World Day for Safety and Health at Work: Aplicaciones Tecnológicas’ solutions for the prevention of occupational hazards

World Day for Safety and Health at Work is celebrated on 28 April. This day, established by the International Labour Organization in 2003, seeks to raise awareness of the need to identify and control the hazards and risks associated with a production process, as well as to encourage the development of activities and measures necessary to prevent risks arising from work. Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A. has various solutions used in health and safety policies.

Workplace accidents are the cause of 2.7 million deaths per year, according to the latest report of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the occasion of World Day for Safety and Health at Work. In the European Union alone there were more than 3 million non-fatal accidents at work. For this reason, on the World Day for Safety and Health at Work the aim is to raise awareness of the need for measures to minimise accidents at work.

Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A. has several solutions for the prevention of occupational hazards, either derived from a lightning strike, as a preventive protection measure against electrical storms or while welding to make earthing systems.

Prevention of occupational hazards caused by lightning strikes: external, internal and preventive protection

TheTechnical Note of Prevention(NTP) 1084 of the National Institute for Safety and Hygiene at Work is dedicated to the prevention of accidents caused by lightning strikes. This document, a good practice guide, describes the phenomenon of lightning, the risks it causes to workers and property, as well as the necessary measures for the prevention and protection of workers and property.

Lightning prevention and protection measures can be classified as permanent or temporary. Permanent measures, such as lightning arresters and surge protectors, are installed on structures and equipment, while temporary measures are taken when a storm detection system warns of a risk of lightning strike.

External protection

Lightning arresters are intended to intercept lightning in order to conduct the current safely to earth. An external lightning protection system includes a lightning arrester system, a down conductor system to conduct the lightning current to earth and an earthing system to disperse the lightning current to earth. In addition, equipotential bonding must be provided to prevent dangerous sparks in the protected structure.

Currently, there are two types of lightning conductors recognised by the regulations: the Franklin rods, whose installation must follow the UNE-EN 62305 standard, and the lightning conductors with an Early Streamer Emission device (ESE), which must comply with the UNE 21186 standard, both in terms of installation and testing. The Franklin rods are generally installed with other horizontal or meshed conductors to form the arresting system on which the lightning must strike. ESEs are characterised by emitting an upward tracer to intercept the downward leader of the lightning before the rest of the surrounding elements. In this way, they increase the radius of protection covered by a Franklin  rod and can even protect open outdoor areas.

It is recommended that ESEs have an on-site verification system to check their correct operation at any time. For this reason, DAT CONTROLER® REMOTE by Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A. has a self-diagnosis of the air terminal which, by means of IoT (Internet of Things) technology, sends the test result to the user. In this way, not only is the arresting element monitored, but it also saves time and maintenance costs of the installation.

Internal protection

The function of surge protectors is to prevent lightning currents, conducted or induced, from entering buildings and posing a risk to workers. The average lightning current is tens of thousands of amperes and very fast, so that the usual electrical protections (circuit breakers and differential) do not act in time to prevent its passage. In addition, surge protectors prevent the formation of dangerous sparks in potentially explosive areas and also prevent damage to safety equipment.

All surge protectors must comply with the standards of the UNE-EN 61643 series in the tests carried out on them and in their installation. Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A. surge protectors are tested individually, but also in coordination with other surge protectors of different levels.

Preventive protection

The IEC 62793:2020 standard distinguishes between two types of storm detection systems: electromagnetic field-based detectors and electrostatic field sensors. The only ones capable of detecting all phases of a storm as defined in this standard, from the initial phase to the dissipation phase, are electrostatic field detectors.

The ATSTORM® expert local storm detection system, developed and patented by Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A., combines electromagnetic and electrostatic field sensors. Its risk alerts are based exclusively on the measurement of the ambient electrostatic field, while the electromagnetic field sensors allow the monitoring area to be extended and even define a pre-alert status warning in the event of distant active storms approaching the target to be protected.

In addition, the ATSTORM® system is remotely operated by Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S.A. experts via IoT. ATSTORM® uses self-learning techniques to modify its alert calculation algorithms. Thanks to adaptive algorithms, the system adapts to the local conditions of the location where it is installed, thus improving its performance.

Prevention of occupational hazards in welding work

Aluminothermic copper welding, also called exothermic welding, is mainly used in general earthing of electrical installations, but is also used in lightning protection systems, conductor joints and earthing in rail transport, construction and other industrial applications.

The main occupational hazards arising from its use are burns from contact, projection or uncontrolled reactions, together with the risk of fire or explosion. Electronic ignition improves safety in exothermic welding by using non-flammable materials and remote ignition.

Technical Note of Prevention (NTP) 1028 Safety in copper aluminothermic welding of the National Institute for Safety and Health at Work is dedicated to exothermic welding, constituting a basic guide to avoid accidents at work. This Technical Note describes the materials and methods of ignition, lists the risk factors, and indicates how to carry out each step of the welding process safely.

The main hazards and risk factors associated with exothermic welding are related to the ignition process which can cause burns both from material spatter and uncontrolled reactions. In addition, there is a risk of fire or explosion due to projections of incandescent material or high temperatures, which can also reach flammable or explosive materials present. NTP 1028 lists two ignition methods for exothermic welding: remote electronic ignition and traditional ignition with flint igniter.

NTP 1028 recommends that ignition is carried out using electronic ignition, as it allows the user to keep away from sparks and possible projections of the material, eliminating the risks arising from operational errors.

Apliweld® Secure+ is the innovative exothermic welding system developed by Aplicaciones Tecnológicas. It consists of tablet format, electronic initiator and remote ignition, which improves work safety thanks to the electronic remote ignition (activated by Bluetooth) and the use of non-flammable material for ignition.

If you would like more information about the advantages of Aplicaciones Tecnológicas S. A. products for the prevention of occupational hazards, you can contact us through this link or you can attend any of our webinars through the following link.