Power Generation Safety PPE
The electricity and power that we depend on every day comes from a number of sources. Natural gas, hydro, wind, solar and coal plants convert resources into energy and power, just to name a few. Just as the workers who provide, install and fix the equipment that energy travels through, the workers who help produce, install and maintain the equipment needed to process these resources face unique work hazards.
National Safety Apparel’s solutions for power generation safety apparel can protect workers in many of these industries from hazards that can and have caused serious injuries and fatalities. Power generation safety ppe solutions include protection in the event of arc flashes, flash fires in natural gas-fired power plants as well as electric shock, heat and cold stress from working in extreme weather conditions.
Arc Flash Hazards
Arc flash is a hazard that is inherent to almost every sector of the power generation industry. Burn injuries from arc flashes are severe and sometimes fatal. Arc flashes sometimes get reported inaccurately as fall injuries due to the flash causing workers to fall from elevation working on power lines and on equipment. Workers in the field who have been working on tasks and around such hazards for a long time may feel too comfortable carrying out tasks due to familiarity.
Working on switchgear in a wind turbine, solar substation or in a hydroelectric power plant present the risk of an arc flash even if the equipment is considered de-energized. Planned and scheduled work on any equipment may have mechanical issues that could lead to a potential arc flash incident. Wearing proper arc rated, flame resistant clothing with full-body coverage can reduce the impact of injuries caused by an arc flash incident. Providing accessible and comfortable PPE options are essential for protecting workers against workplace hazards. To learn more about arc flashes and the proper arc flash PPE, check out our blog.
Personal protective equipment is the last line of defense for workers in any industry with industrial risks like an arc flash hazard. Assuming that substations, turbines, and panels are always energized when working on them, wearing proper arc flash PPE can prevent an arc flash incident from causing potentially serious and fatal injuries.
National Safety Apparel’s arc rated clothing and arc flash PPE is flame resistant and compliant to NFPA 70E. This means the FR/AR clothing won’t ignite or melt to the body of the wearer when it’s exposed to the flame from the arc flash incident, which reduces the severity of burn injuries. Full body arc flash PPE allows workers to potentially reduce the severity of burn injuries from an arc flash. This includes arc flash hoods and faceshields, coveralls and coats as well as rubber voltage gloves and arc rated base layers.
Electric Shock Hazard
Working around any power generation equipment involves electric systems to create its source of power, which presents the risk of electric shock. Whether its repairs or other work on or related to high-voltage equipment, PPE for power generation workers should also account for electric shock.
Equipment or certain parts that may be “de-energized” should be handled with caution and the proper PPE should be worn to protect from the hazards that equipment may present. Arc flashes and electrical shock can affect workers without donning PPE such as gloves or using approved tools during these tasks.
Electric insulated voltage gloves, from class 00-4, should be handled with caution and proper PPE or power generation safety equipment when working on repairs or installation on energized equipment in the power generation industry. The electrical glove and leather protectors should be worn together even when working on equipment that is considered de-energized.
The leather protectors prevent potential cuts and punctures that could compromise the electrical safety the glove provides the wearer with comfortable electric shock protection.
Any work on energized equipment or systems in power generation facilities that require the use of tools can potentially expose workers to an arc flash incident and electrical shock. Using non-insulated tools can contribute to the shock and burn injuries caused by those hazards. Insulated tools for any electrical work is recommended as a precaution to not contribute to potentially deadly hazards.
Working at power generation facilities and outdoor on equipment can put workers at risk for weather-related hazards. PPE is often the last line of defense in the event there is an arc flash or flash fire incident, whereas wearing the proper workwear can prevent heat and cold stress.
Weather-related hazards for workers in any industry, especially when working on energized equipment and other electrical related tasks, can cause workers to lose focus or impair decision making in addition to compromising their safety.
Heat stress also isn’t exclusive to outdoor work caused by weather. Work in substations and switchboards inside of equipment can lead to heat stress due to confined spaces with high temperatures around that equipment.
The right PPE such as flame resistant, arc rated base layers can play an important role in preventing injuries or incidents from heat or cold stress.
FR, Arc Rated Base Layers
When working around energized equipment with the risk of an arc flash being present, even base layers need to be arc-rated and flame resistant.
Remember that all arc rated clothing is flame resistant, but not all flame resistant clothing is arc rated.
The comfort and performance of base layers factor into worker comfort and hazards such as heat stress or cold stress. Selecting base layers that are arc rated while reducing moisture buildup with moisture wicking technology is the key to comfort, compliance and overall safety.
Base layers with moisture wicking technologies provide arc flash, flame resistant protection and the ability to help prevent heat and cold stress by reducing moisture buildup to keep workers dry. Moisture buildup plays a role in heat and cold stress as much as skin temperature.
When selecting arc rated base layers, it’s important to know what level of protection is needed. An arc flash assessment needs to be conducted and the arc rating for PPE and clothing shall exceed that of any arc flash hazard.