Local 1245 Safety Committee
REPORT FROM MEETING OF APRIL 24, 2008
The Local Union 1245 Safety Committee encourages anyone that has a question related to Safety to contact us with those questions and we will work to get an answer for you pertaining to that request.
The Local 1245 Safety and Health Committee met on April 24, 2008 in Vacaville at the union hall. 1245 Safety Committee members in attendance were Keith Hopp, Michael Gomes, Thomas Greer, Al White, Art Torres, Robert Burkle, and Ralph Armstrong. Members absent were Sergio Munoz.
First order of business was to review minutes from last months meeting. No changes was noted and corrected.
Topics discussed are either follow-up items from previous meetings or new items that were brought up at that months meeting. Previous meetings are archived and can be viewed on the Safety Matters web page.
Confined Space Rescue Requirements
This is a follow-up item that originated from the February Safety Committee meeting regarding the need to provide rescue training while working in confined spaces in our industries. The Committee reviewed a CalOSHA publication titled “Is it Safe to Enter a Confined Space? Confined Space Guide”. This guide can be found at this link: //www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/dosh_publications/ConfSpa.pdf . This publication breaks down the specific training requirements per industry by each applicable standard. It also helped the committee to understand the different rescue requirements with regards to “Permit Required and Non Permit Required Confined Spaces.” The Utility industries in California, for the most part are covered under Standard 5158 for the non-permit spaces. Standard 5157 Permit Required Spaces require specific training and rescue requirements which our industry is not required to follow but are “Advised and encouraged to do so.” per the publication. Both standards however do have rescue language. Under 5158 for the utilities it specifies, California Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 5158. Other Confined Space Operations.
(E) When entry must be made through a top opening, the following requirements shall also apply.
1. The safety belt shall be of the harness type that suspends a person in an upright position.
2. A hoisting device or other effective means shall be provided for lifting employees out of the space.
From what this committee has been made aware of the above practice is not being done by several companies that we represent. Chairman has received a letter from a CalOSHA compliance officer with regards to which standards are applicable that will be discussed at he next committee meeting as well as any more information that is currently being requested. Recommendations on how to get this information out will also be discussed at that meeting.
Backhoe Bucket for Lifting
The practice of using a backhoe buckets for lifting has been questioned. Concerns over this issue and original data was provided that would suggest that this was not an acceptable practice since the equipment was not designed for lifting with respect to holding valves on the hydraulic system. New information regarding this has surfaced however it was not available at the time of the meeting for discussion. There are apparently load charts available that will allow the use of backhoe buckets for lifting. The committee will review the follow-up documentation at the next committee meeting or when it becomes available and provide an update.
Near Miss Program.
The safety Committee is implementing a “Near Miss Program” at the Business Managers recommendation. New Guidelines for this program that will have its own tab on the website that describes the program was provided by the chairman and reviewed by the committee. The language was approved by the Committee to start the program. The Chairman will provide the Communication Director with the new language and work with him to get this site up and running. Need to emphasize to our membership that anything submitted should be done by their personal computer and not from their work stations. Once this site is up and running the Safety Committee will monitor and report on the usage of during our monthly meetings. We will also pursue the possibility of enhancing this program on the website such as creating 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. Safety Committee member Bob Burkle has been assigned the duties as recorder and/or Art Torres as alternate and will provide minutes from future Meeting. These minutes will be put together from this report and reviewed by the committee. Minutes will be forwarded to the Recording Secretary via e-mail at the same time they are provided to update the web-site.
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.
At the April meeting the Chairman provided the committee with the latest updates on penalties associated with carrying a CDL License. Documentation was presented to the committee that shows there have not been any changes to this portion of the rules since 2005. It was also discussed that a CDL holder will not be able to attend driving school as stated in; V.C Section 42005 (c) Pursuant to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the court may not order or permit a person who holds a class A, class B, or commercial class C driver’s license to complete a licensed traffic violator school, a licensed driving school, or any other court-approved program of driving instruction in lieu of adjudicating any traffic offense committed by the holder of a class A, class B, or commercial class C driver’s license . If a driver with a CDL is driving a non-Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) they are subject to the same blood alcohol limits as a person without a CDL of .08. However if they are in a CMV the lower limit of .04 applies. California Commercial Driver Handbook – Section 1 – Introduction It was noted that if the maintenance of a CDL is a condition of employment, violations that cause an individual to lose their license may have an impact on the employee’s ability to maintain that employment. Specific points that could contribute to an individual’s loss of their license is listed below from California’s DMV web site;
Violation Point Counts
The department keeps a public record of all your traffic convictions and accidents for 36 months or longer. A traffic conviction for driving unsafely counts as one point. Any accident you contributed to or were responsible or at fault for, are normally counted as one point.
