According to the CalOSHA Reporter, Arbor Works Inc. is facing $62,000 in Cal OSHA fines related to the death of IBEW 1245 tree trimmer Nash Mayer. Cal OSHA Reporter noted that Arbor Works, a sub-contractor for Utility Tree Service working on PG&E property, was cited for violations ranging from failure to evaluate terrain characteristics, failure to establish a drop zone, failure to train employees on safe felling and excessive notch cut in the tree felling operation. Nash Mayer was killed near Coulterville in December 2016 when he was struck by a tree top. He left behind a wife and eleven children.
On June 13, a PG&E locate and mark employee was transported to Marin General Hospital when the was struck by a third-party vehicle while doing a leak survey on a grade 1 leak in an intersection. Business Representative Mark Wilson reported that, “preliminary tests show a potential concussion, head laceration, potential broken bones in his back and ligament damage to his knee, nothing life threatening at this time.” No other details were available from PG&E at the time of notification.
PG&E IT Safety will be conducting a blind spot survey training for drivers in IT/Supply chain. The training is scheduled for November 2017 and the program training details are expected to be completed in August. The purpose of the training is to skill up drivers on recognizing blind spot hazards on the road.
PG&E has begun the facility safety inspection program. An agreement between the union and the company to collaborate on the inspection of over 100 facilities will run through the end of 2017. IBEW business representatives are providing inspection team members, including members of the peer to peer program, to represent IBEW. The inspection program is scheduled to include over 300 fixed facilities, not including temporary structures or yard areas.
Dan Boschee (Frontier Communications) Frontier is continuing to do battery replacement for areas that have the greatest need. Some batteries have gone up to seven years without replacements. Audits have been completed to identify problem areas. No accidents to report in the Northern California area.
Sean Stevens (SMUD) One employee received minor burns from removing radiator cap from overheated vehicle. Debris under safety glasses injured an employee, and a tagline got hung up in razor wire which caused a minor cut. Padmount transformers have been coming back to the yard with damaged lift points from improper use. Crews were inserting and bending bolts that are not a mate to the threaded lift points. No loads were lost in the practice. The company has been made aware and crews are utilizing the proper bolts for lifting.
Mike Gomes (Modesto Irrigation District) There was a near-miss with a crew doing a line removal in a dangerous Modesto neighborhood. A group of people, possibly gangs, had an altercation in the street. The groups broke up and one group came back with an AK-47. The line crew saw the weapon and went for cover. No shooting took place, but the incident prompted the crew to ask the company how they should protect themselves or what to do in similar circumstances involving weapons. A discussion is taking place on what to do with crews in the open if something life-threatening unfolds.
Joe Joaquim (PG&E Gas Ops) Gas Ops Safety Council reported that on May 1, an employee was welding on a pipe and his pants and shirt caught fire. Another employee saw what was happening and doused the fire with water. The employee’s injuries were reported to be minor.
On June 1, an employee traveling Eastbound on Highway 36 encountered a wrong-way SUV driver on a blind curve bearing down on him. He swerved against a guardrail along a cliff to avoid a collision. The wrong-way driver proceeded on without making contact but the employee swerved into the opposite lane until he regained full control of his vehicle.
Dane Moore (PG&E Electric Ops) A runaway big rig hit a trouble truck when the semi lost its brakes. A T-man was awaiting switching orders and was in the cab of his truck when the incident occurred. His injuries were minor and he was taken to the hospital for a check-up and treated for minor injuries at the time. The next day the T-man was extremely sore and has been experiencing health issues associated with this collision and is still off of work.
At approximately 6:45 pm on May 2, an eight-person electric division crew was working on an emergency car pole when a pole top failed and fell to the ground, resulting in the conductor striking a T&D equipment operator. The employee was transported to the hospital for evaluation and released to full duty. The circuit was de-energized but not grounded at the time of the conductor contact.
On June 14, PG&E Corporate Security coordinated with San Francisco Police Department when an active shooter event took place at a UPS facility at 17th and Vermont Streets. A UPS employee had entered the property that morning and killed three employees, wounded several others and killed himself. The PG&E Harrison St. employees at the facility and in the field were informed of the incident and asked to shelter in place or avoid the UPS property.
Carlos Rodriguez (Tree Trimmers) Temperatures will be reaching into the triple digits, so the company met with employees about the increase in the heat index. The company talked about stockpiling Gatorade drinks, doing large jobs early in the day and monitoring body temperature.
Tree trimmers are continuing to report that they are having difficulty getting work gloves upon request. A letter of interpretation from an administration law judge in 2006 ruled that gloves are identified as required PPE to be provided by employers at their cost. Tree company employers have been reminded of the requirement to provide gloves but some do not comply, while others have provided gloves on a one-time basis and do not provide gloves upon request.
Al White (PG&E Restoration) While driving into the yard on I-5, a driver in the left lane veered over and came within a few inches of side-swiping. The driver was texting while driving with only one hand and their eyes on the device.
Travel Southbound on Highway 101 in the middle lane in the span of 10 seconds, two separate cars nearly hit my car attempting to change lanes into my lane; one from the left side and one from the right. Neither one of them apparently saw my car, or misjudged the distance that was required. Only the one from the left changed lanes. I had plenty of space in front and rear of my vehicle and I was able to anticipate them merging over and apply the brake safely.
Form 173 Reports: Two reports were filed with the International Organization in the month of June; one a fatality of a PG&E CSR in Fresno and other a lineman from Contra Costa Electric who amputated his finger removing a conduit from a riser pole.