Local 1245 Safety Committee
REPORT FROM MEETING OF MARCH 27, 2008
The Local 1245 Safety and Health Committee met on March 27, 2008 in Vacaville at the union hall. 1245 Safety Committee members in attendance were Keith Hopp, Michael Gomes, Thomas Greer, Sergio Munoz, and Ralph Armstrong. Members absent were Al White, Art Torres, Robert Burkle.
First order of business was to review minutes from last months meeting. One change was noted and corrected under Round Table Topics.
Topics discussed and action items assigned:
Confined Space Rescue Requirements
Confined space rescue was brought up during our February meeting and whether or not anyone was aware of any group that has specific training requirement for this. It was an action item from that meeting to have the Chairman provide the committee with applicable standards from both OSHA programs. Committee reviewed both FedOSHA 1910.269(a) (2) (i) and CalOSHA standards 3220, 3400, 2940(d) (2), 5156 and 5158 documents for clarification under the standards. It is clear in the Fed standards that employees are trained emergency rescue procedures (such as Pole Top and Manhole rescue); however, the language in CalOSHA is somewhat ambiguous. The Chairman will seek clarification of the CalOSHA standards from CalOSHA.
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 PGE Fleet Engineering as well as PGE 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. There was no new information to report on this at this meeting; however, the committee will continue to follow-up this item on the provided documents and try to gather more information regarding this.
Near Miss Program
The Committee has agreed to implement a Near Miss Program that was recommended by the Business Manager during the February Meeting. The Committee reviewed the website and agreed to add a tab under safety matters to include a Near Miss Program with guidelines on sanitizing the information prior to it being posted on the web. Chairman to work on updating this item and put together the program elements needed. Safety Committee will keep this as an open item and monitor the usage of the program. We will continue to explore the possibility of enhancing the website to possibly include a forum for our members to discuss safety topics and concerns.
Distribution of Minutes from the 1245 Safety Committee
Minutes from the Safety Committee have been posted on the Local Union 1245 website under Safety Matters and will be updated monthly. It was also noted that a tab was removed from the website that contained safety articles that were submitted by the committee. Committee Member Torres was absent to discuss the forwarding of the minutes to the Recording Secretary. Follow-up is needed for to find out the status of this report being sent to the Recording Secretary.
Commercial Motor Vehicles
This subject was discussed at length and it was decided at this time to research some of this information that was brought last month on our own at this time and report back to the committee with documentation. Some of the information this committee had questions about ranged from Hours of Service to physicals to DUI’s. The Chairman has opted to research some of the specific questions from this committee at this time and provide the information that has been requested. The committee will explore the use of the California Highway Patrol’s Commercial Industry Educational Program at a later time to answer any outstanding questions.
PPE Safety Article for the Utility Reporter
The Business Manager has suggested that the Safety Committee come up with a full-page poster ad for the back section of the Utility Reporter. A couple of designs and rough drafts were presented although the full committee was not present. There was also discussion on possibly having a local school or member’s child design the actual poster as part of a contest. This would solicit member involvement and/or community awareness in safety as well as providing the poster for the Utility Reporter. The committee members will finalize their wording and possible PPE safety poster design and submit their ideas at the next regular meeting. Committee will need to explore the feasibility of membership and/or community involvement.
During the February meeting the committee discussed the lack of accident reporting to this committee by employers who do not have members on the committee. This is still an open item with great interest from this committee. At the last meeting we discussed coming up with ideas to improve on gathering this information. Communicating this need to all the Business Representatives seems to be the best solution in obtaining this information.
The Chairman will communicate the desire to review all accidents that occur in our jurisdiction as well as any they may be made aware of in our industry by this Safety Committee to the Business Representatives of this Local Union. In the Local Union 1245 Policy Documents that establish this Safety Committee there are guidelines for Unit Health and Safety Committees which requires Health and Safety Committees for all units. The reports from these units should be forwarded to the Local Union where this committee could review as required by this Committees Policy. We will continue to 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 the formal response to a 1245 member by PGE regarding his concerns over the possibility of contracting the bird flu while climbing around bird droppings on towers. The Committee feels that the information that was provided was good information and it was suggested that we share this information with all our members. The Chairman will talk to the author of the letter regarding this issue and request posting a generic version of this letter on our website.
Training for Meter Workers
The topic of who can connect or disconnect electric meters was discussed during the February Meeting. Committee member Burkle, who was not in attendance at this meeting, will provide more specifics on whom and on what properties need to be determined to address specific training requirements. This item will remain open for discussion with an effort to gather specific circumstances.
Safety Committee Policy Document
The committee reviewed the Safety Committee Policy Document (Charter) to clarify the individual duties of the Local Union 1245 Safety Committee. The committee suggests that this be reviewed when the committee is at full staff as well as review other safety committee documents as well with the intent of suggesting an amendment to the current document if needed. It was last amended in 1984. Chairman will gather and research some other Safety Committee Charters for the committee to review as well review this Policy with full committee present.
National Safety Councils 2008 Spring Labor Division Meeting
Four members from this committee including the Chairperson will be attending the National Safety Councils 2008 Spring Labor Division Meeting in May. Safety Committee Members that will be attending are: Art Torres, Keith Hopp, Thomas Greer and Ralph Armstrong.
SPI Meter Accident
The SPI Meter Accident pictures were reviewed and the pending report was discussed. The Chairman will check status on this accident and work to get the Root Cause, Contributing Factors and Recommendations from this accident posted to the 1245 Safety Committee website.
FR Clothing and PGE pending implementation
There are no real specifics to the pending implementation of PGE new FR clothing policy with respect to manufacturer and implementation timelines. Specifics of the program and implementation will be discussed and worked on with a joint PGE and IBEW workgroup at a later time. This committee will continue to monitor the status of this item.
Round Table Topics
There was several side topics discussed with no action required such as:
- The use of Safety Incentive Programs that tend to put pressure on employees to not report accidents for fear of losing an incentive award.
- We will be changing the May Safety Committee Meeting to May 29 since the date current meeting date conflicts with the National Safety Councils 2008 Spring Labor Division Meeting.
- Ceylon Pole performance, which will be carried over to the next meeting.
Next Meeting will be on April 24, 2008 in Vacaville.
Local 1245 Safety Committee
Ralph Armstrong, Chair