First What is a Solar Farm According to the Code of Practice ?
According to the Construction and operation of solar farms Code of Practice 2019.
A solar farm is a large scale electrical generating system comprised of photovoltaic (PV) modules and associated electrical infrastructure.
For this code of practice, a solar farm is considered to have a system rating of at least 100kW and is, or will be, operated and maintained by a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU).
A solar farm may also be known as a PV power plant or solar park. PV modules may also be known as PV panels or solar panels.
Examples of solar farms include:
- PV power plants that generate electricity that is primarily supplied into a transmission or distribution network for the PCBU to on-sell
- PV power plants that generate electricity for a specific source such as a mine site or off-grid community
- a business that installs its own PV power plant to supply its business even if it still occasionally draws power from the distribution network
- a large commercial system (e.g. a system installed on the roof of a shopping centre, industrial estate or carpark; PV arrays floating over lakes, dams, or effluent or wastewater treatment ponds)
- specifically designed industrial or housing estate which has interconnected PV installations that result in a system that is greater than 100kW.
Where a PV installation does not fit within the definition of a solar farm but subsequent variations, additions or changes in ownership (e.g. a residential installation is leased to a PCBU), result in the installation being captured within the definition, this code will apply depending on the life cycle stage of the solar farm.
Importantly, if a PCBU is not captured by this code of practice, but they are operating a PV installation that has a system rating of less than 100kW, they still have duties to ensure their business is conducted in a way that is electrically safe and the health and safety of workers or other people is not put at risk by the conduct of the business.
PCBUS ( Business Owners ) Responsibilities
Where workers are exposed to remote or isolated work PCBUs must provide a system of work that includes effective communication with the worker. This may include providing access to a telephone, radio or satellite communication system. Other mechanisms for controlling health and safety risks include:
- ensuring workers are trained in remote first aid (including treatment of snake bites)
- implementing a buddying system (e.g. maintenance is undertaken in teams of two or more workers)
- utilising distress beacons (e.g. activation of the beacon indicates that an emergency exists)
- maintaining worker movement records (e.g. implementing a call-in system with supervisors or colleagues)
- other training, information and instruction (e.g. training in communication systems and obtaining emergency assistance).
What should I do If working remotely?
Planning is vital to ensure the health and safety of workers when working in remote or isolated locations or situations. Factors to consider when planning for remote work or isolated work include:
- suitability of communication equipment available for workers
- the training and competence of remote workers and the availability of safety equipment at the location
- means for managers to track the location of workers
- access to suitably qualified first aid personnel and emergency services.
What Training Do We need to Supply?
There are many different styles of training and courses you will need to supply your workers onsite during and after construction of the solar plant. Cardiac Safe is able to assist in identifying training needs and can supply training in , First aid, Remote Area working, LV Rescue, 4WD Driving, Side by Side UTV driving, we can even customise the content of the courses to suite the sites risks and hazards.
Workers involved in the construction and operation of solar farms should also be provided with information and training on:
- work health and safety legislation and codes of practice
- the risk management process
- inspection and maintenance programs
- how to access information such as manufacturer’s instructions
- first aid procedures, location of facilities and who to contact
- emergency procedures, including who to contact in an emergency.
The needs of workers should be considered when deciding the structure, content and delivery of training. This includes consideration of literacy levels, work experience and skills required to carry out the work.
For example emphasis should be provided on:
- Exposure to heat stress,
- Snake bites
- Poor access to emergency services
- First aid treatment
as these are some of the main hazards that increase the risk of remote and isolated work at solar farms.
How Can Cardiac Safe Help You?
Cardiac Safe can assist with the delivery of site based first aid training based around your sites risks and hazards, we can also assist with identifying procedures to make the job safer. With our experience not just as a emergency responder but also with our history of working in the Electrical industry we understand the unique work environment and risks associated.