Generator Power: Electrical Safety for Construction and Manufacturing Use
For both construction sites and industrial facilities, ensuring electrical safety is a priority. The first order of business is to verify the voltage and phase requirements for the job site or facility to prevent damage to the equipment or injury to untrained personnel. That is why it’s critical to work with a certified electrician when implementing portable power.
If transformers are being used, it’s important to confirm that the proper vector configuration is in place for the electrical system. In a manufacturing or other industrial plant, there are typically personnel who can provide that information, while a partner like Sunbelt Rentals can help with this process on construction sites where contractors may not be as familiar. Factors to keep in mind when it comes to transformer safety include:
- If the transformer is multi-tap, voltages and vector configuration must be verified on the high and low sides.
- When paralleling a transformer, phase verification must take place prior to connecting to the transformer.
- The transformer must be properly grounded, and a qualified electrician must confirm the grounds and neutrals.
The generator must also be grounded, in accordance with National Electrical Code (NEC) or local electrical codes.
Electrical distribution and paralleling generators
In many cases, construction sites and industrial facilities may need to distribute power to multiple areas. This distribution, again, must be undertaken carefully (and by a qualified person) to avoid property damage or personal injury. It’s critical that the individual implementing the power is familiar with the electrical distribution design. On a construction site with many areas to power, Sunbelt Rentals can size the job and provide a recommendation.
Paralleling generators is an excellent means to provide power and build in redundancies that can improve efficiencies and space savings. For example, two smaller 500 kw generators could be paralleled to provide 1000 kw of power and used together to start a motor on a piece of equipment. After, one of the generators can be shut down, effectively providing a built-in backup for later use. To safely parallel generators, it is important to match the voltage and the frequency of the generators. Newer models tend to be more “plug and play” than older generators, but still require a qualified technician for the job.
In a manufacturing or other industrial facility, such as a refinery or chemical plant, it’s important to determine whether there are electrical classification restrictions. If flammable liquids are present, the generator must be placed in a non-classified area at a safe distance to prevent electrical and fire hazards. Locating the generator at a distance from where it is needed may require the use of additional and longer cables and cable management, or the ability to safely tie into the facility’s electrical system.
Even though the installation of generator power should always be completed by a qualified electrician or technician, operators on construction sites and in industrial settings can be trained to safely use them. Working with our dedicated team at Sunbelt Rentals can help operators understand the features of a specific model of generator and how to set them. This is an important step in safeguarding the operator and those in the surrounding area. It’s also important to isolate generators from individuals who have not been properly trained to prevent the risk of injury. Fencing and warning signs are recommended.
Reach out to Sunbelt Rentals for safe generator power solutions at 1-800-667-9328 or click here to learn more.