Safety of solar plant construction

Safety of solar plant construction

Napelem parkok építésének munkavédelme

It is no exaggeration at all to say that solar plants are currently growing like mushrooms, in Hungary.

According to an article of the Energy Club (Energiaklub), in 2016 the Hungarian Energy and Public Utility Regulatory Authority (MEKH) issued permits for 1,917 solar power plant constructions (930 MW in total)…that’s not a few.

So there is plenty to build, and if we are building, don’t forget about safety.

What should we pay attention to?

Apart from the fact that, of course, the construction of solar plants must be provided with OSH basics, which are common on any other constructions, like

  • risk assessment
  • on-site safety coordinator
  • medical examination of the employees
  • personal protective equipment regulation
  • etc…

it is useful to take into consideration some project-specific safety aspects as well.

WHAT ARE THESE?

When constructing solar plants, the supporting structure is usually not on concrete foundations, but on piles or ground screws, for which a pile-driving machine or a ground screwdriver machine is used. As in our small country there were big battles, you have to make sure that the soil is ammunition-free (which report is usually not cheap) before you start the construction, and you have to get infomred about the routes of the underground public utilities. The fence surrounding the solar plants is often executed by drilling the place of columns with a drilling machine, therefore when designing the fence, public utility routes also have to be taken into account.

Pay particular attention to the protective distances of the electrical cables and the proper marking of underground cables.

Special attention should also be paid to the existence of complete documentation of excavation machinery, pile driving machines, earth-drilling machines and other machinery and the availability of suitable fire extinguishers, based on the weight of the specific machinery.

There are, of course, many professional techniques that can be (and should be) used to make the construction much safer. For example, it is advisable to connect the cables of the solar panels (due to the additive voltages) at the possible latest stage of the construction.

For the leader of a construction company to sleep soundly, the above mentioned activities are not enough. There are loads of other things to pay attention to, such as:

  • taking care about material and personal conditions of first aid
  • providing social facilities
  • shock protection report of on-site facilities/containers
  • inspection report of used tools, equipments
  • safety data sheets for hazardous materials (paint, oil, thinner…)
  • etc, etc…
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