I am a public health professional working in an energy consultancy firm! Yes…. But I still have the basics of occupational health and safety which was foundational in my training. This piece is a sharing about health and safety for energy auditors…an area of specialty for Eenovators Limited.
The first thing you would ask is what is an energy audit? Well, it is the inspection, survey and analysis of energy flows for energy conservation in a building, process, or system to reduce the amount of energy input into the system without negatively affecting the output; (Kenya energy management of regulations 2012).
An energy audit requires working on-site and, at times, this will involve close proximity to utility and production machinery and more importantly to high electrical voltages. Safety considerations are a very important part of any energy audit.
When carrying out an energy audit, the auditors need to be extremely careful while taking measurements on electrical systems and in areas of high/very low temperatures such as cold rooms, boilers furnaces, heaters etc.
What are some health and safety issues for energy auditors?
There are several safety issues that energy auditors face. These include:-
- Chemicals and metals
- Risk of electrical shock which could range from mild to fatal
- Risk of burns from electricity and furnaces/ hot places.
- Working in narrow and confined spaces like the main electrical distribution ( popularly referred to as “mains”)
- UV radiation
- Extreme temperatures
- Biological hazards such as bacteria, fungi, viruses etc
- Working at heights
- Risk of injury in the eyes from dust/flying particles
- Falling from slippery floors
What health and safety measures do energy auditors need to conduct an energy audit?
- YOUR SAFETY COMES FIRST!!!
- Wear electrical or asbestos gloves appropriately
- Be keen on operating any equipment/machinery with rotating shafts, belts, gears etc
- Wear safety boots
- Wear protective glasses
- Wear an overall/dust coat preferably fireproof.
- Put on a reflector jacket/vest.
- Ensure you have a safety helmet
- Rubber gloves are necessary when working in areas with solvents, chemicals, food products etc.
- Ensure that equipment for taking measurements are in good working order.
- Notify the equipment operator/supervisor/production manager/ plant engineer or any relevant person in charge of the energy audit process on points they will be taking measurements.
- Ensure to have a thorough brief on safety equipment and procedures of the client they are working for so that they are not put in a dangerous situation while conducting the audit.
- Inspect work area before work starts to identify potential hazards and their controls.
- Where applicable wear nose masks and ear plugs.
- Use ladders that are in good working condition.
- Follow the right procedure of carrying out an energy audit.
- Exercise personal hygiene.
- Follow electrical safety procedures where applicable
Figure 1: Electrical safety measures-courtesy of Intergrated Publishing
In conclusion every energy auditor needs to ensure availability of the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including observing all the points outlined, before setting out to go out to the field to conduct energy audits.
HR – Eenovators Limited