically carbon steel). It has
OSHA arc flash records have been analyzed to substantiate been estimated that vaporized copper has a volume which is
the reality of nonthermal burn injuries and to correlate burn in- 67 000 times larger than its original solid form [57].The work-
juries and fatalities with voltage level. An analysis of 424 public ers probably suffered smoke inhalation or were asphyxiated due
OSHA records from 1980 to 2004 involved investigations on to the conductor and enclosure metal vaporization or combus-
electric arc injuries and fatalities3 ; nonthermal injuries were tion byproducts from the ignition of insulation, paints, and other
reported in 7.3% of the records. It was noted, “The risk of burn materials used in the manufacturing of electrical equipment.
injuries from this hazard can be very severe. However, an elec- Exposure to the gases released during an arc event can result in
permanent lung damage and the development of lung disease.
3 For reference information only: According to the Occupational Health A study of 1984–2007 OSHA records found that of the 532
and Safety Standard, 29 CFR 1904.39, a work-related accident resulting in a records located with keywords “electric arc” and “burn,” 62%
death (within 30 days of the incident) or the hospitalization of three or more occurred on low-voltage systems (LV); of the 329 low-voltage
employees must be reported to OSHA [54]. In 2005, David Wallis presented an
analysis of 454 public records of OSHA investigations involving electric arcs incidents, 66% involved 480 V. However, the percentage
which occurred between 1980 and 2004; 30 incidents, involving arc welders, of 480-V incidents may have been much higher, since the
arc furnaces, and electric shock, were eliminated. A subsequent analysis was voltage level was not recorded in 26% of the LV incidents.
conducted on 2005–2008 OSHA records. Five of the 100 “electric arc” records
were eliminated on similar grounds. In the 2005–2008 data, the four records of Table XI briefly summarizes the type of injuries involved based
eye injuries were: two flash burns to the eyes (with no face injury specified), on the system voltage. Some workers were also shocked during
momentary blindness, and required eye flushing from a fault causing a battery the arc incident, particularly on medium- and high-voltage
to blow up in a person’s face. An additional record, not included in the table,
included both face burn and eye injury. In one incident, an employee died after systems (MV/HV). An overwhelming, 86%, of the LV fatalities
inhaling the hot gases from the electric arc [56]. occurred on three-phase, 480-V systems.
GAMMON et al.: ELECTRICAL SAFETY, HAZARDS, AND THE 2018 NFPA 70E, TIME TO UPDATE ANNEX K? 2715

V. C ONCLUSION [24] M. S. Morse, “A report on the current state and understanding of


human response to electrical contacts,” presented at the IEEE Indus-
Suggested replacement content for the 2018 NFPA 70E try Applications Society Electrical Safety Workshop, Dallas, TX, USA,
Annex K has been presented to the industrial and commercial Mar. 11–15, 2013, Paper ESW2013-05.
[25] “Explosion,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, modified on Apr. 24,
power systems engineering community. The community-at- 2013. [Online]. Available: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explosion
large is encouraged to participate in updating Annex K during [26] R. Lee, “The other electrical hazard: electrical arc blast burns,” IEEE
the NFPA 70E revisions process. Proposals for the 2018 Annex Trans. Ind. Appl., vol. IA-18, no. 3, pp. 246–251, May/Jun. 1982.
[27] R. H. Lee, “Pressures developed by arcs,” IEEE Trans. Ind. Appl.,
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[51] S. L. Severin, N. L. Newton, and J. F. Culver, “A study of photostress and Zhenyuan Zhang (S’13) received the B.S. degree
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TX, USA, Rep. SAM-TDR-62-144, 1962. He is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree
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[54] Reporting Fatality, Injury and Illness Information to OSHA, Title 29 Code also been involved in hybrid energy storage, smart
of Federal Regulations, Std.1904.39, Jan. 19, 2001. grids, renewable energy, electrical safety analysis,
[55] NFPA/IEEE Research and Testing Planning Committee (RTPC), Final and power systems analysis.
Report, Jul. 28, 2005. Mr. Zhang has served as a Project Associate for the IEEE/NFPA Arc Flash
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term, Mar. 2005/Sep. 2008.
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Trans. AIEE Power App. Syst. III, vol. 74, no. 3, pp. 657–663, Ben C. Johnson (AM’74–SM’90–F’97–LF’07) is
Aug. 1955. presently Senior Consultant for Thermon Manufac-
[58] C. Wellman, “OSHA Arc-flash injury data analysis,” presented at the turing Company, San Marcos, TX, USA. His career
IEEE Industry Applications Society Electrical Safety Workshop, Daytona spans a broad range of industrial experience, includ-
Beach, FL, USA, Jan. 31–Feb. 3, 2012, Paper ESW2012-28. ing 44 years with Thermon and eight years in the
petrochemical industry with Ethyl Corporation and
Diamond Shamrock Corporation. He was Thermon’s
Tammy Gammon (S’91–M’99–SM’06) received Vice President of North American Sales for five
the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees from the Georgia years and Thermon’s Vice President of Engineering
Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA, all in for 12 years, responsible for product application
electrical engineering. design, field and construction services. He was pre-
Since 2003, she has been a Senior Electrical Engi- viously Thermon’s Vice President of Research and Development. He is the
neer with John Matthews & Associates, Cookeville, holder of eight patents in the field of surface heating and is responsible for
TN, USA. She performs research and analysis in numerous new product innovations. He has authored or coauthored 19 papers
power and power quality issues, in fires of electrical for various societies. As United States delegate to the International Electro-
origin, in electrical arc and shock injuries, and in technical Commission (IEC), he is the Convener for TC31 Maintenance Team
product design and manufacturing. 79-30, Electrical Equipment in Flammable Atmospheres, Electrical Resistance
Dr. Gammon is a Licensed Professional Engineer Trace Heating and US Technical Advisor for IEC TC27, Safety in Electroheat
in the State of North Carolina. She served as the Research Manager for the Installations.
IEEE/NFPA Arc flash Research Project from 2006 until 2014. Mr. Johnson is a member of the U.S. Technical Advisory Committee for IEC
TC31. He served as Cochair of the IEEE/NFPA Collaboration on Arc Flash
Research.
Wei-Jen Lee (S’85–M’85–SM’97–F’07) received
the B.S. and M.S. degrees from National Taiwan
University, Taipei, Taiwan, and the Ph.D. degree
from The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA),
Arlington, TX, USA, in 1978, 1980, and 1985, re-
spectively, all in electrical engineering.
He has been involved in research on arc flash and
electrical safety, utility deregulation, renewable en-
ergy, smart grid, microgrid, load forecasting, power
quality, distribution automation and demand side
management, power systems analysis, online real-
time equipment diagnostic and prognostic systems, and microcomputer-based
instrumentation for power systems monitoring, measurement, control, and
protection. Since 2008, he has also served as the Project Manager for the
IEEE/NFPA Arc flash Research Project. He is currently a Professor with the
Department of Electrical Engineering and the Director of the Energy Systems
Research Center at UTA.
Prof. Lee is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas.

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