Substations are inherently dangerous and deadly places, and even the smallest mistake or oversight can cause serious damage. Fortunately, careful consideration of general and specific risk factors will greatly reduce the risk to those entering the site. To ensure your substations remain as low-risk as possible, implement the following safety measures as soon as possible:
1.Maintain a Secure Perimeter
Make sure you regularly check the perimeter of your substations. Trespassing, scaling, stray animals and children are a serious concern, so it’s vital you maintain multiple fences around the perimeter to prevent these incidences. Regular inspections should be scheduled, as should inspections after storms to ensure all fencing and warning signs are intact.
Besides trespassing, you should also restrict or prohibit visitor access. When a visitor absolutely has to access the substation, they should only be allowed to do so under the watchful eye of experienced and mature personnel.
3.Monitor Vehicular Access
The need for vehicular access is sometimes unavoidable, but it should be monitored by experienced personnel outside of the vehicle when it is necessary, to make sure there is sufficient space between the vehicle and surrounding and overhead objects. This also goes for cranes other similar equipment.
4.Restrict Equipment Storage
While it is tempting to allow substations to double as remote storage locations for equipment and other materials, it often increases safety risks. Not only does it give your own personnel additional reasons to enter the substation, but it also gives thieves another reason to want to break in. You don’t want to give any reason for your personnel to feel like entering the substation is something routine that they can do while thinking about something else they have going on that day.
Use of PPEs is mandatory for work in a substation, and so proper equipment should be provided for personnel. Always ensure they are provided with flame retardant, arc-rated, or chemical resistant clothing and gloves, safety glasses, shields, masks, hard hats, steel-toed boots, and anything else they need to safely complete work in the substation.
6.Sufficiently Train Personnel
This is one of the most vital safety practices, without which all others become obsolete, but is also something that is overlooked surprisingly often. Don’t assume a new hire has been sufficiently trained on safety practices, and make sure your current staff all stay up to date on your safety practices, even if they haven’t changed since they were last reviewed.
7.Install Security Equipment
You may not know someone has tampered with the substation if you don’t have cameras and motion sensors monitoring access points. While a theft or break-in will be obvious if it causes power outages or if locks are broken when your personnel arrive at the substation, attempted break-ins and vandals may leave the safety of the substation compromised without causing serious damage.
When you implement all these safety measures, you’ll have a substation that is as safe as possible for your personnel to use and will deter animals and members of the public from penetrating the perimeter.