What is Overwatch?
Electrical substations contain highly dangerous, uninsulated electrical equipment. Substation fences and the rules and procedures to enter a substation are designed to keep unqualified persons out and to protect those who are authorized to enter. The uninsulated voltages range from the 240-volt substation power supplies to transmission voltages that can be as high as 500,000 volts.
Most fatalities in substations occur when workers inside neglect basic safety rules or enter the protective spaces established to prevent contact with exposed energized equipment. Today’s substation equipment is almost entirely remotely operated. This can increase the hazards to entrants since switches and equipment can operate without warning. In addition, because the voltages are so high, equipment failures within a substation can cause significant damage to the local space within the substation fence. An entrant in the wrong space can be severely injured or killed in these instances.
The purpose of Substation Safety Overwatch is to mitigate the hazards to workers associated with working in or on substations, vaults, and manholes while opening live equipment, and to ensure Contractor shall maintain in compliance with Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Code requirements, Electrical Utility Codes (EUC), and the utilities Code of Practice’s, Safe Work Procedures (SWP’s) and Safe Operating Procedures (SOP’s).