Re: Short circuit consequences: equipment damage, injuries, downtime costs …

Home Electrical Engineering Forum General Discussion Short circuit consequences: equipment damage, injuries, downtime costs … Re: Short circuit consequences: equipment damage, injuries, downtime costs …


Being employed by a major switchboard manufacturer for the last eight years, I have been privy to a number of short circuits, which were caused by equipment failure and errors in either manufacture or modifications.

Depending on the nature of the fault, the damage of equipment can be extensive.

Unfortunately, I have been involved with one short circuit which has caused personnel injury and this occurred when modifications were performed to an existing switchboard. The works being conducted were straight forward and similar works had been performed by all personnel involved on multiple occassions.

The build of the switchboard meant that the main isolation point was behind a cover, which needed to be removed to return power. The cover was removed without any issue. However, once the switching took place there was a short circuit between a phase and earth (reasons still unknown). The subsequent arc gave severe burns to the person conducting the switching, who in turn required extensive plastic surgery and physiotherapy to recover. The fact that this person did not manage to close the switch completely and it sprung back to the isolated position, probably saved his and other peoples lives.

After assessment, it is thought that a small piece of conductive material landed across the cunducter and earth when the door was removed from the switchboard to access the isolation point.

Considering this incident was a minor one when compared to what could have happened if the isolating switch closed, it just enforces how dangerous a short circuit can be.

I hope this is the sort of information which you are after and don't hesitate to contact me should you feel the need.