What are general safety rules?
Any work site has its peculiarity and its specific condition. Nevertheless, the degree of hazard varies according to the working environment and according to the nature of the job itself. Whatever are the differences, the conditions or the circumstances, the only common part is safety. Accordingly, the term safety is a key factor that must be present in any workplace. Workers, which are exposed to transportation incidents, violent electrical shocks and direct contact with chemical hazardous or solid objects, need extreme safety measures. In addition, workers who are vulnerably exposed to electrical high voltage flow, fire or explosions are also in urgent need for protection.
Therefore, general safety discipline is the approach of development and protection of any work environment. Consequently, safety measures approach is the method of following exact procedures, regulations and good practices in all related safety and protection fields. Eventually, although every industrial arena has its hazardous risks, still the energy industry has the highest risk of working accident.
Power industry hazardous risks:
It is acceptable that power plants are progressively safer environments than before, but accidents of work still occur. Power plants include every facility that transforms energy into electricity. Namely, the list includes coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro…) power plants. These power sources are converted into electricity, thus, a power plant is implemented. Power plants stations are first hazardous to environment –unless they are renewable power plants-. Studies show that 40 per cent of CO² emissions are due to electric power stations. This issue is not our focus in this article; let us concentrate on hazardous effect on workers first.
Injuries in work sites such as power plants are most of the time fatal. To enumerate major dangers, one can mention electrocution, slipping on greasy floor, blocking or clustering in confined sites, fires and explosions. These horrifying situations could be avoided when workers respect safety measures rules.
In USA, for instance, according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the number of harms in work sites is decreasing noticeably. Power industry sites are witnessing an average of 17 fatal accident per year. However, the number of non- deadly work accident is the highest since 2009. In fact, the number of accidents in 2015 reached 2480 case in one year.
To be more precise, the highest menacing risks within power industries come from direct exposure to high voltage electric power, abrupt fires and outbursts of boiler equipment. The chemical substance like corrosives, oxidizers and solvents are causing the second highest number of injuries in such worksites.
Procedures of safety measures in power worksites:
There is always a certain prioritization when it comes to procedures. Surely, there are major steps which are implemented within the site itself and then within the equipment. Afterward, the hierarchy of risk management assets will proceed to the personal protective equipment a worker should wear.
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In between, we have to remember that the basic element and the most essential to the implementation of any procedure mentioned above is awareness and training. Workers should understand and totally be aware of the warning signs, machines risks and harmful substances surrounding them. Thus, electrical equipment companies or power plant stakeholders must establish regular training sessions concerning their strategy of safety. Here is major guidelines which any power industry could follow effectively to prevent injuries and fatal accidents in the work environment.
- To decrease the risks of falling from heights there is a simple solution. The responsible for the power plant construction should always implement the working site in a ground level. No need to have the working field in high locations. Thus, you prevent the workers from slipping and at the same time ensure that no solid materials are falling on their heads.
- To avoid sliding down on lubricous floor, think about textured floor tapes instead of floor painting. The latter becomes so greasy. This is very dangerous for workers as they easily slide down mainly while carrying heavy stuff. Furthermore, areas of works should have clear direction signals and pathfinders.
- Equipment of control is a significant key of safety measure. As a prominent technique, Lockout-Tagout is an effective safety measure. Machines while energized or simply in motion are extremely dangerous if they are handled wrongly. In addition, equipment with defaults and malfunctions should be handled carefully. For this reason, if a machine is under maintenance, it should be isolated and fully inoperative. Subsequently, components such as circuits breakers, locks (LO/TO devices) or any other control panel are enormously important.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE) which any power industry should implement are a major step of safety. PPE is a lifesaver for any employee or technician who is working under risky circumstances. The equipment involve a wide range of clothing products such as gloves, helmets, boot shields, eye protectors, earplugs, respirators, etc. The PPE differs according to the worksite needs. Basically, PPE are the final and last shield that protects the worker in his worst scenario.
Safety is a cornerstone in any industry and site of production. The concentration on good practices and safety measure as a priority are the way towards a successful strategy. Trade unions, labor workers, managers, industrial stakeholders and other parties involved in the economic cycle should all work together to make it happen. Limiting and mitigating labor accidents has to be a priority.
If electricity and power industry is that important, lives of human being working in these grounds are more important. Programs of safety awareness and training concerning PPE usage and other methods are imperatively for better risk prevention and management.
Moreover, governments should enhance the sector by drafting and enacting a legal frame. Prohibiting laws also should be enacted to establish the suitable punishment for any extra-legal whether he is worker or a stakeholder. Workers all over the world need to launch preventive wars against work accidents, chemical hazardous substances or any other danger. Even working environments, which are considered less harmful, have to adopt precautious measures. Building a culture of safer work place even in less hazardous worksites is the next major step.