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Danger, high voltage: power line manufacturing safety regulations
15 February 2018
Danger, high voltage: power line manufacturing safety regulations

Manufacturing power lines can be a dangerous job, with numerous health and safety risks to deal with on a daily basis. However, there are some basic guidelines to follow to ensure that yourself and your workers are safe throughout the manufacturing process.

 

Personal protective equipment

Major mining firms such as Mbuyelo coal, and powerline manufacturing companies such as Babcock Nthuthuko Powerlines, always ensure that their workers wear the correct personal and protective equipment when working.

This includes hard hats, exterior clothing made from non-flammable and insulated materials, gloves, with sleeves if necessary, and insulated boots made from highly durable materials. Other precautions include goggles that protect from possible welding sparks or stone chippings, and a face mask to protect from dangerous fumes. If the factory is too loud, be sure to provide ear coverings to ensure your workers’ ears are not damaged during the day.

Display the correct signage

All signage that warns employees and the general public about the high voltage nature of the area needs to be displayed clearly and without obstruction. Similarly, for mines, there should be signs demarcating unsafe areas using flags or appropriate warning signs.

 

If you have required signage that needs to be shown but it is obstructed, you should look at placing it in another area  higher up so it is visible to the workers on the floor. If you fail to do so, not only could you cause an accident in the workplace but you will incur legal problems should any injuries at work occur.

Have a first aid kit for emergencies

Having a first aid kit on the premises is mandatory and comes in highly useful should an accident or emergency take place. Where there are five or more employees, the employer is required to provide a first aid kit with basic medical supplies therein.

 

If you employ over 50 employees, you are required by law to have someone on the premises or who is readily available during office hours, and has a valid certificate of competency in first aid, issued by the SA Red Cross Society or the St. John’s Ambulance Society. You will need to have a sign showing your employees very clearly where to find these first aid kits along with the contact number of the certified medical professional.

Working in confined spaces

If your employees have to work in confined spaces, you are required by law to ensure that the confined space is entered only after the air has been fully tested by a person who is competent to pronounce on the safety thereof.

You will need to obtain a report in writing stating the air safety of the space before you are able to send any employee to work in it. The report should confirm that the space will remain safe throughout the period of the work, and if this is not the case then workers will have to finish tasks in timed periods so as not to enter into a dangerous situation.

 

Welding safety

If your industry involves welding, flame cutting and other operations, you will need to follow the safety regulations surrounding these. The person using the welding machinery will need to have had the correct training and certification in order to be allowed to do so.

You will need to provide effective and correct equipment for the eyes and respiratory system and, where necessary, for the face, hands, feet, legs and body. The welding area will need to be cordoned off from other areas in the workplace, and no inexperienced employees should be allowed into these areas when welding is taking place. The welding should not be allowed to take place in a confined space.

Supervision is required

Any potentially dangerous work is required by law to be supervised over by a foreman. This employee is required to have experience in the field of work that is being performed, such as having welding experience, electrical manufacturing experience or mining experience.

 

You may assign one or two more employees to help the supervisor if you feel this is necessary, as having more than one set of eyes watching your employees adds an extra level of safety. However, the main supervisor will have full accountability of all accidents regardless of whether they have subordinates to help them.

Conclusion

Power line manufacturing and mining are arguably two of the most dangerous jobs, but if you follow the set regulations your employees will be safe and happy. Be sure to provide an updated first aid kit, as some medicines and bandages may not have a long shelf life. One of the most important things to remember is to always ask your employees their opinions, in order to implement new strategies in the workplace

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