Myths and Misconceptions

Arc Flash events rarely happen.

A widely quoted estimate from Chicago-based research firm CapSchell, Inc., is that there are an average of 5 to 10 reported arc flashes every day, that is over 3,000 per year.


NFPA and IEEE 1992 through 2002 recorded over 2000/year arc flash injuries, 5 victims/day.

  • Each year, more than 2,000 people are admitted to burn centers with severe arc flash burns.
  • Also noted: 80% of fatalities in electrical worker are due to burn injuries, not electrical shock.

There were 961 fatal injuries due to exposure to electrical current, radiation, temperature and pressure in the period of 2008 through 2012 as reported from the National Safety Council in their 2014 publication of Injury Facts.

If I wear FR apparel and wear a face shield I'm protected and compliant.

Arc flash /blast envelops the victim, make sure you wear the proper level PPE for the task and hazard analysis.

Work permits may be required as well for energized work on equipment over 50 volts.

I've been an electrician for many years and I've never seen an arc flash.

Studies indicate that years of experience does not necessary equate to increased safety when it comes to arc flash.

  • Bureau of Labor Statistics (1-1-2011) indicates the average arc flash victim has 11.5 years of experience.
  • Study by the NFPA and BLS showed that the average age groups are almost equally divided, the difference being the voltage levels of equipment serviced.


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Figure 1: Arc Flash Fall Injury