By Larry Pierce
The Climbing Methods Committee has met twice since the last report. Here is an update on those two meetings.
The committee met on May 20 at PG&E’s Livermore Training Center. The committee included 15 IBEW bargaining unit members from climbing classifications throughout the system.
The IBEW members were a cross section which included both Journeyman and Apprentices from GC, Division, and Transmission. Also invited were vendor representatives from Bashlin, Jelco, and Buckingham.
The vendors were each given two hours to show their training films and perform on-site training on the proper use of their respective “fall restraint” tools. The bargaining unit climbers practiced using the equipment and were each issued one set of tools from each company. They were each asked to take the fall restraint systems back to the field for a four-week trial and to fill out an assessment form grading each piece of equipment after multiple uses. They did so.
The committee met again on Monday, June 22 at Livermore. We reviewed the assessment forms returned by those charged with performing the field testing. The committee determined that Buckingham’s “Bucksqueeze” and Jelco’s “Pole Choker” were scored almost identically and were both preferred over Bashlin’s “Lariat” tool. The Committee determined that further testing of the “Bucksqueeze” and the “Pole Choker” was needed prior to making any decisions on adoption of their use.
The Company will procure additional sets of these two tools and the future field tests will be expanded in both time and numbers. The Apprentices will be dropped from the field testing and between thirty and forty additional Journeymen will be involved in the next round of field tests which will be eight weeks in duration. The committee also redesigned and expanded the assessment questionnaire to include more relevant information and to provide a greater range of detail on the questions.
This committee is also involved in assessing the use of full body harnesses. Currently, there are eleven different models of body harness in use by several departments. A sub-committee consisting of four or five individuals from the Climbing Methods Committee will be traveling to the Buckingham manufacturing facility in New York in July. This group will include one bargaining unit lineman named by the union. They will do on-site product development working with Buckingham to design a more universal body harness that will be user friendly across departmental lines and enhance safety. Both management and union members will be involved in this effort.
Local 1245 was represented at these two meetings by Larry Pierce and Mike Saner.
Larry Pierce, former Assistant Business Manager, has been advising the union on this issue.