Power Generation Industry Hazards
5 MINUTE READ
No industry is more tied to modern, everyday life than the power generation industry. Get a breakdown of the current state of the power generation industry, main electricity sources and consumption, and understand the industry's most cited violations. There is a variety of visual communication solutions and other tools you can implement to help improve overall safety and minimize accidents in the power generation industry.
The following is a transcript of the Power Generation Industry Hazards infographic:
Power Generation Industry Hazards
Though many living in North America may not realize it, the power plants, wind farms, and solar panels scattered throughout the continent are the bedrock of modern life. Without the power generated by legacy industries like coal and natural gas, or more modern renewable energy sources like wind or hydroelectric, the entire continent would quickly revert to oil lamps and horse-and-carriage transportation.
No industry is more tired of modern, everyday life than the power generation industry.
FLOWS OF POWER
In 2019, America's electrical power came from the following sources:
- Natural Gas: 35.8%
- Coal: 21.8%
- Nuclear: 18.3%
- Hydropower: 6.2%
- Renewables: 10.1%
- Other: 7.7%
Electricity consumption in the United States was about 3.99 TRILLION KILOWATT-HOURS (kWh) in 2019
- RESIDENTIAL: 38%
- COMMERCIAL: 36%
- INDUSTRIAL: 25%
- TRANSPORTATION: 0.2% (Mostly by public transit systems)
ABOUT 216 BILLION kWh (or 8% of total electricity consumed in 2019) were used for lighting alone by residential and commercial sectors.
INDUSTRIAL POWER CONSUMPTION category: Industrial Machinery CONSUMES ABOUT 32% of all POWER CONSUMED.
The bulk chemical industry (the largest industrial consumer of energy), the refining industry, and the mining industry together account for about 58% of total U.S. industrial sector energy consumption.
INJURIES & FATALITIES
Power generation industry fatalities:
- 2018: 44
- 2017: 47
- 2016: 47
- 2015: 39
There were a record low number of 1,560 nonfatal electrical injuries in 2018.
- 2017: 1,684
- 2016: 1,640
- 2015: 2,480
- 2014: 1,850
TIME & MONEY LOST
The electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry has received 104 citations costing $570,925 between October 2016 and September 2017
OSHA estimates the net monetized benefits of compliance with all power generation regulations is $130 million annually.
CALCULATED BY COMBINING: Lost hours of work + cost of medical treatment + cost of repairs
Bulk power generation facilities must legally comply with regulations from two specific entities
- North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC): All bulk power system owners, operators, and users must comply with NERC-approved Reliability Standards. Those standards deal primarily with maintenance and system stability.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA's rules for general industry apply broadly, but CFR 29 1910.269 is the specific directive provided for the power generation industry. Included in the regulation are special requirements for lockout/tagout (LO/TO), arc flash, fall protection, and confined space marking.
A bulk power generation facility is defined as: "An electricity generating facility with at least one megawatt (or 1,000 kilowatts) of total electricity generating capacity."
While OSHA's broad regulations for electrical work apply across the United States, the power generation industry receives additional guidance in 1910.269, which touches on the following industry-specific hazards.
OSHA has estimated that following their general standard 1910.147 for LO/TO will prevent 120 deaths and 50,000 injuries per year.
LO/TO violations accounted for 11% of all US fatalities in 2018. The power generation industry is given additional specific LO/TO requirements in 1910.269(d).
Power Generation Specific Requirements
- Tags must be highly durable, able to withstand water, moisture, corrosion, and wear over time
- They must be consistent in size, color, or shape; the font and message style should be consistent across the facility
- They must identify the employee who placed them
- When working with large multiple groups or in collaboration with another team, LO/TO procedures need to be overseen by a single employee who works to keep everyone safe
Workers are likely to encounter LO/TO hazards anywhere they interact with transmission lines or other machinery in the power generation industry, particularly if they perform maintenance or repair work.
