Castell joins CPD Certification Service

Training material for switchgear and loading industries now available

Castell has become a certified member of The CPD Certification Service.

Castell has become a certified member of The CPD Certification Service

Continuing professional development (CPD) is used by companies to build awareness of the value of training & development in order to remain successful in the workplace. By 2017 every professionally-registered engineer will have to be able to demonstrate that they are actively pursuing and recording their CPD commitments.

Castell has produced two sets of training material, ‘Trapped Key Interlocking in the Switchgear Industry’ and ‘Efficient and Safe Loading’, along with certified technical guides. The guides are used to build awareness of drivers within the industry, the benefits of using trapped key interlocking and how the technology can be applied to real-life situations.

Castell plans to introduce further training material for other industries in the near future. Topics will include the safe isolation of LV switchgear and safety interlocking in food processing.

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Castell launches new Salvo™ loading bay safety system for leased warehouses

Latest SML-EI system requires minimal footprint and installation

Castell has launched a cost-effective new version of its Salvo™ loading bay safety system, designed specifically for customers who have leased warehouses.

Castell has launched a cost-effective new version of its Salvo™ loading bay safety system specifically for customers who have leased warehouses

Quick and easy installation is crucial in leased warehouses, due to landlord restrictions and future relocations. All equipment must be able to be easily transferred to other warehouses in the event of a move.

The latest Salvo™ SML-EI system requires minimal footprint and installation while still providing a high level of loading bay safety. The maintenance-free equipment mounts to either the door or post on the inside of the bay, and comes complete with auxiliary contacts in order to connect with traffic lights or existing dock levellers.

Fast, safe access is an important issue in loading bays. Salvo™ prevents the accidental drive-away of a vehicle during loading or unloading by interlocking the trailer’s air brakes with the dock door. The Salvo™ Susie lock attaches to the truck’s emergency brake line, ensuring brakes are applied.

Once the Susie lock is applied, a uniquely-coded key is released. The key is then used to open the bay door to begin loading or unloading the trailer. Only after work is completed and the door closed is the key needed to unlock the Salvo™ Susie lock released, making it impossible for the driver to depart prematurely. Unlike many alternative systems, Salvo™ eliminates human error and provides loading bay workers with complete control over their environment.

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Five ways trapped key interlocks protect tanker loading and unloading

Loading and unloading tankers carries significant risk. Procedures are often complicated, particularly when earth lines and valve systems are involved. Drivers have to consider variables such as load characteristics, the frequency of vehicle movement and the number of products to be loaded or unloaded.

Potential issues include:

• “Drive-aways” while tankers are connected to equipment or damage to extended gantries;
• The wrong substance being loaded or unloaded;
• Shortcuts being taken and steps in safe loading missed, such as earth line connections being made or hoses returned;
• The danger of loading or unloading hazardous or flammable substances;
• Product spillage;
• The environmental impact of product release.

Loading and unloading tankers carries significant risk

Trapped key interlocks (TKIs) provide specific protection and risk control in these types of application. TKIs encode procedures to ensure that systems can only operate one way: the safe way. Depending on the application, TKIs typically control five main risks:

1) They immobilise vehicles while loading and unloading is taking place by using an airline interlock or interlocking existing barriers. This prevents a “drive-away” while equipment is connected.

2) For multi-step processes, they force drivers to always follow the correct procedure and avoid shortcuts.

3) They ensure that valves can only be operated when it is safe to do so.

4) They make sure the correct substance can only be delivered or received by the appropriate tanker.

5) As primarily mechanical devices, they do not pose an ignition-source risk in hazardous areas.

Designing an effective TKI-controlled tanker loading system requires a clear understanding of the procedure involved and the equipment to be included in each stage of the process. This should be carried out in conjunction with a thorough risk assessment of the process itself.

By: David Hughes, Sales Director, Castell Safety International Ltd.

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Industrial safety: the true cost of cost-saving

Reducing costs is a priority for businesses around the world. The traditional view of safety is that it reduces efficiency and costs too much to implement. If safety devices are susceptible to environmental degradation and can be defeated, so the thinking goes, do they have any real value?

In fact, creating a well-designed safety system for a specific operation can have a positive impact on both productivity and costs.

New sentencing guidelines for serious workplace incidents in the UK will come into force in early 2016

There are five separate steps to achieving operational gains and cost savings.

1)    Implement a safety system for the lifetime of the equipment

Ensuring that a safety system is designed for the life of the equipment can reduce maintenance and running costs significantly. Trapped key interlocks have proven over decades that they are durable and robust, particularly in harsh or difficult environments.

2)    Reduce the number of electrical connections

Production managers in industries such as food and beverage confirm that electrical devices have a major impact on downtime, especially after washdown cycles. Mechanical safety systems, such as trapped key interlocks, reduce the number of electrical connections and therefore the number of potential failure points. Removing the need for extensive wiring looms also reduces the initial machine cost.

3)    Design the safety system in harmony with the operation of the equipment

Designing a safety system that safely encodes the operational process of the machinery will reduce variance produced by individual operators running the equipment in different ways. In effect, the safety system can ensure that human variance is removed.

