Space plant high voltage equipment
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Owing to the specialised nature of the high voltage work, this topic does not give full instructions on the safety of people working on or near high voltages.
Rather, it describes the risks and principles of safe systems of work so that organisations can better co-operate with the competent persons undertaking the work, and more effectively supervise and assist according to the requirements of the safe system of work.
Apart from the regulations covering the supply and distribution of electricity the Electricity Supply Regulations there is no legislation specifically relating to high voltage safety. However, work may be carried out in close proximity to live overhead lines only when there is no alternative and only when the risks are acceptable and can be properly controlled.
The general duties imposed by the Health and Safety at Work, etc Act and the Electricity at Work Regulations apply to all uses of electricity at work, irrespective of voltage. Regulation 4: sets out the need for safe design of electrical systems and equipment; regular maintenance to ensure safety; safe systems of work when undertaking tasks on, with or near electrical systems; and equipment that is suitable for its intended purpose. Regulation 6: equipment has to be suitable for the environment in which it is being used.
For example, the equipment may be intended for use in an area where it will be subject to atmospheres containing excessive dust, vapour or water, or those that are inherently dangerous, such as a flammable or corrosive atmosphere. Regulation 7: segregation of electrical current from a person can be achieved by insulating the conductor or by placing the conductor so that there is no danger of contact.
Regulation 8: minimise risk of injury in the event of a fault by ensuring that any exposed metalwork cannot rise to a lethal voltage if a live conductor comes into contact with it, eg the use of residual current devices or earth leakage circuit breakers. Regulation 9: requires suitable precautions to be taken to ensure that the circuit protective conductor does not become broken or lose its safe reference to earth.
Regulation any connections within the system must be adequate, including those that are temporary eg plug and socket , as well as permanent joints and connections. Regulation means of protecting from excess of current. This is usually provided through the use of fuses or circuit breakers. Regulation means of cutting off supply and for isolation.
This involves providing a safe means of disconnection and achieving guaranteed isolation, usually by means of a locking-off device or similar to ensure that the power cannot be inadvertently reapplied. Regulation once a circuit has been made safe dead , it must be ensured that it will remain that way. Regulation no person shall be engaged in any work activity on or near any live conductor other than one suitably covered with insulating material so as to prevent danger unless: it is unreasonable in all the circumstances for it to be dead; it is reasonable in all circumstances for them to be at work on or near it while it is live; suitable precautions including, where necessary, the provision of suitable protective equipment are taken to prevent injury.
Regulation where work is undertaken on plant and equipment in a fixed location, there should be sufficient space and lighting to work safely, and the means of access should be safe. Regulation persons working on or with electrical systems must be adequately competent to prevent danger and injury. The requirement to undertake a suitable and sufficient risk assessment of the work on and the use of electricity is covered by the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations Similarly, the safe use of electrical plant and equipment is covered by the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations Although neither of these specifically refers to high voltage, the fact that high voltage is a significant hazard in the work or equipment in use means that any work with or use of high voltage electricity requires compliance with these regulations.
No work on or near high voltages may be carried out by anyone who is not fully competent to do so. All work must be supported by a sufficiently robust safe system of work and control measures. However, although this is the strict definition, certain precautions have historically been applied in the UK to systems energised at more than V AC. The general hazards of electricity, ie electric shock, burns, fire and arc or explosion, are present at high voltage, but the likelihood of serious injury or damage is greatly magnified.
For example, a person providing a path for a high voltage through their body will be subject to burns but is also likely to burst into flame, owing to the heating effect of the current being passed through him or her.
High voltage conductors are likely to carry high currents and therefore run at appreciably higher temperatures than low voltage conductors, so extra care must be taken to prevent burns or fires. A person does not need to be in direct contact with an electrical conductor to receive a shock or cause a fire to start from the discharge. The minimum clearance distance for overhead power distribution lines range from 5. Contact with or close enough proximity to a high voltage conductor can be achieved by the use of vehicles with a long boom, eg a crane or mobile elevated work platform MEWP , or by people carrying long conductive objects, eg metal ladders or scaffold poles.
In addition, work at height can also encroach dangerously from an initial safe distance unless suitable care is taken. An accidental short circuit of the system or an unintentional application of power, eg during maintenance, can result in fire and explosion.
Get help immediately — contact the emergency services and get the supply company to disconnect the power. Do not attempt to rescue someone in contact with or closer than 18m to a high voltage source until the power has been disconnected and the system made safe. Do not attempt to use a water-based hose or portable extinguisher to fight any flames present until the power has been disconnected and made safe.