Want more information on LO/TO best practices? Download a FREE Guide: Duralabel.com/LOTOguide
Need custom LO/TO tags specific to your facility? Use DuraLabel industrial label printers to print LO/TO tags, equipment procedure labels, custom safety signs, and more.
LO/TO Tag Supply:
DuraLabel Industrial Printers and Supplies:
1910.269- Addresses protecting employees from flames and electric arcs in paragraph (l)(8).
In addition to the general arc flash requirements that all employers must follow (assess the workplace for flame and electric-arc hazards and determine the level of available heat energy from electric arcs) power generation industry employers are further required to:
- Supply heat resistant personal protective equipment (PPE) that will not melt or ignite and continue to burn when exposed to the high estimated heat energy that can be experienced from high powered electric arcs
- Ensure that employees wear the supplied PPE, and that the PPE has an arc rating of greater than or equal to the maximum available heat energy
Want more information on arc flash best practices? Download a FREE Guide: Duralabel.com/ArcFlashGuide
The most comprehensive way to indicate an arc flash hazard to an employee is with a highly visible arc flash label, combined with PathFinder floor marking tape to mark safe approach distances. PathFinder floor tape takes minutes to implement and is a simple, affordable, and effective way to help workers see the danger and avoid arc flash injuries.
- DuraLabel Industrial Printers and Supplies: Duralabel.com/labeling-and-signage
- PathFinder Floor Marking: Duralabel.com/FM
A lack of proper fall protection was the number one most cited standard in 2018. 29 CFR 1926.501 applies broadly and lays out specific guidelines for fall protection standards, but an additional addendum applies for the power generation industry.
Falling deaths in the power generation industry are often caused by electrical exposure. OSHA offers specific safety regulations for power generation workers operating at a high altitude.
The National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety (NIOSH) references a line worker being electrocuted and falling to his death as a primary example of a fall hazard that the typical power generation worker might face.
29 CFR 1910.269(g)(2)(iv)(B)
- Cannot be allowed to fall more than 2 feet before their safety equipment kicks in
- Should not be able to fall and come into contact with a lower level
- Must be tethered securely if they are more than 4 feet off of the ground
The fall protection used by an employee must be:
- Flame resistant
- Able to withstand a high amount of force in a drop test (starting at 4,000 pounds)
FACTS (for workers in the power generation industry):
- Heat from electrical currents can be equivalent to lightning bolt heat
- Average lightning bolt is hotter than the sun's surface
- Electrical currents have enough energy to melt through traditional restraints
Labels and signs can be used to identify the location of fall-prevention equipment, secure tie off points, and known environmental hazards to employees working at height. DuraLabel Industrial Printers and Supplies
The confined space regulations found in 1910.269(e) that apply to the power generation industry are similar to the general industry standard that applies to all employers.
- According to OSHA, if a worker in the general industry enters into enclosed spaces in accordance with the permit-space entry requirements of paragraphs (d) through (k) of 1910.146, they are considered compliant with paragraph (e) of the power generation industry-specific section as well
1910.146 gives an example of the wording that could be used to mark a permit-required confined space: DANGER PERMIT-REQUIRED CONFINED SPACE, DO NOT ENTER
In addition to this or similar text, the sign should follow the ANSI Z535 standards for a danger sign.
Workers often enter confined spaces in the power generation industry when performing maintenance, and very frequently do not realize that poking their head through an opening poses a life-threatening hazard such as poor air quality. Correctly identifying a confined space with signs and providing tools to help workers perform their work without needing to enter a dangerous space is significantly important to keeping fatalities low and lowering the injury rate.
Rely on durable premade Confined Space Labels by Graphic Products to warn your employees of dangers posed by confined spaces. Choose your label message, size, and material or customize your own. Premade Labels & Signs
Want more information on confined spaces best practices? Download a FREE Guide: Duralabel.com/CSguide
Protect Employees from the Power Generation Industry's Top Four Hazards! Download Your FREE Guide: Duralabel.com/power
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