Safety Manager Pasi Lehtonen has completed a long career in electricity networks. When Lehtonen completed his studies in 1983, he transferred from his role in the construction and maintenance of the distribution network to Imatran Voima’s central control room. His main duties were to monitor the national network and handle electricity generation.
“The electrical safety aspect came along a little later, and responsibilities at Fingrid have become more pronounced over the last 10–15 years,” Lehtonen says.
Until June 2019, Lehtonen worked as Fingrid’s person in charge of both operation of electrical installations and of electrical work. At that point, the responsibilities were divided among two people as the workload had increased. Lehtonen says that most of his work has consisted of being in charge of operation of electrical installations and taking care of electrical safety at substations, transmission lines and reserve power plants on the main grid. These tasks will now be assigned to different people.
Fingrid’s stakeholders will recognise Lehtonen as a promotor of electrical safety, as he has been in charge of Fingrid’s electrical safety training for suppliers on projects and in maintenance. The courses have focused on installing Fingrid’s safety requirements into the everyday activities of people working on every part of the grid.
As Lehtonen prepares to retire, he says that his work with Fingrid’s personnel as well as with suppliers has gone smoothly.
“Cooperation has been a significant part of the work – the core of the job. Nothing can be pushed forward by one person alone. It requires a broader perspective; one that can only be achieved through cooperation.”
Long-term sparring required
Over the last year, Lehtonen has been giving Senior Expert Jani Pelvo the benefit of his long-term experience in Fingrid’s corporate security unit. Pelvo, now person in charge of operation of electrical installations, says that it would have been impossible to go through such a wide-ranging area in an ordinary, brief orientation.
“Many things have a long history behind them, but they have become clearer thanks to Pasi.”
Person in charge of operation of electrical installations is responsible for ensuring that the electrical installations and power plants on the main grid are safe to operate and do not present a hazard to third parties. Person in charge of operation of electrical installations is also responsible for ensuring that everyone who operates any electrical installation has the requisite professional skills and orientation. The position is also subject to the provisions of the Electrical Safety Act, and it is supervised by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes).
Pelvo says that his everyday work in charge of operation of electrical installations mainly consists of developing guidelines and procedures, as well as electrical safety instructions and training courses. Guidelines and procedures will be improved with the help of an effective safety observation system. Pelvo has worked at Fingrid since 1999 in various operator positions in the main grid control centre, as well as in roles involving operations training.
“I can take over the safety of the main grid with confidence. We have hundreds of people working to maintain the main grid and keep it safe every day, and I have known many of them for a long time.”
Securing critical professional skill led to additional responsibility
There are not many people who possess the specialist skills required to conduct testing work and the related fault repairs, so Fingrid has recruited employees for electrical work that requires special expertise. At the same time, the responsibility for managing electrical work has grown.
Unit Manager Kimmo Muttonen, person in charge of electrical work , says that Finland is suffering from a shortage of testers. Testers ensure that systems work as planned.
“It is important for us to have access to testers because we are constantly expanding the grid. Sufficient professional competence also has a bearing on the reliability of the grid.”
Muttonen, who has worked for Fingrid for three years, has a long background in electricity network maintenance, project development and construction in industry. At Fingrid, the management of electrical work is one of the duties of the Unit manager, Secondary Systems .
In accordance with the Electrical Safety Act, if an electrical accident occurs, person in charge of electrical work is always personally responsible.
“In that sense, the role of person in charge of electrical work is a great responsibility, and there are plenty of precedents. The guidelines are clear, and everyone who does electrical work is appropriately qualified, so I am willing to accept that responsibility.”