Preparing a fully effective safe system of work involves a comprehensive risk assessment, as provided for in the relevant British Standards. As well as the direct hazards posed by high voltage work additional risks will need to be assessed, depending on the nature of the work to be carried out, eg manual handling, use of tools and exposure to hazardous substances.
Of particular risk is the presence of flammable gases or vapours occurring in the vicinity of high voltage equipment, and care must be taken to limit this possibility or to continually test the atmosphere to determine the presence of any flammable gas or vapour. Additionally, the presence of explosive dusts eg fine organic dusts such as flour or sugar should be avoided. Many items of older electrical switchgear and transformers utilise hazardous oils, eg poly-chlorinated biphenyl PCB , which is a banned substance.
Even if the oil is not a PCB, it should be noted that oils deteriorate with use quenching arcs in switchgear and cooling transformers and the deposits or contaminants left behind can be highly toxic and will require a Control of Substances Hazardous to Health COSHH risk assessment. The only circumstances when work with exposed live conductors should be authorised on high voltage equipment is for diagnostic purposes, ie to enable measurements to be taken and specialist work to be carried out by the electrical supply industry.
These tasks are highly specialised and beyond the scope of this topic. Because it is possible to suffer a shock or burn without touching live voltage parts, the dead working procedure as outlined in Figure 1 must be followed. The written permit should be issued by a person competent to understand the hazards and risks involved and to check that all the control measures are correct and in place.
This person is known as the authorised person. No work other than that stated on the permit to work should be undertaken, and no areas other than the safe working area indicated in the permit should be occupied or approached. If any changes in work are necessary it must be agreed with the authorised person or a specifically nominated deputy.
There should be no ambiguity regarding the risk controls, the location of the actual work or any safe distances or safe working areas described in the permit. To avoid this, it is preferable to include diagrams, and for the authorised person and the competent person to discuss the risk controls, isolation, earthing points and safe working areas.
The person signing to accept the permit to work is the person with whom the responsibility for compliance with the permit lies. This person is responsible for ensuring that all the risk controls and safety precautions contained within it are complied with and that work is restricted to only that which is allowed for in the permit and only within the safe working areas given.
In some instances, the authorised person within an organisation will also be the person undertaking the work, ie where the authorised person issues the permit to themselves. While this is not unacceptable, it is important that a second person makes an independent check on the risk controls, particularly the isolation, earthing and marking of the safe working area. The permit-to-work system must be regularly checked to ensure that it is being followed and is functioning correctly and should be fully audited occasionally.
The results of these checks and audits will be necessary to ensure that the higher levels of risk controls implemented by the permit to work will reduce the risk to workers so far as is reasonably practicable. In addition, the reports from these checks and audits will enable an employer to indicate that it had complied, so far as is reasonably practicable, with the duties to prevent incidents relating to work with electricity as required by legislation.
While the actual equipment being worked on is made dead, there may be plant, equipment or conductors nearby that are still live. This must be considered and a safe working area noted on the permit to work. However, since it is actually part of the safe system of work, it is preferable to have the information on the permit to work.
Given the high risks involved, there should always be at least two people present during high voltage work, with both being aware of the responsibilities they hold and the emergency procedures which may need to be carried out. The physical risk controls required for working on high voltage plant or equipment must be explicitly specified by the authorised person in the permit to work. Most electrical high voltage switchgear rooms have automatic fire protection, often a gaseous flood system.
Any work in these areas must take note of the precautions and must be made safe for the workers undertaking the tasks in that area. This may require rendering the fire extinguishing system temporarily inactive, or placing it in manual-only control. In either case, the protective measures must be entered on the permit to work as part of the isolation section.
To ensure that the system is not inadvertently returned to automatic operation or left in manual mode, a notice must be placed on the control panel and at prominent places, usually at the point of entry to the work area. It is a requirement that there is sufficient space and light at the point of the work to ensure that it can be undertaken safely. If lighting is provided, care must be taken to ensure that the lighting does not introduce hazards by altering the colours of signs or labels.
The ability to discriminate between colour-coded hazards or controls should not be impaired by the lighting. Access to and egress from the work area must be suitable and safe for the workers during the work. If there could be difficulties, eg awkward access or confined space working, there must be suitable rescue equipment available and ready to use.