4)    Implement robust safety measures

Operators will try to bypass safety systems, so it is important to ensure that the chosen system is durable enough to withstand such attempts. Preserving both the safe working of the system and the correct operation avoids the cost of potential accidents and prevents the adoption of unsafe processes.

5)    Understand the true cost of ignoring safety requirements

The financial burden of investigations, fines and damages increases every year as legislation and its policing become more stringent.

New sentencing guidelines for serious workplace incidents in the UK are due to be published on 3 November 2015 and will come into force in February 2016. Courts are likely to hand out an increasing number of custodial sentences to convicted individuals, with a minimum of 26 weeks in prison proposed for those guilty of committing offences considered within the highest category of harm i.e. death, high risk of death or catastrophic injury. Organisations labelled large (with a turnover of more than £50m) could receive fines of up to £20m. The tariff for very large companies (whose turnover “very greatly exceeds” £50m) has not been set, but the guidance states “it may be necessary to move outside the suggested range to achieve a proportionate sentence”. Experts believe that fines of £100m are not beyond the realms of possibility.


So the most economical way to approach safety is to

                • embrace the requirements early;
                • carry out thorough risk assessments;
                • design in the safety system as early as possible.

This approach maximises operational efficiency and plant uptime, and reduces risk.

By: David Hughes, Sales Director, Castell Safety International Ltd.

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Castell safeguards maintenance operations on Bombardier trains

Customised trapped key interlocks protect workers by ensuring power remains isolated

Industrial safety specialist Castell has supplied a customised trapped key interlocking system to Bombardier Transportation to safeguard shore supply maintenance operations on ELECTROSTAR trains. The safety system is fitted to all Bombardier ELECTROSTAR trains, produced for Southern Railways, South Eastern Trains and c2c.

Castell's safety system is fitted to all Bombardier ELECTROSTAR trains

“Castell has been supplying trapped key interlocking systems to Bombardier for 15 years,” said Guy Heywood, commodity buyer at Bombardier Transportation. “We chose Castell for this project because we needed a high-quality technical solution that met specific requirements at a competitive price.”

Each safety system comprises a shoe gear earthing switch interlock and a shore supply socket interlock, both of which are mounted on the train carriage.

To connect the shore supply maintenance cable to the shore supply socket on the carriage, all shoe gear earthing switch interlocks must be moved from the ‘normal’ to the ‘shore supply’ position. This action releases a Castell key from the shoe gear earthing switch interlock – the key is trapped when the switch is in the ‘normal’ position – which is inserted into the shore supply socket interlock, along with all the keys from the other shoe gear earthing switch interlocks. The shore supply maintenance cable can then be inserted. The keys cannot be removed until the cable has been disconnected, thus ensuring safe operation.

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Loading dock safety: what do you need to consider?

The risks

The risks posed by loading dock operations can vary dramatically from site to site, and even from bay to bay, depending on the specific circumstances involved. As with other areas of the business, the risks need to be determined by regular assessments before safety plans are developed.

The risks posed by loading dock operations can vary dramatically from site to site

There are six common causes of accident in the loading dock area:

  • Falls from height
  • Movement of vehicles
  • Goods strikes
  • Automation equipment
  • Loading bay pull-offs / drive-aways
  • Uncontrolled loading bay access

Other factors to consider include:

  • Security
  • Pest control
  • Efficiency
  • Environmental impact
  • Traffic flow


Practical considerations

A wide range of loading bay variables will influence the choice of safety solution proposed. These include:

  • Vehicle mix – fixed-bed, semi-trailer or articulated vehicles;
  • Door type – manual or automatic;
  • Door construction – sectional, up-and-over / vertical lifting or roller shutter;
  • Loading bay equipment – lights, traffic lights, levellers, air cushions;
  • Single- or double-height trailers;
  • Communication between drivers and loaders – physical barriers, languages, noise, access points;
  • Temporary and third-party personnel;
  • Training and knowledge.


Safety solutions – What is common practice?

Generally, sites operate a procedure-based system with different levels of sophistication, which all require management intervention. One or more of the following safety precautions will be present:

  • Nothing
  • Traffic lights
  • Leaving the driver’s keys in the office
  • Hanging the driver’s keys on the loading bay door
  • Banksmen / traffic marshals
  • Simple wheel chocks
  • Experience


What are the benefits of engineered solutions?

Engineered solutions isolate the potential hazard by immobilising vehicles while loading takes place. The method of restraint differs between solutions, but each restraint will:

  • Enforce loading procedures;
  • Remove the risk of error;
  • Reduce the dependence on verbal communication for safety;
  • Provide feedback on usage;
  • Improve efficiency;
  • Improve security;
  • Protect assets and personnel.


 Implementing a safe system

There are a number of steps to follow to establish a safety system that is reasonable and practicable:

By: Jason Reed, UK Sales Manager, Castell Safety International Ltd.

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How trapped key interlocking protects workers at HV substations

Interlocking switchgear within HV substations ensures that personnel operate equipment safely, according to the correct procedures. Using a well-designed trapped key interlocking scheme will prevent personnel accessing potentially dangerous areas before the switchgear system has been put into a safe condition.

