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Arc flash dangers highlighted in innovative new film


28 March 2022

An innovative new film produced by the Electrical Safety Office highlights the serious dangers of electrical arc flashes.

Head of the Electrical Safety Office Donna Heelan said arc flash incidents are far too common in Queensland’s electrical industry and it was time to beef up the warnings.

An arc flash is a release of electrical energy that causes an explosion which can reach temperatures of up to 20,000 degrees Celsius. An arc flash usually occurs in large switchboards but can also occur in smaller switchboards, electricity supply pillars or large electrical equipment.

“To get the point home, this film looks at an arc flash incident through the eyes of an electrical worker who is doing a simple job,” Ms Heelan said.

“As the story goes, he touches a live part and then experiences an arc flash, falling to the ground before other colleagues come to his aid.

“The film then outlines the kind of injuries which can be suffered from an arc flash and talks about the preventative steps which should always be taken.

“The most important of these is choosing to not work live.

“The bottom line is we want to remind everyone in the industry – that’s more than 58,000 electrical workers and 12,000 electrical contractors in Queensland – of the dangers of arc flash.

“We want all our sparkies to make it their choice not to work live and under no circumstance cave in to pressure to keep the power on,” Ms Heelan said.

Common causes of arc flash include:

  • unsafe work practices and procedures
  • foreign materials
  • breakdown of busbar insulation
  • electrical equipment failure such as a switch, circuit breaker or loose cables
  • contacting energised equipment with uninsulated tools
  • using test equipment not designed or rated for the job.

An arc flash can happen in a split-second, causing serious burns, injury and death, as well as damage to property and equipment. Working near energised parts can be just as dangerous as performing live work.

The best way to prevent arc flash is by eliminating the hazard. Turn the power off and isolate the equipment, even if it means rescheduling the work to another time.

The film can be viewed at

For any media enquiries, contact: or 0478 33 22 00.