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    USACE, OSU electrical competence training promotes knowledge, safety and partnership

    USACE, OSU electrical competence training promotes knowledge, safety and partnership

    Photo By Brannen Parrish | Randi Clifton, park ranger, Oologah Lake Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,...... read more read more



    Story by Brannen Parrish 

    U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

    The Tulsa District Safety Office, and the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology - Okmulgee hosted an annual electrical safety training class for lake office maintenance staff at the Okmulgee Campus of Oklahoma State University from April 22 to 25.

    The OSU-IT/USACE Electrical Competence Course consists of 32 hours of instruction and practical application so that students can troubleshoot and address electrical issues at parks and project offices, said David Ford, safety specialist, Tulsa District Safety Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

    “Students, upon graduation should be able to go back to their home duty stations and troubleshoot pedestals that are giving our campers problems,” said Ford. “They should be able to do the work safely and efficiently, we should be able to have less downtime at our parks and it should be safer for our customers and our employees.”

    Between the Tulsa District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ 38 Civil Works projects with recreation missions there are 271 parks and more than 5,000 campsites. Many of those sites have electrical pedestals that support 20-amp, 30-amp, or 50-amp pedestals to power a variety of campers.

    When campers report electrical outages or issues at USACE parks, the maintenance staff attempt to diagnose and repair the problem. Maintenance staff must understand, not only the operation and maintenance of electrical components, but the proper safety precautions and personal protective equipment needed to troubleshoot and repair outages.

    “Electricity presents unique challenges that requires special equipment and training to keep workers protected,” said Hank Farley, a power plant maintenance supervisor from the Broken Bow Power Plant, who has been teaching the course since 2015.

    Electric shock is a potential risk when working with electricity and electrical components but it’s not the only risk maintenance workers encounter.

    “One of the most violent of these, particularly when working with higher voltages, is an arc flash,” said Farley, who also chairs the Tulsa District’s Electrical Safety Working Group. “An arc flash, or flashover, is an electrical explosion, or discharge where an electric current leaves its intended path and travels through the air from one conductor to another, or to ground.”

    Arc flashes typically occur with voltages exceeding 50 volts alternating current, and since temperatures from an explosion reach 35,000 degrees Fahrenheit - more than three and a half times the temperature of the sun – a worker could experience severe burns, lung damage, eye injuries, loss of hearing and blast injuries from an arc flash.

    Since many parks are within the flood pool at USACE lakes, maintenance staff are often tasked with removing certain components from pedestals when lake levels rise.

    “As lake levels come up many of our maintenance personnel, if they can react quick enough, will go out and remove components to keep them from going under water,” said Ford. “If they can’t react fast enough or have enough personnel and the pedestals go under water during a flood, they need to learn what components have to be replaced after a flood. That’s something we teach in the course as well.”

    Most students are lake office maintenance staff but park rangers, occasionally managers, and staff from other Tulsa District offices have attended as well as employees and safety personnel from other Districts looking to improve their electrical safety programs.

    “From time to time we’ll have some navigation program personnel, lock operators, and powerhouse trainees go through the program to get their feet set electrically to start with, but the program is primarily designed for park and lake office maintenance employees,” said Ford.

    The Tulsa District Safety Office, and the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee have cooperated to deliver the course for more than a decade in what Ford said is a mutually beneficial effort.

    “This has been a really great partnership not only for USACE but also for Oklahoma State University,” said Ford.



    Date Taken: 05.02.2024
    Date Posted: 05.02.2024 23:55
    Story ID: 470122
    Location: OKLAHOMA, US

    Web Views: 48
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