Safety Committee Member Dan Boschee submitted a report on the proliferation of 5G radiation that he gathered at the NSC conference. This report was placed on the IBEW 1245 website Safety page. The link is: http://ibew1245.com/2018/07/13/the-hazards-of-radiofrequency-rf-and-microwave-radiation/
Boshee also reported that Frontier performed a practice evacuation drill with personnel. Drills will be performed annually to coincide with the “Great America Shakeout” for earthquake preparedness. The “Shakeout” was scheduled for Oct. 18th at 10:18am.
Safety Committee Member Carlos Rodriquez submitted a report from the IBEW labor division caucus. The report contained incidents that took place among the rank and file membership and issues trending in health field such as the opiate epidemic and the ill effects of sleep deprivation. See the link: http://ibew1245.com/2018/07/13/the-hazards-of-radiofrequency-rf-and-microwave-radiation/
Safety Committee Member Al White reported that he was invited to participate in a workgroup to focus on reducing preventable motor vehicle incidents (MVI’s). PG&E MVI’s have been steadily increasing over time.
I/O Safety Director David Mullen announced the immediate action recall of the 3M DBI-SALA 16 Foot Talon Self Directing Lifeline. According to the self-report by 3M, the recall applies only to the 16 ft. model which is defective due to an assembly error. There are no reports of falls related to the use of the fall arrest system. See the link for more information. http://ibew1245.com/news/safety-news/
A report concerning mental health and suicide was placed on the 1245 website, including a Q&A that can be used to quiz a person’s knowledge on recognizing symptoms of disorder. The link is: http://ibew1245.com/2018/07/13/mental-health-myths-and-facts/
Report of Accidents and Near Misses
- Sad to report the passing of IBEW 1245-member Jairus “Jay” Ayeta. Brother Ayeta, a PG&E GC apprentice lineman, was working to restore power in the Carr Fire when he was reportedly involved in a fatal off-road vehicle accident. He was just 21 years old. Brother Ayeta hailed from Kampala, Uganda and was working out of the Davis yard at the time of his death.
- Report of a tree trimmer that was doused with gasoline while working in a tree. He was working in 106-degree weather and the fuel line popped loose from the nipple that attached it to the tank. He and the groundman below were drenched in gasoline. The chainsaw type was a Stihl Model # 201T and the cause of the leak was thought to be very hot weather and expansion of the fuel in the tank and line which is not clamped onto the nipple.
- The H&S committee received a report that a tree trimmer trainee made indirect contact with a primary line that took place near Placerville. According to the report, the tree trimmer trainee was cutting a 15 ft. long branch that he had been told to cut the tip off by his crew foreman. He disregarded the instruction and cut the branch and made contact with a 21kV line, receiving a shock. The employee was taken to the hospital for observation and released the same day. The trainee had one-year work experience with his employer.
- A report that a T-man was in the process of closing a S&C PMH 42 switch in for a test when the switch failed. The stick used to close in the switch was equipped with a flash guard which help shield the employee from injury. In another case a crew had changed out a transformer and closed in the circuit when the same type switch went phase to phase and relayed the circuit. S&C acknowledged that they have received other complaints of same model switch failures.
- Report that during a cable replacement job that required removing old cable from transformer, the crew failed to identify the proper cable and inadvertently cut the wrong cable which was energized cable at the time. There was no report of injury, employee who cut cable was checked by medical services and released.
- Report of an employee who received stiches when he cut his left index finger while cutting tape off of a bushing. Cut resistant gloves were available for the work group but in this instance the employee was not using them.
- Report of a hybrid bucket truck that had been in an accident previously on its maiden voyage caught fire and was destroyed. Fire started under the hood. Driver tried to put it out but not able to extinguish the fire.
- Report of an incident on September 14 at Kramer Junction, in which an employee was burned by hot water released from a hose that broke while hydro-testing a gas pipeline. According to the report, the employee was standing by the pump when the hose burst, caused by a malfunction in the pump that caused the pump to cavitate and a weakened section of hose gave way.
