Visited a vehicle repairer recently for a pre-arranged training day and was amazed as two of the candidates refused to start the training, one said that he didn’t want to do the training and the other claimed he was too busy. Even more amazingly, the business owner accepted this and allowed them to not complete the training!
When you are dealing with high voltage vehicles this lack of leadership is very worrying, especially with the risks that these vehicles carry, and part of my role as a trainer is to highlight the need for senior people in the business to take responsibility for the safety of themselves, their colleagues and the business; well written and consistently followed best management practices are essential, especially where high voltage vehicles are concerned.
When building a best management practice for high voltage vehicles there are four stages to consider, these are:
- Vehicle collection/delivery
- Vehicle receipt and assessment
- Vehicle Depollution and dismantling
- Parts storage and shipping
We also need to outline the levels of training required, which are:
- Electric Vehicle Informed Person (EVIP) - vehicle purchase, senior management, health and safety specialists, parts and shipping
- Electric Vehicle Competent Person (EVCP)- dismantling and vehicle collection
- Electric Vehicle Authorised Person (EVAP) - technician assessing condition, powering down and removing HV battery
- Senior Electric Vehicle Authorised Person (SEVAP) - senior technician who may strip HV battery
Where is the vehicle coming from, has it already been made safe, are there any special instructions or detailed information that the collection driver needs to be aware of. Equally, if the driver is given any specific instructions about the vehicle when it is picked up are these given to the receiving yard?
The driver will need to assess the vehicle prior to loading it onto the truck,
- Is the battery damaged?
- Is there any risk the battery may catch fire during transportation?
- Does the vehicle need to be made safe prior to loading?
Collection drivers training should be equivalent to EVCP with specific training for vehicle recovery or towing
Vehicle receipt and assessment
Who is responsible for receipt of the vehicle, are they qualified and do they have appropriate personal protective equipment?
High voltage vehicles should be parked in a designated area until they have been assessed and powered down?
During the assessment the operator needs to determine the condition and health of the battery, is it suitable for re-sale and re-use, should it go into second use as a stationary storage device or it is only suitable for recycling?
The vehicle should then be powered down and made safe prior to depollution and dismantling. All of this is ‘live’ work and needs to be completed by a suitably qualified and experienced person - probably an Electric Vehicle Authorised Person
Vehicle Depollution and dismantling
When powered down, or made safe, high voltage vehicles have stored energy that is constrained within the high voltage battery, meaning that the rest of the vehicle can be depolluted and dismantled by suitably trained technicians, minimum of EVCP qualified.
Removing the battery becomes an EVAP operation because of the energy stored within this component.
Some vehicle dismantlers may want to further dismantle the HV battery down to individual modules, and this is SEVAP competency.
Parts storage, sales and shipping
High voltage parts, excluding the HV battery, can be stored in normal parts storage areas as the risk posed by these is no greater than any other component, the HV batteries are a completely different prospect, and you will need a specific storage area with restricted access.
- batteries need to be secure so they cannot fall or have anything fall on them;
- keep them dry;
- do not stack and follow manual handling processes due to the weight of these components;
- when shipping these components follow all rules and regulations that apply in the area you are operating as these components are considered to be dangerous or hazardous goods in almost all jurisdictions.
Whoever is responsible for battery storage, sales and shipping must be trained and qualified appropriately, and this will almost certainly be different to the training and qualification that is required for a vehicle dismantler or technician.
Everyone dealing with these vehicles needs to be trained to the appropriate level, and also be equipped with all necessary high voltage personal protective equipment and tools, including, but not limited to:
- Insulated safety shoes
- Face/eye protection
- Safety rescue hook
- Cat3, 1000v Multimeter
- High Voltage hand tools
- Warning signs
The list above is not exhaustive and there could be additional elements that need to be considered, but it is incumbent on all businesses to put steps in place to keep their employees safe, build best management practices, use them, and also when scheduling training make certain all the staff involved know what is happening, when and why their involvement is essential!
If any business would like help to design and build their own best management practice for high voltage vehicles then please contact Andy Latham at Salvage Wire (firstname.lastname@example.org).