Local 1245 Safety Committee
REPORT FROM MEETING OF FEBRUARY 28, 2008
The Local 1245 Safety and Health Committee met on February 28, 2008 in Vacaville at the union hall. 1245 Safety Committee members are Keith Hopp, Al White, Michael Gomes, Art Torres, Robert Burkle, Thomas Greer, Sergio Munoz, Larry Pierce and Ralph Armstrong. All members were in attendance. It was announced to the committee that Ralph Armstrong would be taking over as the new chairman to replace Larry Pierce.
First order of business was the discussion involving an agenda for all future meetings and all agreed that this would help to facilitate these meetings in the future. The Committee Chair will provide an agenda for future meetings and all committee members will provide him with any new items prior to the monthly meeting.
Confined Space Rescue Requirements
The subject of confined space rescue was brought up and whether or not anyone was aware of any group that has specific training requirement for this. All in the committee that work in confined spaces said that they do not train or practice this and that Fire and Rescue are what is relied upon in case of an accident. Fed-OSHA requirements require qualified workers whose work in the electric industry to be trained in pole top as well as manhole rescue to provide rescue to injured workers. This committee is unaware of any Ca-lOSHA standard that requires the same training requirement. Copies of the Federal and State Standards will be viewed for clarification on the state requirements as well as the requirement to train and practice pole top rescue.
Backhoe Bucket for Lifting
It has been past practice to use Backhoe buckets as lifting devices to set secondary boxes. There has been some research and data that was submitted to this committee with information obtained from PG&E Fleet Engineering as well as PG&E Livermore facility that suggest this is an unsafe practice. The main concerns are the lack of holding valves in the hydraulic system which will cause the lift cylinder to leak down. The committee will follow-up on the provided documents and try to gather more information regarding this.
Near Miss Program
On the Business Managers recommendation the topic of implementing a 1245 Near Miss Program were discussed. All committee members were in agreement that this would be a great tool and are all for it. There was also a recommendation from the committee to research a way for our members to communicate with each other regarding work practices and safety topics via a blog on the 1245 Safety Committee site. It is the consensus of this committee that it is important to provide our members a secure way of communicating with each other as well as an interactive way of providing safety related guidance to members who have safety concerns. We will look into the feasibility of enhancing the Safety Committees web page and possibly creating a forum for our members to discuss safety topics and concerns. We will also gather information and guidelines for creating a near miss program
Distribution of Minutes from the 1245 Safety Committee
A long-standing issue with the 1245 Safety Committee is an appropriate avenue of providing minutes from this committee to all our members. The committee has discussed with Chris Habecker about her role in providing these minutes to the unit chairs for discussion at the unit meetings. Another venue to display these minutes is on the 1245 Safety Committee web site. The committee will work on posting this report as well as future reports on the safety Committee web page as well as provide a copy to Chris for distribution
Commercial Motor Vehicles
There were several questions regarding Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDL) and Commercial Motor Vehicles (CMV) laws during this meeting. Topics ranged from Hours of Service to physicals to DUI’s. There are concerns and rumors floating around from our members over these topics. The committee chair will contact the California Highway Patrols, Commercial Industry Educational Program to have one of their trainer come by our safety committee meeting to answer questions as well as provide information about their free program to provide to our signatory employers as a means of education to our members.
PPE Safety Article for the Utility Reporter
The Business Manager has suggested that the Safety Committee come up with a full-page poster add for the back section of the Utility Reporter. It was agreed that all members of this committee will work on the wording and possible PPE safety poster design and submit their ideas to the committee chairman prior to our next regular meeting.
The committee discussed the lack of accident reporting to this committee by employers who do not have members on the committee. We feel that more needs to be done to get accident information out to our members to discuss at safety meetings. The committee will come up with some suggestions on how to improve this reporting process. Chairman will gather information regarding updating our 1245 Safety Committee web site to provide an easy access approach to getting generic information regarding accidents that have occurred in our jurisdiction.
Avian Flu on Towers
The committee reviewed a letter from one of our members expressing concerns over the possibility of contracting the bird flu while climbing around bird droppings on towers. It was mentioned that this topic was also brought up during the IBEW and PG&E Safety Committee Meeting, which took place on Feb. 25th. During the IBEW/PG&E Safety Committee, PG&E brought in 2 employees that PG&E has on staff that are working on PG&E’s Pandemic Plan. It was noted in the IBEW/PG&E meeting that in all of North America there has never been any cases of the Avian Flu being passed on to humans from birds reported. We will continue to monitor this subject for any new developments.
PG&E Storm Concerns and Recommendations
The committee reviewed a list of concerns that were brought up by one of our members in the wake of January’s winter storm. Topics such as using non-traditional personnel for stand-by, the use of qualified personnel to assess locations, the use of qualified people to run the storm room, generators and back-feed, rubber gloving and hot sticking in the rain, man on line tagging, working procedures, overweight vehicles and constant communications. The committee was asked to review the current recommendations listed in the e-mail and provide any new ones they had. After reviewing the recommendations listed the committee agreed with the current recommendations that were made however some members mentioned this stuff is not new. These issues have been brought up before during storm work with similar recommendations being made afterwards. The feeling is these things will not be corrected and they will resurface during the next big storm.
Training for Meter Workers
The topic of who can connect or disconnect electric meters was discussed. Depending on the employer, employees from different organizations within the company such as finance are assigned to connect and/or disconnect electric meters. Questions on the level of training these employees receive are unknown. The committee will try to gather more specifics on which properties use non-electrical employees to perform this work as well as what specific training these employees receive. circumstances.
Round Table Topics
There was several side topics discussed with no action required such as,
Fall Protection and 100% attachment requirements in Canada and some U.S Utilities as well as fall protection devices used for that purpose.
Switching errors that have taken place and communications between dispatchers and field personnel.
Equi-potential grounding and the increased number of accidents in the industry while working on de-energized lines due to induced voltages.
The large number of pieces of equipment identified on the PG&E system as well as the SMUD system that are listed as inoperable.
FR Clothing and PG&E pending implementation of it. No real specifics to manufacturer. Specifics of the program and implementation will be discussed and worked on with the IBEW at a later time.
National Safety Councils 2008 Spring Labor Division Meeting. 4 members from this committee to attend including the Chairperson in May. Final names will be provided ASAP.
SPI Meter Accident with pictures was reviewed.
Next Meeting will be on March 27, 2008 in Vacaville.