Finally, Power Department wakes up to employees' deaths due to electrocution

Amid rise in deaths due to electrocution, Power Department has woken up to plug the “loopholes” resulting in the accidents. After the recent death of a casual laborer on Eid during maintenance operation, the department faced criticism for laxity resulting in the deaths.

Following the incident, senior officials of the department held a meeting to chalk out the roadmap to ensure safe practices while working on the field. An official said a seven-member committee was formed to devise SOPs for ensuring shutdowns during power restoration and repairs.

“We had SOPs in bits and pieces having number of loopholes which the committee will look into. Our main problem is that much hasn’t been done to make our ground staff follow the SOPs in letter and spirit which should have been the main priority. Most of the times the Permit to Work (PTW) is not taken seriously. There is a need to allow proper documentation of who is to be allowed to work on the ground, when and under whom. All these issues result in loss of precious lives which are growing on with each passing day. Even if we have safety equipment, it won’t yield any result unless we make our ground staff use it and make it sure that everyone follows safety protocols,” the official said.

As per the order the committee will draft SOPs based on the guildines from Central electricity authority (CEA), Grid Code regulations and the best practices followed in the country. The committee will also identify and nominate work permit issuers and receivers, sub-station and feeder-wise. All the details of officials involved in maintenance and other ground work will be documented.

The order said the committee will also work out requirements of isolation equipment, earthing equipment, safety and personal protective equipment and its financial implications. The committee has also been asked to recommend a road map for capacity building of technical staff.

Managing Director, KPDCL Aijaz Asad said in order to achieve “no accidents” goal the committee has been asked to work on all the issues and submit a report within a week.

He said a lot has to be done in plugging the loopholes on administrative and ground level for safety of the employees. “Precious lives can be saved if the SOPs and use of PPEs are applied on the ground. Any maintenance or ground work won’t be allowed without proper signed copies of Permit to Work (PTW). We will do everything to increase accountability on the ground and make sure that everyone follows the protocols,” Asad said.