Any type of utility work can present a number of potentially fatal hazards, from arc blasts and flashes to extreme temperatures that can cause the human body to overheat or become hypothermic. And it’s not just severe hazards that can lead to injury or death – even the slightest negligence can bring about circumstances in which workers can get hurt. Regardless of the job or work environment, careful analysis of all risk factors is a must, along with initial and ongoing training and communication. In this month’s Tailgate, we’re going to take a look at three important safety measures that can minimize risk when working in a live substation.
1. Personal Protective Equipment
PPE must be worn that is appropriate for the potential hazards that may be encountered. Work areas must be assessed by a person qualified to determine what PPE is required for the hazards involved. PPE may not always be the first choice for protection. If a hazard can be avoided by re-engineering or changing the work plan or procedures, choose that option first. Good PPE procedures use PPE as a last resort to mitigate hazards that cannot be controlled through procedures or engineering changes. PPE for substation work might include arc-rated/flame-resistant clothing, high-visibility vests appropriately rated for the electrical environment, head protection, safety glasses with side shields, fall protection and insulated gloves.