Safety – Gateway Generating Station

Keeping employees safe from potential arc-flash hazards

Gateway Generating Station
Pacific Gas & Electric Co

Challenge. The plant’s 4160-V and 480-V switchgear installations present a great risk to employees when racking and grounding. Even with 100-cal flash gear and the installation of maintenance switches, the potential for arc-flash hazards has always been of concern to the employees, management, and regulators.

Solution.It was decided that a fully remote-controllable system would be the safest way to mitigate the hazard. The plant team worked together to spec and procure an upgraded remote racking device that would fit all of the site’s 4160-V and 480-V load-center breakers, contactors, and grounding buggies (photos).

   CBS ArcSafe, Denton, Tex, supplied a remotely operated, wireless-actuated racking device which is also equipped with a camera and lighting system, so that the technician can see the breaker, contactor, or grounding buggy while it is being racked in or out. This is all done outside of the room well beyond the arc-flash boundary.

   In addition to the remote racking device, plant personnel implemented a warning beacon and signage on all of the switchgear-room entrances to warn others when work is in progress.

Results.  Employees are completely out of the arc-flash boundary when racking in breakers, contactors, and grounding buggies. Personnel that are not involved in the racking evolution are warned to stay out of the area.

   In addition to the obvious benefit of keeping the employees out of the potential hazard, it’s important to note that the employees helped to drive the changes and upgrades and participated in the design and implementation. Management reviewed and approved the changes and supported the initiative financially. In doing so, it demonstrates a strong and continual commitment from the entire staff towards safety and an incredibly strong safety culture.