Working Group B2.64 was established to increase the awareness of live-line working requirements for equipment certification and personnel training. A previous ITL article in August 2019 provided a progress report on the WG. The work is now complete and Technical Brochure (TB) 865 was published in February 2022. The Australian member on the working group was Alex Price.
At the time of producing the interim report, it was noted that, while there are benefits of carrying out live working in terms of improved reliability, there are also increased risks and costs. These risks and costs will vary, depending on the rules and regulations imposed and the extent of risk mitigation employed. With the ever-increasing pressure to improve both technical and financial performance, there is a benefit in exploring practices across the world to both improve performance and to provide reassurance that risks are being managed consistent with global practices.
The brochure includes two main parts:
Live-line maintenance on overhead power lines is a commonly used work technique worldwide at low, medium and high voltage levels. This requires specialist tools, equipment and procedures in order to maintain and ensure safety of personnel carrying out the works.
Lack of a common framework
The live-line tools and equipment undergo various inspections before use such as type tests by the manufacturers, utility acceptance tests before first use, on-site pre-use tests and periodic tests at a pre-defined period of time. However, there is a lack of a common framework in place defining the different tests and the required frequency of inspections for such equipment.
Need for training regimes
Another important aspect regarding live-line working is the need for different levels of training and education of personnel involved in live working techniques. Basic, introductory training and refresher training may vary depending on the country, as well as the examination and certification requirements. Refresher courses after a specified period of time are especially important to maintain the skills and competence of the personnel as well as update the personnel on changes in procedures and new equipment. The courses also identify any procedural issues. Regular, routine refresher training contributes towards ensuring an up-to-date knowledge base and improves the safety of the personnel involved in live-line maintenance at all voltage levels.
Inspection and testing
The TB categorizes the tests for new equipment, then focuses on pre-use and periodical tests of tools already in use. It addresses the importance of identifying the correct load and stress parameters used during the inspection and testing, and applying them correctly, with consideration of the effects of the mechanical and electrical stresses during the lifetime of the tools and equipment. Both the technical and legal implications have been considered, mostly focusing on the EU, Australia, USA, Canada and South-Africa.
The TB 865 is available on e-cigre and is free for members and 270€ for non-members.