A good interlocking scheme will also ensure that the system functions correctly, so that there is no chance of, for example, switching two incoming feeds onto a common bus bar. This protects the equipment from damage and greatly reduces the risk of fire or arc flash.

A well-designed trapped key interlocking scheme will prevent personnel accessing potentially dangerous areas before the HV switchgear system has been put into a safe condition

There are four ways trapped key interlocks (TKIs) protect HV substations and their operators:

  1. Many HV substations are located in remote, unmanned sites which can attract attempted unauthorised access. TKIs help to safeguard this kind of vulnerable equipment.
  2. TKIs intended for HV substations have a proven design life of 45 years, allowing the safety devices to perform through decades of operation.
  3. Trapped key interlocking enforces the correct operation of equipment and therefore protects the continuity of supply.
  4. TKIs ensure that part of a system is isolated and correctly earthed before maintenance can be carried out on that section.

By: Adam Felton, Technical Marketing, Castell Safety International Ltd.

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Switchgear and protection: trapped key interlocking vs LOTO

There are two potential options when considering a mechanical safety system for switchgear applications. The choice is between a trapped key interlocking system or a padlock-based lock-out / tag-out (LOTO) system. Both systems:

  • Provide a method of isolating switchgear.
  • Allow safe personnel access when maintenance of machinery is required.
  • Are available in full stainless steel or brass versions.
  • Offer a comprehensive range of products with different forms and sizes to suit the needs of the equipment concerned.

However, in terms of safety, trapped key interlocks (TKIs) offer significantly higher levels of protection compared with LOTO.

Trapped key interlocks safeguarding a switchgear installation

This is due to the four reasons given below:

  1. TKIs are durable with a proven track record of withstanding harsh operating environments through decades of operation.
  2. TKI’s force workers to follow a strict process which prevents them from deliberately skipping or inadvertently missing steps. The equipment is interlocked together in such a way that steps cannot be overlooked or ignored.
  3. In an environment where staff may be unfamiliar with operations and speak a range of different languages, the enforced procedure of TKIs negates miscommunication or misunderstanding of operating practice.

    Misunderstandings are a risk when staff speak a range of different languages

  4. When there is a need for full-body access, TKIs provide a personnel key that protects workers from potential danger and puts them in control of the process. Until the personnel key is returned, the switchgear cannot be returned to the live state.

By: Adam Felton, Technical Marketing, Castell Safety International Ltd.

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How trapped key interlocking protects switchgear workers

The ability to work across HV, MV and LV switchgear means that a trapped key interlocking system can be used as a single solution to provide personnel safety and ensure equipment is used in the correct way.

Major switchgear manufacturers recognise the safety benefits that trapped key interlocks provide

Major switchgear manufacturers recognise the safety benefits that trapped key interlocks provide and design equipment to be able to accept this safety technology across their own breakers, isolators, switch disconnectors and earth switch mechanisms.

When used with switchgear, a well-designed trapped key interlocking scheme:

  • Forces operators to follow a predetermined switching schedule. This ensures the safe operation of switchgear and eliminates the risk of human error while switching between supplies.
  • Allows less-skilled operators to be able to switch between supplies comfortably as they are forced to follow a certain switching schedule, which enforces the safe operating process.
  • Protects workers by ensuring that personnel cannot access potentially dangerous areas without the switchgear system being put into a safe condition.

Trapped key interlocks provide a high level of safety for both operators and equipment as the operating procedure has to be strictly followed and cannot be circumvented.

By: Adam Felton, Technical Marketing, Castell Safety International Ltd.

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Castell supplies safety interlocks to large hydropower project in China

More than 5bn yuan invested in new plant in Xianju

In a first for the company, Castell is participating in the construction of a Chinese hydropower plant.

More than 5bn yuan (£535m) has been invested in the hydropower plant project in Xianju, Zhejiang province.

Castell will provide multiple sets of FS industrial safety interlocks and key exchange boxes for the large project currently under construction in Xianju, Zhejiang province. These devices prevent the busbar earthing switch from connecting during maintenance on high-voltage switchgear, and so guarantee the safety of maintenance staff.

Tian Xinhai, Castell China sales manager, said: “This is the first time Castell has entered the Chinese hydropower field, which is of landmark significance to Castell’s business in China. While maintaining our leading edge in the fields of nuclear and thermal power, we will use the experience gathered from those fields to provide quality products and services for our Chinese hydropower clients.”

More than 5bn yuan (£535m) has been invested in the hydropower plant project in Xianju. The project will take five and a half years to complete. Upon completion, the system’s comprehensive thermal power peak load regulation range will be cut by 2.44%, reducing the system’s standard coal consumption by 155,000 tonnes. After being put into operation, the plant will participate in system frequency and phase modulation operations and act as an emergency system backup. It will improve power grid frequency and voltage stability levels, helping to ensure the grid’s safe and stable operation. The plant’s ability to receive large amounts of external power across long distances will be particularly important, and its installed capacity will increase the size of the East China and Zhejiang grids.

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