Local 1245 Safety Committee
REPORT FROM MEETING OF May 29, 2008
The Local 1245 Safety Committee encourages all our members to visit the Safety Matters web page on the Local 1245 web site. We also encourage anyone that has a question related to safety to contact us with those questions and we will work to get an answer for you.
The Local 1245 Safety and Health Committee met on May 29, 2008 at Weakley Hall in Vacaville. Safety Committee members in attendance were Keith Hopp, Michael Gomes, Sergio Munoz, Al White, Robert Burkle, and Ralph Armstrong. Members absent were Art Torres and Thomas Greer.
Safety Committee Member Keith Hopp announced that he would be stepping down from the committee and that this would be his final meeting. There is now an open position on the committee that was occupied by a gas department employee.
First order of business was to review minutes from last months meeting. No changes were noted or corrected.
Topics discussed are either follow-up items from previous meetings or new items that were brought up at that month’s meeting. Previous minutes 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 feels that enough information was provided at the previous month’s meeting to warrant approaching PG&E with this information in an effort to resolve our compliance concerns. This has also brought up another concern with addressing issue resolution among other employers and will be addressed in Round Table topics. The IBEW and PG&E joint safety committee meets on June 27 where this topic will be discussed if not sooner. An e-mail and subsequent phone call were made to PG&E safety to possibly discuss this item which has not been returned. Next Local 1245 Safety Committee meeting will be held prior to the PG&E Safety Committee meeting so this item will remain open until topic is discussed and agreement is made.
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. This issue has been resolved at the PG&E Fleet Department level. Load charts have been made available for backhoes that are being used for this type of work. PG&E has also had some of their operators receive the NCCCO license to operate a crane to set these boxes. The Committee will keep this as an open item for another couple of months until it can be discussed at the IBEW/PG&E joint safety committee meeting.
Near Miss Program
The Safety Committee is implementing a “Near Miss Program” at the Business Manager’s recommendation. New guidelines for this program have been established and we are ready to start posting near misses. However we need a Near Miss to start the postings. It was also discussed that personal computers should be used to make these postings instead of company computers to avoid possible disciplinary action. Language on the web identifying this page will read:
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“IBEW 1245 Safety Committee “Near Miss” Program
The primary purpose of this web page is to serve as a safety awareness tool for our members as well as others in the industry to share experiences that could have resulted in a reportable/recordable injury or property damage, but due to either the experience and/or the luck of the individual(s), no harm or damage occurred.
A near-miss or close-call is a “second chance” or a “gift” and it is up to the individual who got the second chance to pass it along so that everybody benefits from the experience. The next person “walking down the same path” may not be as fortunate. A near-miss that goes unreported is a wasted experience that could someday save a life.
The “near-miss” could be the result of equipment failure, hardware failure, or unintentionally not following established safety rules.
All near-miss reports will be posted to this web page exactly as received with only minor editing if required, for clarity or to maintain anonymity.
It is important to note that the use of company computers for anything other than company business could result in disciplinary action so we strongly encourage the use of members’ personal computers when submitting anything to the Safety Committee.
Please submit your near miss to the Local 1245 Safety Committee at (an e-mail address will be given).
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One of the Committee members had just experienced a Near Miss at his place of employment. He will put together a document that will be used as the first Near Miss posting. The Chairman will have it posted along with the new language and work to get this site up and running. Once this site is up and running the Safety Committee will monitor and report on the usage of during our monthly meetings.
PPE Safety Article for the Utility Reporter
The Business Manager has suggested that the Safety Committee come up with a full-page poster for the back section of the Utility Reporter. There has been no new progress on this item at this time. Coming up with the artwork has been a problem. The committee will continue to work on this project in an effort to finalize it.
The committee discussed the lack of accident reporting to this committee by employers who do not have members on the committee. The current requirement in the union policies regarding each unit establishing a “Unit Health and Safety Committee” was discussed as well as its practicality under the way we currently run our unit meetings. The information that the Unit Health and Safety Committee is required to provide is still needed by the Local 1245 Safety Committee. But the current policy on how to obtain it, in this committee’s opinion, is not practical. The Chairman has submitted a new reporting policy to replace the current Unit Health and Safety Committee policy to the Business Manager for comments and possible approval.
Safety Committee Policy Document
The Safety Committee policy document has been modified to better reflect what this committee’s make-up and responsibilities should be. They have been submitted to the Business Manager for his consideration.
No action has been taken on this item yet. The chairman will work to sanitize the document. We have to provide the Root Cause, Contributing Factors and Recommendations to be posted to the Local 1245 Safety Committee website.
PG&E FR Clothing Implementation
FR Clothing and PG&E’s pending implementation of it. Negotiations are being held currently with PG&E and the IBEW members assigned to that negotiating committee. Next meeting was scheduled to be held on June 11, 2008. The chairman discussed the pending FR clothing negotiations. Negotiations are on-going, with PG&E expecting to roll out the program by starting the fitting of its employees in the clothing around July 15 and having all affected employees covered by Nov. 1. There are several topics the union negotiating committee isn’t in total agreement with such as: who the company has identified as full-time users, quantity of clothing, laundering of clothing and when it must be worn. The committee will continue to monitor the status of this item and provide an update from the negotiations at the next committee meeting with specifics to what is being negotiated.
