ET online
July 2009
Training for safety and success

Training for safety and success

02 July 2009

Dennis Neitzel - Director of AVO training institute

Injury, damage to plant, unnecessary failures and outages – all of these are possible outcomes when engineers and technicians are not properly and effectively trained. But what constitutes proper and effective training, and what sets a good training provider apart from the not so good?

One key factor is expertise. Instructors need not only to be conversant with the theory of the subjects they are covering, but also to have relevant practical experience. Only in this way can they explain the real challenges that their trainees will meet in the field.

The training provider should also have excellent industry connections, so that it is always fully up to date with trends and developments. In fact in the best training organisations, the course books are written by the same people that sit on the standards committees that shape the future direction of the industry.

Above all, the training should be heavily biased toward hands-on activities and evaluation. In addition to a written exam, students should be required to perform real procedures on real equipment before gaining a pass, rather than simply watching a video of someone else doing the work and then collecting an almost worthless certificate.

When technicians and engineers are trained by an expert provider, the benefits are enormous, as these examples show.

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance and testing is essential for ensuring the reliability and integrity of electrical distribution systems and equipment. It is, however, often overlooked or performed infrequently, especially in relation to protective devices. This leads to unplanned outages and plant failures. Well-trained technicians and engineers not only understand the need for preventative maintenance, but also have the skills needed to carry it out.

Overcurrent Protection

Crucial for the safe operation of plant, overcurrent protection devices need regular maintenance by trained personnel. This requirement is highlighted by studies that have shown that circuit breakers that have not been maintained according to the manufacturers’ instructions for a period of five years have a 50% probability of failure.

Arc Flash Hazard Analysis

To ensure the safety and protection of personnel, an arc flash hazard analysis must be carried out before anyone operates electrical equipment or approaches electrical conductors or circuit parts that have not been placed in an electrically safe work condition. In addition, a flash protection boundary must be established. Training is essential for these tasks, which must take into account not only the datasheet characteristics of the equipment involved, but also its actual condition and maintenance status.

The AVO Training Institute

To provide organisations with a source of training that fully meets the criteria discussed in this article, The AVO Training Institute Inc., a subsidiary of Megger, offers an extensive range of electrical maintenance, testing, engineering and safety training courses for electrical technicians and engineers.

Since the Institute commenced operations in 1958, hundreds of thousands of students have attended its courses at AVO Learning Centres or at the company’s own premises. For many years, the Institute has trained internationally at customer sites around the world and now it is expanding its operations to meet the fast growing training needs of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries by providing host sites in the region. The first of these is in Bahrain