What To Do If Your High Voltage Fuse Box Explodes?

Many industrial buildings are equipped with specialised machinery that requires a supply of high voltage or high current electricity. The power these buildings use must be routed through uprated switchboards which are capable of handling the high demand. But no systems are failure-proof and faulty, stressed or improperly operated equipment can suffer catastrophic failure, with extreme cases including switchboard explosions.

If your industrial workplace suffers a major switchboard malfunction, then it’s important to know how to react to keep your team safe.

Why Do Switchboards Explode?

Supplying high voltage or high current electricity to industrial equipment is no mean feat. The switchboards installed in industrial buildings, such as factories and warehouses, need to be carefully specified and installed by qualified professionals to ensure they’re up to the task.

These explosions, often called arc flashes, typically occur in places where conductors are close together and fault currents cause the surrounding air to become ionised. High voltage or high current electricity is then free to travel through the air, either to another conductor or to the ground, and the release of energy causes a searing and destructive explosion. Circuit breakers typically protect against the sorts of fault currents that cause explosions – such as shorting between conductors – but explosions bypass normal electrical circuits, meaning they can occur even where the appropriate breakers are installed.

In many cases, switchboard explosions are due to operator error. Dropped tools, unsafe working procedures, a lack of preventative maintenance and simple carelessness are all common causes. But faulty, corroded or wet fusing equipment, and conductors with failing insulation can also be the cause of an arc flash incident.

  • Managing The Risk Of Failure

The causes of exploding switchboards and arc flashes are many and varied, and often it is user error that results in the failure. 

Australian law requires specialist and industrial power supplies to be installed by certified industrial electricians. Anyone who owns or operates the following types of electrical installation are expected to take special precautions to reduce the risk of explosions and protect operators:

  • High voltage
  • Low voltage
  • High current
  • Complex systems

The protections your workplace requires will depend on local legislation. In general, you will need to ensure the appropriate equipment has been installed, set arc flash approach boundaries and warning signs, and educate your employees on reasonable safety procedures and best practices. Equipment should never be serviced while energised wherever possible, and the appropriate protective gear should always be supplied and worn where work must be carried out on energised equipment.

What Should I Do If A Switchboard Explodes?

By design, industrial switchboards carry large amounts of electricity, and failures can result in fires, major equipment damage, serious bodily injury or even prove fatal. 

In the event that your workplace suffers a switchboard explosion, your highest priority is to ensure the safety of all employees present. Follow your industry’s safety and OH&S regulations and check on the wellbeing of anyone who may have been affected by the explosion. 

Where it is safe to do so, the power supply should be turned off as quickly as possible, and emergency services should be contacted to deal with any injuries or fires that may have occurred. Contact an industrial electrician immediately to address the failure, especially if you are unable to switch off the power.

Need A High Voltage Electrician Urgently? Contact Asset Power Solutions Today!

High voltage electricity and industrial equipment can pose significant risks to the well-being of your employees, and failures should be immediately addressed by qualified professionals. Please don’t hesitate to contact the team at Asset Power Solutions if you or your workplace needs emergency help with high voltage or fuse box failures.