How many times have you passed a substation? Most of us glance past it because we don’t have any direct links with it. Substations are the reason we have electricity. If not for these we would be forever without electricity. Ever wondered about the maintenance men who work in these substations? These men have to maintain the substations daily and repair even the slightest loose screws. How are these people insulated from the dangers of these environments? Like any other workplace, safety is of utmost importance and even more so because of the high danger zone. What are the main hazards that these employees face?
Radio Frequency Wave hazards
Substations often have antennas on the roof for transmitting radio frequency, signals and waves to different locations. Depending on the power of the radio the frequency and the intensity of the waves will vary. Exposure to these high levels of waves can damage body tissue slowly. Over continued exposure, this can even lead to cancerous growths. For workers who have to go to work here specifically, it is even more dangerous because they are directly exposed to these harmful waves. This is another reason substations are located far from the cities because these radio waves are far-reaching and anyone in proximity for prolonged periods of time will get affected.
Asbestos or Lead hazards
Asbestos is used in a lot of commercial buildings because of its flexibility, low cost, and insulation. These properties have made asbestos the first choice for many buildings. However, asbestos particles are very damaging to the respiratory system. It has small particles that can be inhaled and if there is prolonged exposure, can lead to breathing problems and poisoning. Lead-based paint is used in a lot of substations too. Direct contact must be avoided at all costs. These hazardous chemicals can’t be avoided, however, safety measures must never be compromised. Materials used in commercial buildings are necessary to maintain the facilities. According to Bill Johnson from UtilityService.net, repainting transformers will prevent damage and increase their operation lifespan for a small cost. By following the procedures in place even such facilities can be made completely safe.
There is always the fear of electrocution in substations. With such high tension wires, even a little loose connection can wreak havoc. Daily maintenance is extremely important in these areas. Workers face the hazard of getting electrocuted every day. Any facility that has not been maintained is best demolished because even de-energized equipment is highly dangerous.
A substation is not a child’s play and everyone who goes into it must be well equipped and trained to handle their chores. The safety gear for substations is specially insulated against hazards and if well maintained these facilities are safe. Specialized training and supervision is a must for every employee until they have learned the ropes. The guidelines set by NESC and OSHA are very extensive and if followed correctly, deaths by accidents can be greatly minimized.