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Electricity Industry recognises safety excellence

National awards for workplace safety, public safety and young engineer of the year were presented today at the Electricity Engineers' Association Conference in Auckland.

“More people, organisations and Governments are looking to electricity to take them into a low carbon future,” said Peter Berry, executive director of the Electricity Engineers' Association (EEA). “These awards give us a chance to showcase the innovation and achievements of our people and organisations who are taking our industry forward.”

2019 EEA Young Engineer of the Year is Michael Dalzell, Team Leader – HVDC & Power Electronics Engineering at Transpower.

“Michael Dalzel has achieved outstanding success in just a few years and has received significant praise from inside and outside the company, from industry academia and researchers; and from international engineering groups,” said Peter Berry.

Michael is a fast-developing international specialist in HVDC, assets that are critical to the NZ power supply. Michael is responsible for all engineering aspects associated with Transpower’s HVDC link, represents New Zealand on international electrical body CIGRE’s International B4 (HVDC & Power Electronics) Study Committee and was part of the group which published the international HVDC electrode design technical brochure. He is the Transpower representative on the New Zealand Committee for the Co-ordination of Power and Telecommunications Systems, and has been part of the research team from the University of Otago and Victoria University looking into Solar Tsunamis: Risks to New Zealand’s Electricity Network

An advocate of encouraging younger people into engineering, Michael is part of Transpower’s graduate programme and has organised numerous secondary school and university tours to the Haywards HVDC substation.

As part of his Award, Michael will be representing New Zealand at the 2019 International Electrotechnical Commission’s IEC Young Professionals Workshop, which is being held in October in Shanghai, China. EEA, Standards New Zealand and the IEC will be supporting his attendance.

The EEA Public Safety Award was presented to Unison for their ‘Be Aware Electricity Kills’ Programme.

Contractors and ‘tradies’ were causing the majority of Unison’s damages, a significant safety issue where live electricity lines and cables are involved. As a response Unison have undertaken a comprehensive programme, targeted at mobile plant operators, trade staff, other utility contractors, forestry workers and DIYers. The community engagement included ‘tradie’ events at Mitre 10 and at contractor forums to deliver the key safety messages.

“Just taking about safety turns them off pretty quick,” said Victoria Jameson, Unison’s Health and Safety Manager. “Many had never seen a cable up close. We took damaged kit to these events and every item had a story behind it, that really had an impact.”

Winners of the Workplace Safety Award are Powernet for their ‘Industry game changer– the pole grab’ project.

There are over 1.5 million power poles in New Zealand and many Electricity Distribution Businesses have significant work programmes to replace them. Working on poles is a significant safety risks to field staff. The lightweight pole grab, which adapts technology used in the forestry industry, allows greater stability, maneuverability and flexibility. The easy to use pole grab is resulting in fewer incidents, safer outcomes and improved efficiency.

“Engage and empower members of your team,” said Joe Reti, Field Training Officer for Powernet. “They are the key to unlocking solutions to our challenges.”

This year there was also a Merit Award presented to WEL Networks for their entry ‘WEL Educated – a new approach to safety training’ programme.

“Our awards this afternoon recognise the people, companies and projects that are making our industry and communities safer and better,” said Peter Berry.

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