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Guide To Safely Operating High Voltage Switching Systems

Guide To Safely Operating High Voltage Switching Systems

It’s no secret that high voltage switches are essential to the operation of modern mine sites. Because of this, qualified people who can operate them will always be in demand. However, the potentially hazardous nature and workplace safety implications of working with high voltage electrical equipment mean that strict, legally enforced regulations govern this position.
We’ve put together a guide with everything you need to know about safely operating high voltage switching systems, from safety procedures to becoming adequately qualified. If you have any questions or want to learn more about how CET can help you with safety qualifications, get in touch with our friendly team.


What are the safety procedures in high voltage installations?

The risk of an incident involving high voltage is significantly increased due to the large quantities of energy involved. Not following the proper procedures may even result in fatal injury. There are stringent safety regulations and operating procedures that need to be followed to prevent these severe incidents or damages. 

We have outlined some of the directions from the Guidelines for the safe management of high voltage (HV) installations (endorsed by WorkSafe) to provide a quick overview. However, we also recommend that you consult the safety guidelines for your industry or organisation.
Design and Consultation
HV electrical installations need to be designed to an industry standard. The design must also take into account the ongoing safety of members of the public, any surrounding equipment and risks to nearby property. The installation design proposal must be submitted and developed by a professionally qualified engineer and comply with all relevant technical requirements. 
On site, the person responsible for the premises is in charge of ensuring that the installation: 
  • Safely performs its functions,
  • Operates according to the manufacturing requirements and
  • Is adequately maintained and doesn’t cause any hazards or other safety issues
HV Operating Procedures
There needs to be operational procedures for HV installations built into the site Safety Management plan. As part of this plan, regular audits should be carried out.


How can you become properly qualified to operate high voltage switching gears?

Upon completing a High Voltage (HV) Switching course, some people are under the misconception that they can now return to their workplace and legally carry out switching work. Unfortunately, this is not the case. 
If you’re interested in becoming a qualified high voltage switch operator, make sure you read the following process. 
We’ve outlined the steps it takes in a mining environment, but this varies in different industries. You can get in touch with our friendly team if you want to learn more about the requirements in a particular industry.
1. Complete the HV switching course
Completing the *HV Switching course will give you the skills and knowledge necessary to implement a well-planned and thought out switching programme that will ensure all personnel working on or around high voltage remain safe. Highly qualified and experienced trainers will guide you through every step and deliver the required information in an interesting, entertaining, and informative manner drawn from their own experiences of switching in different industries worldwide.
2. Demonstrate that you can operate the relevant equipment
After training, you will need to show the mine manager that you can safely and competently operate the relevant equipment. A common way to do this is to maintain a log. Under the supervision of authorised personnel, you’ll carry out switching, develop switching programmes and issue HV permits, all of which will be recorded in a personal log that the Mine Manager reviews.
3. Become formally appointed by the mine manager
Once you have fulfilled the organisational requirements (which vary from operator to operator), you can then be appointed, in writing, by the Mine Manager as an approved HV switcher. This is usually done under recommendation from the Electrical Supervisor responsible for the HV installations on the site.
4. Attend regular refresher courses to maintain your qualification
The organisation’s procedures also need to identify the frequency of retraining (known as refresher courses) that you’ll need to attend to maintain accreditation in this area.

CET HV Switching Course

Becoming a qualified HV switcher is a lengthy and involved process due to the workplace safety implications of the work involved. That being said, no matter what field you want to work in, the vital first step is completing a HV Switching course with a Registered Training Organisation like us. Then every 2 to 3 years, potentially complete a *refresher HV switching course to re-validate your competencies.
Get in touch with CET to learn more about our post trade courses and how you can gain this valuable skill set that will greatly enhance your future employment prospects.
*These courses are typically delivered in conjunction with Coex Training

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