In the presentation at America's Safest Companies conference in October, “What EHS Managers Should Know about NFPA Standards and Mitigating Electrical Safety Risk," John Kay describes an incident in which an electrician walked away from an extreme arc blast in which the building burned.

Kay, senior specialist, medium voltage technologies at Rockwell Automation, said he was performing a routine walkthrough at a customer facility, when the electrician opened to door to the transformer box – which shouldn’t have touched or affected anything critical at all –  and the whole building exploded, according to an article in EHS Today.

The electrician had his face just inches away from a 35,000 degree wave of molten copper and steel. He was at the dead center of an explosion of blinding light, a deafening boom and a blast of shrapnel traveling over 700 miles per hour. He was in the same position that kills and disables about 2,000 workers per year, according to Kay. The same position that, every 30 minutes, injures another worker...(EHS Today)

And according to EHS Today's account of the session, the electrician was unscathed. The article goes on to explain that study and preparation are key to surviving these incidents. Understanding the changing standards is critical to continuing a positive safety trend, while keeping the workplace compliant in the coming years.

Standards, fire-resistant materials, and safety gear, such as eye protection and fire-resistant clothing, are all making the difference between life and death.