11 Tips for Pad-Mounted Transformer Safety

25kVA Pad

11 Tips for Pad-Mounted Transformer Safety

Most of us are familiar with the big green boxes in residential areas, but we may not be equally aware of pad-mounted transformer safety practices. Here are a few tips everyone should remember to stay safe around these units.

Many of us remember, as children, playing on the metal green electrical boxes in or near our yards. Most of us had no idea what they were or why they were there. Unfortunately, we probably didn’t know of the potential danger we were putting ourselves in either. This is despite the warning stickers they almost certainly carried.

Pad-mounted transformers take electricity from underground wires and step down the voltage from 8,000 volts or more to 120/240 volts to be used in homes. This is enough electricity to seriously hurt someone or worse. So understanding pad-mounted transformer safety rules is essential for everyone.

Here are our 11 pad-mounted transformer safety tips that everyone should follow to avoid potential injury and death from electrocution.

  1. Never attempt to open a transformer box without authorization and proper training. The green containment boxes are designed to keep people safe, but opening the box can expose you to the live electricity wires that have enough juice to kill a person. Tampering with a transformer is not only dangerous, but it can also get you a hefty fine.
  2. Don’t paint or otherwise cover transformer boxes. The green paint helps electrical workers identify the transformer as having live voltage inside and to use care. Also, the paint could obscure the warning sign and potentially put others at risk.
  3. Don’t stick anything through the cracks into the transformer casing. Again, this could create a dangerous situation where you or someone else may be electrocuted or cause a power outage by accident.
  4. Don’t sit or play on transformers. While they are built for safety, conditions that might make a transformer unsafe can never completely be ruled out. It’s better to keep your distance and teach your kids to do the same. Look for and follow warning labels on pad-mounted transformers and all other electrical equipment.
  5. Teach children what the warning sign means and to recognize it when they see it in the future. Children are safer when they’ve been trained on pad-mounted transformer safety since they are so close to it. Teach them to come and get you if they notice any damage to the transformer or see someone tampering with it.
  6. Leave 10 feet of unobstructed space on the opening side and five feet on the other sides of a transformer. This includes landscaping, sheds, and storing other personal items. This allows the linesman to access the transformer safely. If they don’t have proper space to work, this may put them at risk, which could delay needed service.
  7. If you find a transformer lock open, broken, or missing, notify your utility company immediately. Keep others away from the transformer until a professional arrives. Even professionals are sometimes electrocuted working on transformers. The risk of accidental electrocution for non-professionals is much higher.
  8. Report leaking oil or other damage. Pad-mounted transformers are cooled using oil. If there is oil leaking, it could be a sign of structural damage and lead to the system overheating and a loss of power in the area.
    Likewise, if you see damage to the welding or if you witness a transformer being damaged by a vehicle, please report it to your utility company.
  9. Give electrical workers space. If you see a professional working on a transformer, keep your distance and follow their instructions. This is not only for your safety but also for theirs. If the worker worries about you or your kids getting too close, they’ll be less focused on their work and may put themselves at risk.
  10. Never dig near a pad-mounted transformer. Wires from a transformer could stretch in any direction. Hitting one of these wires with a shovel could cause electrocution.
    In fact, if you do need to dig anywhere in your yard, call 811 first. They will be able to tell you where it is safe to dig in your yard and where it isn’t. If you don’t, you could be fined along with endangering your life.
  11. If you witness someone getting electrocuted:
    Whether from a transformer or another source of electricity, follow these precautions if someone around you is injured by electric current.
  • Don’t touch them if they’re still in contact with the transformer or other source of electricity.
  • Stay at least 20 feet away from downed live wires, more if they are sparking or jumping.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency number for help if the injured person has confusion, breathing difficulties, heart problems including rhythm problems or cardiac arrest, severe burns, muscle pain or spasms, seizure, or loss of consciousness.
  • If you are able to safely turn off the source of electricity without exposing yourself to the current, do so. Otherwise, contact your power company to have it turned off.
  • If the electrocuted person is not breathing, administer CPR if you are trained in it.
  • Keep the injured person warm.
  • Use a sterile gauze bandage if available or a clean cloth or sheet to wrap burns. Don’t use a towel or blanket as they may leave fibers that will stick to the burn.

For Transformer Service or Replacement, Contact UTB Transformers

Pad-mounted transformer safety is something everyone should be aware of and take seriously. Contact a utility company immediately if you are aware of a damaged transformer. If you or someone else is injured by electricity, call 911.

If you are responsible for replacing or repairing a damaged transformer, we are here to help. UTB Transformers provides pad-mounted transformers that come standard with tamper-proof cabinets, bayonet fuses, pressure relief devices, and liquid temp gauges to help prevent and control dangerous situations.We also supply pole-mounted, substation, and many other types of transformers. We buy old and surplus transformers. Contact us today to start an order or for more information.