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Using generators as back up for your company this winter? Here are six generator safety tips you must follow...

by , 18 June 2013
While power utility Eskom has been quick to reassure the public that load-shedding has NOT started, it's warned that South Africa would face a tight system this winter. This means power outages may be on the cards.

If you're planning to use a generator as a precautionary measure in your company, you must take precautions to protect yourself and your employees. Here are six generator safety tips you can use...

If you plan to use, or are using a generator, you must reduce the health and safety risks of your employees.

If you overlook this area, you could be poisoning your employees with carbon monoxide (CO) without even realising it. In addition, a petrol leak in your generator can cause a massive explosion and completely wipe out your company!

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

'If you don't comply with the safety requirements for generators you'll be guilty of an offence, and if you're convicted in court you'll pay a fine of up to R1 000 or go to jail for up to six months,' warns the Health and Safety Advisor.

Are you prepared to take that risk?

Use these safety tips for generators and reduce the health and safety risks of your employees.

Six generator safety tips your company can use

Tip#1: Clear out any objects in the pathway to the generator

Clear the pathway to the generator to prevent falls. Ensure the pathway is wide enough to let a person walk to the generator. This will ensure no one stumbles over objects when the power goes off.

Tip#2: Make sure there's enough ventilation

Make sure you have enough ventilation where the generator is used. Remember that carbon monoxide (CO) gas is deadly. This gas is dangerous and impossible to detect because you can't see or smell it. So ensure there's enough flow of oxygen so the gas can be released outside.

Tip#3: Make sure the wiring isn't damaged

  • Check that the cords and wires on the generator aren't frayed or exposed.
  • Use only grounded, three-prong electrical plugs and avoid extension cords.
  • Don't plug a portable generator into a wall socket to try and power your workplace. This can cause severe electrocution.

Tip#4: Fuel up regularly

Make sure generators are checked regularly to ensure they have all liquids and parts needed for the generator to function properly. For example, the generator's oil should be checked and replaced regularly so it doesn't become damaged when internal metal parts rub against each other.

The generator coolants should also be checked and replaced on a regular basis as per the manufacturer's recommendations.

Tip#5: Check for moisture in the generator

Start the generator for two hours every month to eliminate any moisture that's built up in the fuel tank. Moisture in other parts can cause metal parts to rust and corrode internal wires. The rust will block fuel lines and the generator could fail when you really need it to work.

Tip#6: Keep the generator clean

The generator must always be cleaned of dust and debris. If it isn't, the dust can get into the exhaust of the dirty generator and in other areas which can damage the generator or cause it to overheat. The overheating can start a fire or damage the generator itself.

Using these tips will help you reduce the health and safety risks unsafe generators can cause to your company and your employees.

Turn to chapter G02 of your Health and Safety Advisor to get the nine rules that must be on the notice for the generator.
 

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