Importance of Substation Safety
Safety is always the first precaution when it comes to the design, operation, and maintenance of substations. It is nearly impossible to place a price tag on safety because there is nothing like safe working conditions especially in the context of substations. The best ways to avoid risks associated with substations is to stay away. Substations are linked to many hazards. Below is an outline of sensible measures that can be taken to provide a safe environment for substation personnel.
In most cases, you are expected to communicate to the dispatch centre before entering or leaving a substation. This measure is useful in some ways. The owner of the substation is in a good position to notify you whenever a switching process is in progress. By doing so, your life is no longer in danger because no one is going to close those circuit breakers you are inspecting or turn on a switch over your head.
Secondly, communicating with your dispatcher is important because if an incident occurs and you need urgent medical attention, the dispatcher will have an idea of where you are or at least where he/she may start looking for you. Notifying the dispatcher that you are inside a substation will also make hi/her avoid re-energising the circuit until the time you send a notification that you are out of the substation.
Ensure that you put on the protective equipment whenever you enter the substation. To begin with, make sure that you put on approved hard hats, safety glasses and approved safety boots for industrial work. The combination of the protective equipment must be worn at all times when you are inside the substation. You should also consider putting on flame-resistant at appropriate times to protect you against arc flames.
Erecting barricades in strategic positions to warn other personnel of potential hazards is a noble idea. The primary purpose of erecting the barricades is to prevent people from gaining access to hazardous areas such as open control cable ditches or broken wire trough covers.
Secure Perimeter Area
Securing the perimeter area minimises safety threats from the external environment. Consider having metallic or non-metallic fences in place to eliminate any chances of trespassing, stray animals foraying into the premises or deliberate scaling. The presence of a perimeter wall also keeps away children from accessing the area. Ensure that you have appropriate warning signs along the fence.
A substation should not be used as a storage facility
In most cases, substations tend to double up as a storage facility which is wrong. Storing other equipment inside a substation increases the chances of an unwanted risk occurring. The presence of other material increases footfall in the area as equipment gets shifted to and from the facility. The move may also lure thieves who are always on the lookout for expensive electrical equipment. In such cases, not everyone entering the substation is acutely aware of the dangers associated with substations and the accidents that they can potentially cause.
Observe standard security measures
It is important that you follow the standard security measures at all times when inside the substation. Close all the gates once you are inside the substation and lock them. When you are leaving, close and lock all the gates. Once you get in the substation check to ensure that every piece of equipment has been grounded. Ensure that the grounds connecting the gate to the fence are in place. If any of the grounds is missing consider calling someone to fix the issue or if you have been trained and you are well equipped, install a temporary ground jumper.