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The Use of PAT Testers in Substation Safety

Apr 19, 2018

The dangers of electricity are often overlooked. After all, we tend to take electricity very much for granted. Turn on a light switch, and we have instant light; heat up the oven, and we can cook. It’s there, in our homes, and it’s prevalent at work, too.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine a situation in which we do not have electricity. So much of our lives depends upon the power stations generating electricity and the network supplying it to our homes. For those that have to work with electricity, however, those dangers we mentioned are greatly exaggerated. Before we get into that, consider the many implements and appliances you use in the workplace that rely on an electrical power source.

The computer or device you are reading this on is one, as are peripherals such as printers, scanners and other items that you might use. There’s probably a photocopier at work, and heaters, lamps and more. In the office kitchen, you may have a kettle, a toaster, perhaps an oven of some kind, and so on.

What is important is that all of these items are deemed safe to use, and that means they are subject to Portable Appliance Testing, or PAT. PAT is a legal requirement in many instances and, as we are about to see, applies to more than simply office-based equipment.

Substation Dangers

Back to the bit about the people who work with electricity, and we have to consider the importance of the substation. These are the little areas – or, in some cases very large areas – you will see all over, that are usually fenced off with a locked gate. They are the home of transformers and other electrical equipment, which is vital to making sure the electricity that reaches your home or business premises is of the right voltage.

However, substations need maintenance and often require people to enter them, so they also need to be safe. Not only should it be solely authorised personnel who enter a substation area, but there are set procedures that are safety related – not least that of LOTO or lockout-tagout, which prevents unauthorised entry – that need to be adhered to as such high-voltage areas can be very dangerous.

So, how does PAT apply to the substation situation? Let’s have a look.

PAT in Substations

To begin with, PAT also applies to any devices that require an electrical power source that may need to be taken off-site. Hence, if your operatives who work in the substation use such, they also need to be PAT tested. Also, there will be appliances within the substation infrastructure that need to be tested, and they may be so with a PAT tester.

PAT testers come in various shapes, forms and sizes. Those used for basic work in the office are generally multimeters, which can give you a reading of voltage, resistance, amperage and more. Those used for higher-voltage systems, such as those in the substation, may be more specialised, and designed to give readings that would be beyond the scope of an average multimeter. This is why you are advised to look at the equipment available at PAT Testers.

This is why your operatives need to be fully trained not only in the safety procedures required in a substation, but also in the use if PAT testers in such an environment, and the individual testing devices concerned.

It is essential that a substation is operating correctly, so regular PAT testing is not just recommended but absolutely necessary, and you can make sure your team is fully trained in the use of PAT testers in substations by enrolling them on one of the many available training courses that gives a comprehensive look at the subject.

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