If you are convicted of reckless driving, of driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, or of hit-and-run driving, you are charged two points.
A violation received in a commercial vehicle carries one and one-half times the point count. A Class A or B driver who does not have a special certificate or an endorsement may be allowed two additional points before being considered a negligent operator.
If you get too many points, you lose your privilege to drive. You are considered a negligent operator of a commercial motor vehicle when your driving record shows the following point counts:
4 points in 12 months
6 points in 24 months
8 points in 36 months
You may be entitled to a higher point count (6, 8, or 10 points) if you request and appear for a hearing and if 4, 6, or 8 points were not obtained in a Class C vehicle.
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. A slogan has been chosen by the committee with a (very) rough draft drawing. The Artwork for the selected slogan will be worked on. We may need to explore outside help in getting the artwork where it needs to be for publication.
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. Old reporting documents were presented to the full committee regarding 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. The Chairman will revise the current Unit Health and Safety Committee document and present it to the Business Manager for Comments and Approval.
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.
This subject was deferred at the last meting and was discussed at this meeting with regards to the practice of allowing workers in to perform this type of work with no formal training. Although this work does not require an employee to be a Qualified Electrical Worker it does require an employee to be aQualified Person. A Qualified Person as defined by Title 8, 2300, Low Voltage Electrical Safety Orders is; “A person designated by the employer, who by reason of experience or instruction has demonstrated familiarity with the operation to be performed and the hazards involved” Their should be at a minimum some training and documentation of that training for these workers. Committee member that posed the question will provide this information to the employer as a safety topic.
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. The Committee was almost at full staff for the April meeting and all in attendance agreed to review and make recommendations to both documents at the May meeting and present those recommendations to the Business Manager for his consideration.
Meter Accident pictures were reviewed and pending report discussed. At the time of the April meeting no new information was presented on this topic. The Chairman will work to sanitize the document we have to provide the Root Cause, Contributing Factors and Recommendations to be posted to the 1245 Safety Committee website.
PGE FR Clothing Implementation
Chairman discussed the pending FR Clothing negotiations that are to take place on the 8th of May. The committee will continue to monitor the status of this item and provide an update from the negotiations at the next committee meeting.
Round Table Topics
There were several side topics discussed with no action required such as,
The committee was briefed on a incident were 1245 members working for Utility Pole Treatment discovered an injured worker working for California Forestry Vegetation Management working alone in a remote area of Feather falls who had slipped on a log and suffered a severely broken leg. Had this crew not accidentally stumbled acrossed this individual no telling how long he would have gone missing and how long he would have spent in the woods. The crew assisted the emergency personnel with the rescue of the injured worker. Full story has been sent to Eric Wolfe for publication.
Reviewed Q&A Document on the new cell phone laws that will take effect July 1, 2008. An electronic document has been forwarded to Eric Wolfe for posting on the web for all members to review.
Reviewed accident reports of:
Trenching accident that occurred in Southern California that resulted in a fatality of a union member. Details are sketchy at this time and the committee will continue to monitor any new info.
PGE Safety Flash regarding a 5th Step Apprentice General Construction (G.C.) Lineman, with 2 1/2 years of Company experience, sustained first and second degree burns to his left thumb and palm, when he attempted to reinstall a bail on an exposed energized bushing of a 3 way / 2 way switch.
CalOSHA Flash Report regarding a San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Specialized Prosecution Unit filed charges against a union member under Penal Code §192(b) for involuntary manslaughter and Labor Code §6425, for negligent killing of a co-worker. The member was operating a crane the night of Dec. 6, 2006, that was suspending a power pole six feet over a roadway and a few feet off the ground when an 80-year-old motorist slammed into the 75-foot-long pole. The collision killed a lineman who was guiding the other end and the driver, who was killed instantly when the car’s roof was sheared off. His wife died several weeks later.
CalOSHA Flash Report regarding a crew moving concrete barriers along Highway 395 tangled with a power pole the evening of April 16 in the desert town of Adelanto, killing a crane operator and injuring two co-workers.
Ferry County PUD Fatality involving one of their employees where a tree was being removed and fell on the employee.
Next Meeting will be on May 29th 2008 in Vacaville.
Local 1245 Safety Committee
Ralph Armstrong, Chair