Michael Wilson Roberts
Silver Medal in VFS, part of head up and head down British Records.
Michael is a High Voltage Engineer, otherwise known in the industry as a Senior Authorised Person (SAP). He is allowed to switch and place earths on high voltage (HV) distribution systems, then write permits putting people to work on those systems. When proved dead, it’s a common courtesy that the SAP always touches the equipment first, so he better get it right!
Working as part of a very small team working for Thames Water in London they look after the HV distribution at more than 140 major water treatment, water pumping and sewage treatment sites. A loss of power at some critical water pumping sites means a loss of water at the taps of thousands of homes in as little as 30mins.
Micheal added "It’s up to us to keep the power on and maintain the HV equipment so those sites can provide Londoners with clean drinking water and also to take away their waste. Waste is processed to recover gas to burn and generate power back into the network. That generation is actually quite vast and people don’t realise that Thames Water are also a significant power provider to the network so next time you go to the toilet it could be your poo powering the lights!
Water and sewage is an industry built on health & safety, electrical regs and good hygiene, this means it’s business as usual. Although I’m now classed as a tier two key worker. We normally work in small teams (or solo) and now we have to follow distancing guidelines, but I’ve never been busier. I’ve not dropped any planned work yet and I’ve also just finished a 3 week stint on overnight call covering for sick colleagues.
At the moment, I’m helped by the lack of London traffic, which has made it a lot easier to get around day or night, saving me a lot of normally lost time.
I feel fortunate to be in a good position at home right now and I want to do more than my fair share at work, as I know that it could all change at any moment.
So, just to finish by saying it’s also as important to look after your own well-being right now, do your exercise, play with your kids and don’t forget to laugh. (P.s. Don’t flush wet wipes!)"