An electrical substation has similar functions to the central station as it generates, transmits and distributes electrical power. As a result, it is also known as a secondary station. Its fundamental role is to change the voltage from low to high and vice versa.
Over the years, safety measures have been established that go a long way toward making substations safer against potential risks and triggers. The central organization that sets the criteria for meeting safety standards is the National Electric Safety Code (NESC). Other professional standard guidelines also apply.
The fact is that the whole facility contains electrical and chemical elements. As such, even the smallest act of negligence might have disastrous consequences. But what safety rules are available to reduce the likelihood of high-risk security threats in substations?
Portions of the electrical systems without a neutral grounding need to be positioned safely, preferably 8″-6″ from the ground level. This precaution is necessary to prevent unintentional contact with these parts during installation. Usually, these parts and areas have insulation. However, the possibility of getting energized is high, especially if they are within an arc flash from the equipment to the floor.
The reduction of safety risks from the external environment is critical. The vital thing to do is to erect a perimeter fence, whether metallic or non-metallic, to reduce the number of trespassing occurrences. Such incidences include:
- Adults climbing over the walls.
- Stray animals that bore from underground.
- Children entering the area.
Moreover, ensure you introduce warning signs outside the fence so that any person who tries to trespass will be personally accountable and liable for the mistake.
The NESC requires the fence for substations to have at least three strands of barbed wire, with a height of no less than seven feet. Similarly, a temporary fence must have reasonable safety precautions in case the permanent structures need extension or repair.
The lighting in the substation should be adequate to allow employees to see their surroundings clearly and securely do their jobs. The areas that need to be properly lit include the surrounding buildings, stairs, sidewalks, and passages.
Substations are made to occupy personnel with experience in handling electricity and electrical emergencies. However, most visitors have no idea how to do so.
Hence, there is a high chance of preventing accidents by forbidding people from visiting the area. In some cases, qualified guide employees may accompany a few visitors, especially where the circumstances surrounding a visit are unavoidable. However, they must follow the essential safety procedures.
Individuals who install safety measures in a substation must be knowledgeable with experience in designing exit routes. These pathways must have proper signposts and must be free of impediments at all times. In other cases, multiple exit routes may be necessary, depending on the role of the structure. Multiple exits prevent workers from being trapped in the event of an equipment failure, fire, or other emergencies.
Use of PPEs at All Time
Working at a substation necessitates the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These items include:
- Chemical resistant clothes
- Face masks
- Appropriate footwear
- Hard hats
- Safety glasses
Moreover, the buildings must have gas detectors, scaffolding, and rescue equipment.