The development of computerized 3-dimensional (3D) models for electrical arc events and their use in severity rating blast conditions for planning triage and prevention is proposed. Specifically, the correlation between numerical simulations of acoustic forces and experimental data is expected to result in improved safety standards for work practices around energized equipment. Considering electrical injury as a paradigm, significant losses for survivors and cost to society can follow workplace trauma. There were over 540,000 electrical workers in the United States in 1992. Bureau of Labor Statistics 1994 data show 11,153 cases of reported days away from work due to electrical burns, electrocution/electrical shock injuries, and fires and explosions; the Census of Fatal Injuries noted 548 employees died from the causes of electrical current exposure, fires and explosions of out a total 6,588 work-related 1994 US fatalities. Electrocution is the second most common cause of US construction related fatality. In the US chemical industry, 56 percent fatalities over a 5 year period were attributable to burns, fires and explosions, often with an electrical ignition source. The clinical spectrum of electrical injury ranges from the absence of any external physical signs to severe multiple trauma. Reported neuropsychiatric sequelae can vary from vague complaints seemingly unrelated to the injury event to sequelae consistent with traumatic brain injury. In part, blast effects may explain why patients without external signs of electrical contact may present with nervous system or hearing impairment, however, no causal link has ever been established to guide treatment. This project takes advantage of previously collected data from staged scenarios of electrical arc injury events. Using modeling to theoretically recreate electrical and workplace experimental conditions, 3D simulations to determine the interaction of acoustic forces and workers during electrical arc events are to be completed. Then, a severity rating of blast conditions based on simulation results is to be piloted against 500 electrical incidents provided in detail courtesy of a major US industrial organization. This project is essential to address the lack of data and analysis around the interaction of acoustic forces and workers during electrical arc events so that treatment and prevention strategies can be enhanced with applied technical knowledge in medicine, engineering and safety management (including 8 NORA priorities).

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Research Project (R01)
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Safety and Occupational Health Study Section (SOH)
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Capschell, Inc.
United States
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