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Only one out of two energy construction sites operates safely

Only one out of two energy construction sites operates safely

During the first five months of this year, electricity transmission system operator Litgrid conducted 25 employee safety audits at contractor work sites. Violations were identified at more than half – 14 sites; in many cases, several violations were found.
“Safety rules are important in every job, but neglecting to comply with them in the field of electricity can have particularly painful consequences: cases of negligence in the vicinity of high-voltage electrical equipment can end in death. Compromises regarding safety rules are therefore out of the question,” says Vidmantas Grušas, director of the Litgrid Transmission Grid Department.
All construction, reconstruction and operational work in the electricity transmission network is done by Litgrid contractors – companies that have won public procurement tenders. Each of these companies is responsible for ensuring that their employees work in a safe manner and comply with all the rules, but Litgrid specialists also look after their safety by carrying out work safety audits on a regular basis.
Litgrid has established a total of 31 work safety violations at contractor work sites this year. Mr Grušas notes that summer is the busy season for work on the electricity transmission network, so occupational safety issues can become even more sensitive.
The most common violations are related to the organisation of work - for example, in filling orders, workplaces or nearby danger zones are not described accurately, a responsible person is not present at the workplace, employees are only given formal instruction. Such errors account for as much as 70 per cent of all the safety violations established by Litgrid. Approximately one-fifth of violations are related to the workplace not being prepared properly: sites are not enclosed, cable channels are not covered, and danger zones exist. Cases where employees are working without personal protective equipment such as helmets are less frequent.
“We have noticed that safety requirements related to the completion of documents are sometimes considered less important. However, failure to comply with them can end just as painfully as other safety violations: when work is organised improperly, there is a risk that work will be done in an unfit location or even without turning off electric installations in operation,” says the director of the Litgrid Transmission Grid Department.
For failure to comply with safety rules, Litgrid specialist can impose warnings or fines on contractors, or stop work. This year the company is tightening occupational safety control by modifying internal legislation and paying more attention to discussions with contractors.
“Working in a safe manner is first and foremost the responsibility of each individual, but people tend to lose vigilance after working in a hazardous environment for a long time. We therefore invite all of our partners and contractors to discuss this topic with their employees on a regular basis, and take a moment every day to assess whether I am really doing everything I can to ensure that I will come back from work healthy,” says Mr Grušas.
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