Electrical substations are a key component of the electricity grid transmission system. When electricity is generated in power stations it is transmitted over long distances at high voltage, to reduce transmission loss. This high voltage is converted to a lower voltage for use by households and businesses. Because of the high voltage components in substations it is important that safety precautions are taken to ensure that citizens are not electrocuted.
Gates and Fencing
Substations are typically surrounded by metal fences to make them inaccessible to the public. Entrances to substations are blocked by gates that can only by opened by technicians. These fences are often topped with barbed wire or spikes to prevent people from gaining access by climbing over the fences.
High voltage signs are placed on fences and gates to warn of the potential danger of electrocution. These warning signs are also placed on the side of the substation. These signs often contain text such as "danger of death -- electricity -- keep out" or "electrical supply station -- danger -- all unauthorised persons are forbidden to enter." These warning signs often include a symbol of a man being electrocuted.
In the event a substation is damaged, it's possible that the metallic casing of the substation or the metal fencing around the substation may come into contact with live electrical cables. This damage may be caused by high winds causing trees to fall on the substation. To prevent harm to the public, the metal components of the substation casing and fences must be connected to a ground. This means the electrical charge will flow away and into the ground.
Public education programs through websites, television advertising and presentations in schools help raise awareness of the hazards of substations and discourage people from trying to enter them. It is particularly important that children who may not understand warning signs understand the dangers of high voltage.