Understanding and Quantifying Arc Flash Hazards in the Mining Industry
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Understanding and Quantifying Arc Flash Hazards in the Mining Industry

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    IAS '07: Conference Record of the 2007 IEEE Industry Applications Conference: Forty-second IAS Annual Meeting, September 23-27, 2007, New Orleans, Louisiana. Piscataway, NJ: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2007 Sep; 4:1364-1372
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    Arc flash generally refers to the dangerous exposure to thermal energy released by an arcing fault on an electrical power system, and in recent years, arc flash hazards have become a prominent safety issue in many industries. This problem however, has not been effectively addressed in the mining industry. MSHA data for the period 1990 through 2001 attributes 836 injuries to non-contact electric arc burns , making it the most common cause of electrical injury in mining. This paper presents results from several elements of a recent NIOSH study of arc flash hazards in mining, and provides information and recommendations that can help reduce these injuries. Characteristics of past arc flash injuries in mining are first outlined, such as the electrical components and work activities involved (based on MSHA data). This is followed by a review of important concepts and terminology needed to understand this hazard. Next, methods for identifying, measuring, and managing arc flash hazards on a power system are covered, with emphasis on recommendations found in NFPA 70E, Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace. Finally, results are presented from a detailed arc flash hazard analysis performed on a sample mine electrical power system using IEEE 1584-2004a, focusing on components and locations presenting severe hazards as well as engineering solutions for reducing the risk to personnel. Index terms - electrical arcing, electrical burns, mining, arc flash hazard analysis
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