In the heat of summer, many manufacturers worry about the lifeblood of their facility and manufacturing equipment – the electrical system. Without it, production grinds to halt, often at a cost of thousands of dollars per hour for substation failure. Heat has a significant impact on electrical components: transformers, switchboards, even cabling. At this time of year, your electrical distribution network is working its hardest. Electrical substation failures occur more frequently during summer months than any other time of year – typically when you least expect – which results in the need for costly emergency electrical services due to a power outage.
In the summer months, air conditioning use increases and local utilities realize increases in demand followed by voltage drops. As a result, the transformer and any outdoor equipment begin to operate at higher temperatures. If any weakness exists or if there are loose connections, you may have a thermal breakdown that could result in not just a loss of power, but a major electrical substation failure or fire.
The increased cost of fuel oil and all precious metals has caused many manufacturers of electrical equipment to inventory less than ever before, and in some cases, major electrical items needed for emergency electrical services and repair such as power transformers and high voltage switchgear are made-to-order with lead times between 20 and 50 weeks. So, if a major component fails, the equipment for repair may be many months away, resulting in significant costs for running on generator power or other alternatives while awaiting delivery. Regular substation maintenance can limit exposure to this type of risk by preventing or identifying potential issues before problems occur.
The National Electrical Testing Association (NETA) and IEEE both recommend annual electrical maintenance of the main system components in all manufacturing facilities. Many insurance companies that offer liability insurance and ‘loss of use’ coverage expect that the electrical system supplying the major manufacturing equipment be inspected, tested and maintained in order for insurance coverage to be valid. Your insurance company has strict criteria governing both the testing and electrical maintenance procedures.
Don’t find out about the condition of the electrical equipment in your facility when you are facing substation failure and costly repairs and emergency electrical services: Schedule a maintenance check and have your systems inspected before problems like substation failure arise – ask your service representative for details!
Zero Tolerance: Electrical Hazards at Construction Sites
The Ministry of Labour continues with their “Zero Tolerance” campaign and most recently threw the spotlight on electrical hazards at construction sites. During July, workplace health and safety inspectors from the Ontario Ministry of Labour focused on maintaining worker safety by ensuring adequate safety programs are in place and that only authorized workers are performing electrical maintenance, electrical installations and machinery rewiring. If your workplace and/or workers don’t know and follow the regulations and requirements set out by the Ministry of Labour, you may run the risk of fines or tickets. Something as simple as not having your training cards with you could result in a ticket.
Since 1998, construction activities have been among the primary causes of the increase in electricity-related injuries – three of the 15 fatalities in Ontario’s construction sector in 2007 were related to electrical hazards. Don’t be a statistic; protect your workplace and your workers from electricity-related injuries and emergency electrical services:
1. Get up-to-date with the new CSA Z462 Standard, Electrical Safety in the Workplace
2. Remain current with ECRA/ESA provincial licensing
3. Educate employees on the Occupational Health and Safety Act
4. Facilitate Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS) training
5. Develop a system to recognize or reward employees and teams that work safely and remain injury/accident free
If you have questions or concerns about workplace safety as it relates to electrical maintenance, electrical installations and machinery rewiring and are looking for guidance, contact your service representative today to discuss your options or learn about employee training.