CLOSED ITEMS FROM THIS MEETING
íƒ¼ Distribution of minutes from this committee has been closed as of this meeting. (Closed)
íƒ¼ Commercial Motor Vehicle issues have been answered and no new questions have surfaced. (Closed)
íƒ¼ Bird Flu document will be posted to the web. (Closed)
íƒ¼ Training for Meter workers will be resolved at point of origin. (Closed)
Resource Coordinator Classification
PG&E has an established job classification titled “Resource Coordinator.” There was a concern brought to the committee’s attention regarding who is in charge of the employees in this classification’s safety program. This member is having difficulty identifying who can answer safety question specific to his job classification. He has told us he belongs with the construction group; however, he is having problems getting answers related specifically to his job assignment. This subject will be put as an agenda item at the next IBEW/PG&E Safety Committee meeting
There is a need to develop an avenue of communication regarding safety-related issues for all signatory employers. The Local 1245 Safety Committee is made up of a small number of members representing a small number of our signatory employers and one safety issue that pertains to one company may also be a problem in multiple work places. How to develop a network for communications between all of our signatory employers remains a missing link in this committee’s mission to reach out to all our members. A network of safety managers from all employers could be an essential link in resolving issues that affect all our members’ safety. This committee needs to explore ways to network with signatory employers that would resolve these concerns. The need to identify the safety officers with these employers and developing a data base would be a good start. Discuss ways to do this at next meeting.
Qualified Electrical Workers
OPEN. The use of un-qualified electrical workers to install personal protective grounds was discussed. This is usually done with one qualified electrical worker present. The practice of letting some of these crafts install their personal protective ground on already grounded equipment appears to have progressed in some areas to allowing them to install the master grounds which is in this committee’s opinion prohibited under Title 8, § 2940. General Provisions.
(c) Qualified Electrical Workers. Only qualified electrical workers shall work on energized conductors or equipment connected to energized high-voltage systems. Except for replacing fuses, operating switches, or other operations that do not require the employee to contact energized high-voltage conductors or energized parts of equipment, clearing “trouble” or in emergencies involving hazard to life or property, no such employee shall be assigned to work alone. Employees in training, who are qualified by experience and training, shall be permitted to work on energized conductors or equipment connected to high-voltage systems while under the supervision or instruction of a qualified electrical worker.
(d) Observers. During the time work is being done on any exposed conductors or exposed parts of equipment connected to high-voltage systems, a qualified electrical worker, or an employee in training, shall be in close proximity at each work location to:
(1) act primarily as an observer for the purpose of preventing an accident, and
(2) render immediate assistance in the event of an accident. Such observer will not be required in connection with work on overhead trolley distribution circuits not exceeding 1,500 volts D.C. where there is no conductor of opposite polarity less than 4 feet there from, or where such work is performed from suitable tower platforms or other similar structures.
This subject will be put as an agenda item at the next IBEW/PG&E Safety Committee meeting.
National Safety Council Meeting
Safety Committee members that attended the National Safety Council, Labor Division Meeting in Bettendorf, Iowa had just returned with one member missing from the meeting. Information regarding the meeting was not compiled and the group agreed to discuss this at the next scheduled meeting. Three delegates to attend the National Safety Fall Meeting in Anaheim were chosen.
Round Table Topics
There was several side topics discussed with no action required such as Third Party Liability. It was discussed that in some places in the U.S., OSHA has issued citations to the controlling contractor for violations committed by their sub-contractors.
· We discussed the report of a fatality in San Diego where it is believed that a Gas Foreman assisting a line crew with a transformer change out came into contact with an energized underground cable. No official report to discuss at this time.
· We discussed an induction accident involving an apprentice lineman that felt a shock while removing grounds. Employee injured his elbow as he pulled away from the source of the induction. No official report to discuss at this time
· Lineman injured in Sacramento area as the pole he was cutting during a transfer broke off at the ground causing him to fall with the pole approximately 15 feet, striking his head on a concrete slab and sustaining a serious concussion.
· Vehicle accident was discussed in Modesto where a woman drove into the end of a pole that was being towed on a trailer by a line truck as it was pulling out of a driveway.
· San Francisco accident that involved a gas fire set off by a welder which resulted in a co-worker receiving burns to the face. Apparently an energized gas line was cut which allowed gas to travel down a trench to where the welder had a torch lit.
· Report of a Las Vegas construction site’s poor accident record. This site is deemed the largest of its kind and will employ 8,000 workers at its peak. It was reported that in the last 17 months there have been 10 fatalities on this job site.
Next Meeting will be on June 26, 2008 in Vacaville.
Local 1245 Safety Committee
Ralph Armstrong, Chair
Local 1245 Safety Committee
Ralph Armstrong, Chair
Posted: June 23, 2008