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The Luck of the Irish vs. Safety

Posted on March 22, 2012 03:42 pm

For years, when it came to avoiding injury from arc flash explosions, companies relied on something similar to Luck of the Irish. I’m Irish and I know I have been lucky when I think of the times before OSHA and MSHA arc flash regulations when I stood in front of an open 480-volt panel with no personal protective equipment. I’m lucky never to have been involved in a serious arc flash explosion.  

luck_of_the_irish.jpg 

Of course, the Luck of the Irish is in no way reliable – especially when you consider its history. In fact, one source references the Old Country and the fact this phrase originally referred to BAD luck. Irish history is certainly full of plenty of bad luck, including war, famine and mistreatment. Eventually, the phrase migrated to the U.S. with the Irish people. As immigrants, the Irish were disliked and treated badly. Most Americans at the time thought the Irish were incapable of success, so if an Irish person succeeded, the Americans called it luck. When Irish immigrants went west and found the “pot o’ gold” in the gold fields of California, they had the Luck of the Irish. 

 

No matter the veracity or source of Irish luck, I’m very glad companies no longer rely on it as a way to protect workers. I have heard numerous stories of electrical workers who have been in arc flash explosions and were lucky enough to walk away with few injuries. Of course, I’ve also heard of workers involved in arc flash explosions who didn’t live to tell about it.

 

Sometimes we get lucky. But I am glad that we as an industry have progressed to adopt the safe work practices of NFPA 70E. These work like a charm. 

 

The basic components of implementing NFPA 70E

 

Be safe out there!

 



This entry was posted in Arc Flash


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