Fixed Maintenance Earth (FME) - Development of Handling Techniques and Tools
National Grid Electricity System Operator
National Grid TO Innovation Team
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Innovation Funding Incentive
Health and Safety
Historically the Reyrolle Fixed Maintenance Earth (FME) has always been considered the most onerous and
difficult type of FME to apply. This is due mainly to their
inherent design, manual handling and working at height issues surrounding the
application of FMEs.
The FME is a three section portable earthing arm weighing 45kg in total, with one set of
three primary earths being made up of nine sections in total. Many National Grid
substations were designed and constructed in an era where health and safety
considerations for maintenance staff were less of a concern than they are today.
As a result the location of earthing points can be up to 10m above ground level
and the ability to apply and maintain FMEs safely in these conditions is
This project has several objectives relating to three issues surrounding the
continued use of FMEs by NG staff. These are:
- To implement and standardise the Manual Handling and Working at Height
technique to transport/transfer FMEs from ground level onto high level
- To further develop a FME Access Platform for FME Maintenance
- To further develop an extended hand railing for FME Maintenance.
All three key objectives are an effort to reduce the manual handling and working at
height requirements for MDE substation staff to complete required safety
switching & maintenance activities in a manner which will not place unnecessary
stresses on their bodies and thus reduce occupational health issues.