Half Day Tutorial   (30th October, Tuesday, 1:30pm – 6pm)

This workshop explains the nature of unconstrained free-burning arcing faults in order to allow participants to obtain a comprehension of what is actually happening inside arcing faults and how they cause injuries to personnel in the immediate vicinity. This requires an understanding of the energy dissipation and the energy transfers in the near vicinity of these uncontrolled arcs. Explanation of the physics of arcing faults is used to describe the energy transfers within an arcing fault. This provides a basis for describing the potential energy transfers to personnel in the vicinity of an arcing fault. This includes arc root movements on humans and the transfer of the arc out of the body which has a significant impact on ventricular fibrillation and PPE for high voltage workers. It goes on to describe what needs to be considered in minimising the impact of arcing faults.

It then discusses the following arcing fault hazards

  • Severe burns from clothing igniting
  • Severe burns from plasma cloud
  • Burns/vision impairment from radiation (light)
  • Burns from molten copper droplets
  • Burns from burning aluminium droplets
  • Ventricular Fibrillation and arcs
  • Explosion and hearing issues

It will then go on to discuss the hierarchy of hazard Control measures

1.  Elimination of the hazard

2.  Substitution of less hazardous equipment

3.  Engineering controls to reduce exposure or severity

4.  Warnings signs and other communications

5.  Administrative controls, including practices

6.  Personal protective equipment

and what can be done to protect your staff including:

  • Design the system to fail safely
  • Consider “live work”
  • Separate the person from the energy
  • Design the system so that it is maintainable
  • Reward safe design features
  • Ensure protection works
  • Signage


The papers will be presented by Dr DAVID SWEETING whose PhD thesis was on electric arcs. In recent times he has presented a series of papers on arcing hazards both in Australia and to IEEE PCIC Conferences in America. These include workshops on the physics of arcing faults and how they interact with victims.  David  graduated from Sydney University with a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering with a thesis on electric arcs. He has broad experience in manufacturing (Brown Boveri), Supply authority (Sydney County Council) and consulting to mainly large consumers.

He has run his own high voltage-consulting firm since 1989, is an Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia, a senior member of IEEE, a member CIGRE and a member of Consult Australia. He has published 70 papers and has 3 patents on a range of topics.

Dr. Sweeting is currently, A member of the Standards Australia Committee EL34 and an IEC working group on Power Quality.

A member of the IEC working groups on short circuit currents.

A visiting professor at the University of Wollongong.

A member of the IEEE/NFPA Technical Advisory Committee.

Arc Flash Collaborative Research and Testing Project.