Any test equipment necessary to verify the safety of any conductor must be available and verified as correctly functioning immediately before and after every test to confirm its indication. In some circumstances there could be more than one source of power supply to plant or equipment, eg emergency back-up supplies, therefore it is necessary to identify any other possible paths that could supply the plant or equipment and ensure that they are not only isolated but also prevented from being inadvertently reapplied.
This is best achieved by locking off with a proprietary locking system and padlock. When locking off, if multiple tasks are being carried out in separate areas requiring similar isolations, it is necessary that each and every person working on a separate task applies a separate locking off device and they retain control of the key.
This is to avoid the completion of one task reapplying voltage to a circuit endangering another worker or work group. The simple clipping on of an earth clamp onto conductors may not be sufficient to discharge a conductor; long-handled insulated discharge wands may be necessary. Many conductors feeding, and embedded within, electrical equipment used at high voltage can retain a charge even after they have been disconnected and isolated. Therefore active precautions should be taken to discharge any residual charge remaining on them to ensure that they are made dead before work is commenced.
Earth connections should be made on the equipment side of all the points of isolation or the system disconnected from power sources to ensure that the system remains in a safe condition after it has been discharged.
Earthing at all disconnection points provides extra protection and ensures that all isolations have been properly made. If the system is inadvertently powered up, the earth connection will provide a fault condition that will trip the circuit breakers, ensuring the safety of the system. To ensure the safety of the person applying the earth, the circuit point at which the earth is to be applied must be tested to ensure that it is dead, with the test device being verified as correctly functioning both immediately before and after the test is undertaken.
As the application of these earths is of such importance to ensure that the risks are controlled, the most competent person in the team must be the only person to undertake it.
The earth connector and the earthing lead must be of sufficient capacity physical size to take the full supply current in the event of inadvertent reconnection. This will ensure that the circuit breaker of the supply trips out rather than the earth lead burning out through excessive current flow. Health and Safety at Work, etc Act Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations Electricity at Work Regulations The following are available from the BSI Shop.
The following are available from the HSE website. The HSE is responsible for the regulation of the risks to health and safety arising from work activity in England, Scotland and Wales, except in certain businesses regarded as lower risk , which are the responsibility of local authorities.
Its roles are to prevent work-related death, injury or ill health. The IET is a not-for-profit organisation and professional society for the engineering and technology community worldwide. Last reviewed 6 August Skip to main content.
High Voltage: Fire Suppression In Control Rooms
Learning objectives. We are used to viewing electrical power just like any other utility delivered to our home or business. And that is the right way to look at it. Just like water and natural gas, electrical power is transmitted and distributed for general use.
Electrical switchgear refers to a centralized collection of circuit breakers, fuses and switches circuit protection devices that function to protect, control and isolate electrical equipment. The circuit protection devices are mounted in metal structures. A collection of one or more of these structures is called a switchgear line-up or assembly. Switchgear is commonly found throughout electric utility transmission and distribution systems as well as in medium to large sized commercial or industrial facilities. This standard defines two levels of accessibility to switchgear assemblies.
Designing medium-voltage electrical systems
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Gas-insulated switchgear (GIS) 72.5 - 1200 kV
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Working on Low Voltage Electrical Equipment. Working on High Voltage Electrical Equipment. Table Adjusted limits of approach. Tree Pruning and Falling near Energized Conductors.
“High Voltage” Systems and Safety
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High and Medium Voltage Switchgear Assemblies and Switching Devices
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Most people in the non-utility side of the electrical industry are very familiar with the design, installation and inspection of electrical systems rated volts or less; primarily because these systems are numerous, and these people work with them daily. The one exception is the sign industry where higher voltages are used primarily for neon signs. As the use of power has evolved, industry personnel now need to learn about power systems that operate over volts as they are becoming more common in many types of occupancies.
Mitsubishi Electric transformers are renowned for their safety and reliability. Our compact, large-capacity systems are extremely efficiency, and as the demand for power transmission and distribution networks grows, Mitsubishi Electric products are being installed around the world. Generator step-up transformers are ideal for large-capacity power plants like those required for nuclear power generation. We developed and manufactured a three-phase transformer for the world's largest-capacity 1,MVA nuclear power plant.
Siemens supplies them on a turnkey basis. Wherever you are, Siemens is your reliable partner for the one-stop planning and construction of customized, state-of-the-art high-voltage substations. It includes high- and medium-voltage switchgear, transformers, and equipment as well as all ancillary systems for control, protection, communication, and condition monitoring. Siemens provides the entire range of services, technologies, and components that are required for the successful construction and operation of a high-voltage substation of any type.
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