Electrical switchgear engineers NOJA Power today announces the release of a software application (‘app’) that improves job safety for Electrical Utility Linesmen. The NOJA Power Recloser App runs on Apple’s handheld devices and allows the Linesman to check the status of the Automatic Circuit Recloser (ACR) and make changes to its operation without having to leave the ground.
In the early days of the electricity grid, about one in four Electrical Utility Linesmen suffered fatal job-related injuries, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although the adoption of tighter safety regulations and procedures has helped lower the risk of injury and death in recent years Linesmen still come in at number ten on the list of most dangerous jobs in the nation. In the U.S., the job had a fatality rate of 19.5 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2011 (the latest year for which figures are available), with a total of 26 fatalities for the year. That compares with a rate of 3.5 deaths per 100,000 workers across all occupations.
NOJA Power’s Recloser App helps to lower the risk of injury or death for a Linesman by reducing the number of times the technician has to climb poles supporting medium voltage electricity distribution cables to reach an ACR’s control cabinet. This is a hazardous undertaking because the climb is often attempted in poor weather, the cabinet can be tens of metres off the ground and the cables carry thousands of volts.
Running on an Apple iPhone®, iPod touch® or iPad®, the Recloser App communicates with the NOJA Power OSM ACR’s RC10 control and communication cubicle via a secure Wi-Fi link. (The cabinet must be fitted with an optional Wi-Fi router accessory, which plugs into a USB port.) The wireless connectivity supports IEEE 802.11g and b Wi-Fi standards, provides PPPoE, Dynamic IP and Static IP Internet Access, NAT and DHCP server supporting static IP address distributing, and many other capabilities.
Provided the Linesman is within Wi-Fi’s operational range (typically 50 metres) he will be able to read three phase-current and -voltage (voltage on all six bushings), frequency, power, power factor, power flow direction and energy measurements. In addition, the app also allows the linesman to control ACR functionality such as Trip/Close, Local/Remote, Active Protection Group, Protection On/Off, Auto Reclose On/Off, Live Line On/Off and Earth Fault On/Off among others.
“Inside our factory, safety is our number one priority and we naturally extend this philosophy to our customers” explains Neil O’Sullivan, Managing Director of NOJA Power. “For example, NOJA Power has always ensured that our ACRs comply with arc fault containment and venting standards. If failure occurs, internal arcing is contained and any gases generated are safely vented.
“With the introduction of the NOJA Power Recloser App the tough job of the Electrical Utility Linesman has just got a little easier and safer. The app allows the Linesman to interrogate and control the ACR without having to scale the power pole – a risky undertaking at any time, let alone in the adverse weather conditions in which Linesmen are often called out.”
The NOJA Power Recloser App for the company’s OSM range of ACRs (see “About the NOJA Power OSM range” below) is available as a free download from the Apple App Store and is compatible with third, fourth and fifth generations of iPhone and iPod touch, and latest generation of the iPad.
References: 1. “2011 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries”, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. http://www.bls.gov/iif/oshcfoi1.htm.
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