Electrical Accidents and How to Avoid Them

Ben PrehodaBy Ben Prehoda

Accidents happen every day and unfortunately some happen due to electricity. Though we’re around it every day, it’s important to remember that electricity is really dangerous. That’s one of the reasons careful electrical designs and safe operating procedures are important – one wrong move and someone can get seriously hurt. I’ve compiled a list of videos that show electricity’s destructive power.  Check them out, and feel free to provide your thoughts in the comments section.

High Voltage Accident (fast forward to 45 seconds)

The quality of the video is not ideal, however, we can surmise the root of this explosion. Our friendly neighborhood electrician scales a tower to do some spot welding (indicated by the light source near the orange human). While he is doing this, the power lines begin to arc (you can see the flash of light on the right just before the conductor explodes). I can definitely say, with 100% confidence, that this was not a Wood Harbinger employee toying with the Grim Reaper. It likely wasn’t in the United States either; OSHA has a lot of regulations for worker safety. Solution: don’t create a situation where electricity can make a jump on high-voltage power lines. Death is almost always the consequence.

Electrical Arc Flash Caused by Overloaded Transformer (fast forward to 1:15)

I don’t know what exactly caused this transformer to overload and explode, but it could have been overloaded by upgrades made to the building without compensating with a change in the size of the transformer. Or maybe there was an inexperienced electrician or maintenance worker doing some on the spot modifications that created some funky circuitry. Again this emphasizes the importance of careful design (I can assure you that the engineers over here at Wood Harbinger definitely don’t design power systems that are overloaded) and knowledge and training in safety procedures.

How Not to Steal Copper

Now as much as I would like to help you in your get-rich-not-so-quick schemes by stealing copper wire, my general advice here is going to be…JUST DON’T DO IT!!! But if you’re dead set on trying, my next piece of advice is… don’t go for copper wire currently in use. Copper wire is used because it is the most efficient electrical conductor…which means if you come into contact with it like this intrepid gentleman, explosions may ensue.

Arc Flash Electrocution  (fast forward to 1:10)

Unfortunately, in order to properly identify the causes of this arc flash, we would need to see past the door that is obscuring the view. In the meantime, I will make an assumption (I know what assuming does). The arc flash could have been caused because the tools he was using were not properly grounded and allowed an arc to jump.  I wrote about arc flash last year, and I’ll say again what I said then: arc flash is no joke!!  When things go wrong there’s a lot to lose.  Never go prying into electrical cabinets without proper licensed electricians, equipment, and clothing that provide the best chance of avoiding such catastrophes.

Electrical Accidents Compilation

I have included a final compilation video that demonstrates electrical faults and accidents in varying degrees. Let the destruction commence! And always remember, safety first!

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