Electrical environments that consist of electrical panels, MCCs, switchgear, transformers and bus bars fall into the hazard/risk category 2. Category 2 ranges from 240 to 600 volts of electricity. Certain items of personal protection equipment must be worn when working under this category.
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Fire retardant clothing such as a long-sleeved shirt or jacket and trousers or coveralls should be worn when working with live electrical lines. Rubber insulating gloves should be worn under leather protectors. Leather work boots and a switching bonnet with hearing protection are also required. Any tools used for the job should be insulated and checked for damage regularly. It is vitally important to remember not to wear and/or carry any metal objects on your person such as jewellery, keys, coins or watches.
Circuits up to 600 volts are capable of delivering an electrical shock as well as an electric arc explosion. An arc explosion can deliver extremely high heat called an arc flash. Even though 600 volts is a relatively low level of voltage, greater dangers exist.
An arc flash can occur between conductors or across test leads. An arc flash is capable of causing a plasma fireball of 2760 degrees Celsius within a millisecond. This degree of heat will instantly melt non-retardant clothing, skin and metal.
A voltage kickback spike is called a transient. Transients are present in nearly all electrical installations, regardless of voltage level. An arc flash caused by transients is extremely rapid but carries tens of thousands of amps of energy. Wearing rubber gloves under leather gloves may help to prevent serious injury.
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