- Report of a vehicle accident involving a 55’ bucket truck that went off the road and into a ditch causing major damage to the truck. The driver may have fallen asleep while driving the vehicle.
- Report of a contract employee doing an inspection on a historic streetlight pole in SF and received a shock when he brushed against the pole. Upon investigation it was found that inside of the pole there was a worn connection lying against the inside of the pole base which energized at the pole at 120 volts. He was taken to a medical facility to be checked out and released. A Form 173 report was made to IBEW International on 7-23.
- Reported heat related injuries in fire area. Employee passed out and fell down an embankment and struck a branch. His injury was to his upper eye lid. Also reported were complaints of smoke related breathing difficulties and sinus problems. Employees reported problems to the nurse hotline.
- Report of an apprentice lineman sustained injury when the Ford F550 in which he was aloft slid down an embankment and struck a tree. The impact with the tree caused the bucket to become detached from the boom. Crew members had to do a rescue and employee was transported to the hospital and treated for a head wound in which he had multiple stitches above one eye.
- Final report was received of an eye injury sustained by a contract crew foreman who was struck by a piece of 4/0 copper while the wire was being pulled up to be dead-ended. The employee lost the use of his eye. The report called the incident an anomaly and no changes to work procedures were recommended. The PG&E committee doing the investigation suggested an educational video be produced regarding this incident.
- Report that an employee sustained a shock on September 14 near Ripon substation when lightning struck on or near a 115kV line he was working on. The employee felt a slight shock and saw a flash and heard the thunderclap. Grounds had been installed prior to the strike and a lone cloud was seen in the sky prior to the lightning strike.
- Report of a vehicle accident involving a digger derrick. A digger derrick was coming down an overpass when a driver of a third-party vehicle made a left turn in front of the truck. Truck driver was unable to avoid a collision and totaled the turning vehicle. The digger derrick capstan that was mounted on front bumper wrecked the front end of the El Camino. The driver of the car said he did not see the digger. At that time of day, the vehicle driver was facing West into the sun prior to making the turn.
- Report of a tree crew removing an 80’ tall tree installed a rope in the top of the tree attached to a come-along to apply pressure on the top of the tree. Trimmer made the face cut and back cut and the tree top fell not in the desired direction taking down a power line. Crew claims that a bolt on the come along broke. The downed line caused a fire and crew member was preparing to douse the fire with a water back pack pump but was stopped.
- Report of an accident in Pine Grove where an employee fell 20’ from a tree and sustaining multiple injuries. An investigation is underway with no details on how the accident happened.
- Report that a tree trimmer injured his arm when the limb he was cutting pulled the saw, wrenching his arm and causing him to release the saw which fell to the ground. He attempted to make a snap cut but cut too close and lost control of the branch.
- Reported injury that involved an employee who was using a chainsaw was trying to hit the brake on the saw to stop the blade and mistakenly hit the saw chain while it was running. He cut his hand severely and is on modified duty.
- Report of a Field Garage Mechanic that was injured while attempting to make repairs to a Ford F550 vehicle. The employee set the parking brake on the vehicle and began removing the driveline when it popped loose and the vehicle rolled onto the employee’s right hand and arm before stopping at the elbow. Nearby responding crew members put the vehicle into four-wheel drive and drove the vehicle off his arm. The employee was then transported by EMS and was treated and released from the hospital that same day and placed on light duty.
- The committee reviewed the final communication on an enclosure arc flash at Substation E in San Francisco. While performing routine work on a substation relay, a crew attempted to rack in the circuit breaker in order to return the circuit to normal operation. A transition splice on the same circuit failed, de-energizing the circuit. A Troubleman witnessed an arc flash at a manhole and according to the report the circuit breaker unexpectedly opened and closed several times, re-energizing the circuit. The crew isolated the circuit with the transition splice and the circuit breaker was taken out of service. No injuries reported.
- Report that a third party hit a 600A line with a metal T-handle probe. Employee called PG&E after he observed smoke coming out of a J box. The line was more than 3’ down and the line was in conduit. The employee had to have penetrated the conduit in order to hit the line.
— Rich Lane, IBEW 1245 Business Representative