Local 1245 Safety Committee
The Local 1245 Safety and Health Committee met on Sept. 24, 2009 in Vacaville at the Local 1245 Union Hall. Committee members present were; Darryl Rice, Sergio Munez, Dan Boschee, Art Torres, Robert Burkle, Al White and Ralph Armstrong. Committee member absent were Michael Gomes.
First order of business was to review minutes from the prior month’s meeting. No changes were noted.
Topics discussed and action items assigned:
Sad to report at the time of this report Local 1245 had lost 2 of its members due to on the job accidents.
- Apprentice Lineman, Aaron Thomas Dineen died Sept. 22 due to an electrical contact while working 4kV in San Clemente, Ca. Aaron was working out of Local Union 47 in Southern California and his death is being investigated by CalOSHA.
- G.C Journeyman Lineman Harold (Lynn) Lowery was fatally injured on Oct. 7while working in Garberville, Ca. The initial investigation indicates the he fell from the pole he was working on while maneuvering around a grounding pole bond.
We extend our condolences to both of these members’ families.
PPE & Lineman’s Climbing Equipment
An official letter to Cal-OSHA requesting clarification on who was responsible for the purchase of climbing equipment (Lineman / Tree) was sent in early July. On Aug. 24 Cal-OSHA issued a response with clarification on who is responsible for purchasing this equipment. The employer is responsible for the purchase of this equipment and all Personal Protective Equipment required for personal protection. That letter has been circulated throughout the state and has been posted on the Local 1245 website under Safety Matters.
During the Sept. 4 Joint Safety meeting with PG&E this letter was discussed with the acknowledgement of the company that they will start to provide these items. Below are the excerpts from that meeting as they were noted in the minutes:
“Climbing Gear – The union shared a clarification it received from Cal-OSHA … which indicates that climbing equipment (belt/harness with pole strap and lanyard, and climbers, necessary to safely perform their work) is personal protective equipment (PPE). John Parks has been designated the lead on this issue by Bill Hayes and will be formulating a plan for the parties to begin addressing. There are approximately 2200 climbers who currently have tools which support the need to develop criteria including parameters regarding employee responsibility, etc. The company will be seeking engagement in this effort and requesting the IBEW identify five members to participate in the process.”
A meeting was scheduled on Oct. 16 with members from the company and the union to work on the process of implementing this program. It was cancelled on Oct. 15 due to storm work issues. This meeting has been rescheduled to Nov. 6. We don’t anticipate on this being a long drawn-out process and hope to have a plan finalized and implemented soon.
Safety Vests and Attire
There is nothing new to report on this at this time. Next Joint meeting between the IBEW and PGE is scheduled for Nov. 18 and hope to have an update on this at that time. Below is an excerpt from the Sept. 4 meeting with PGE regarding this topic:
Safety Attire – Additional revisions have been made to the draft Safety Attire Policy which should result in a more focused document being distributed versus the all-inclusive version. There is a need for greater clarity and resolution on Class 3 vest requirements and a need to address the concern regarding fading that’s occurring. Employees should be reminded that they have the option to purchase the FR shirt with stripping as opposed to having to layer with a vest. There are multiple issues to resolve through utilization of the smart and simple approach. Issues will be taken back to the Blue Chip Safety Committee before a communication goes out.
Here is a link to Fed OSHA, which just released a new letter of interpretation requiring that construction workers wear high-visibility warning garments: //www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=16629
Barring some major development on this issue I would not expect to hear anything new on this from the company until the November meeting. As mentioned last month there has been an official letter from CalOSHA stating this was an unacceptable practice.
(Minutes from the Joint IBEW / PGE meeting held Sept. 4)
Painters/QEW – (CAL OSHA General Provision 2940) – The Union raised concern that this issue remains open after extensive discussion for more than a year. The Company confirmed that there is disagreement on this issue and an internal opinion that Painters are qualified electrical workers; however, a commitment was made to pursue clarification through an appeal to CalOSHA
New California HOS rules
Governor Schwarenegger signed a new bill that will become effective January 1, 2010 which would remove the HOS requirements on Utility Service Vehicles in the state of California. Still working on finding out how the California Highway Patrol intend on implementing this.
SEC. 15. Section 34501.2 of the Vehicle
Code is amended to read:
(3) A driver employed by an electrical corporation, as defined in Section 218 of the Public Utilities Code, a gas corporation, as defined in Section 222 of that code, a telephone corporation, as defined in Section 234 of that code, a water corporation, as defined in Section 241 of that code, or a public water district as defined in Section 20200 of the Water Code, may be permitted or required to drive more than the number of hours specified in subdivision (a) while operating a public utility or public water district vehicle during the emergency restoration of service is exempt from all hours-of-service regulations while operating a public utility or public water district vehicle .
Update on the Revision of the Federal OSHA standard pertaining to Electric Power and Generation industry.
This new standard was supposed to be released a couple of years ago however it has been held up due to a discrepancy in the phase to phase minimum approach distances for voltages of 230kV and higher. This was discussed at the last safety committee meeting and a link to the Federal Register and a brief description of this is provided below. When this final issue is resolved the new Federal OSHA standards should be released.
“On October 22, 2008, OSHA published a Federal Register notice to reopen the record on a limited basis for a period of 30 days, or until November 21, 2008, because the IEEE technical committee responsible for revising IEEE Standard 516 identified what in its view was an error in the calculations of phase-to-phase minimum approach distances for nominal voltages 230 kV and higher (73 FR 62942). The equation used to calculate the electrical component of the minimum approach distance for voltages over 72.5 kV included a term, a, that represented the saturation factor for the transient overvoltage involved. This factor, which was taken from a graph, 4 increased substantially with increasing voltage. The minimum approach distances for phase-to-phase exposures were calculated using a factor corresponding to the phase-to-ground transient overvoltage rather than for the higher phase-to-phase transient overvoltage. Because the minimum approach distances in OSHA’s 2005 proposal were based on the same equations called into question by the IEEE technical committee, the same issue potentially affected the minimum approach distances in OSHA’s proposal.”
When should an electric shock require a medical evaluation?
There have been several questions asked through the years regarding when should a person seek medical care after experiencing a shock. Many companies have no policy at all on this which could be a fatal mistake. Some companies err on the side of safety and send everyone regardless of the severity of the shock. What has become clear is that this topic is all over the board throughout our industry. The closest thing I could come up with is a document that was prepare by UC Davis back in 2000. This document is 9 years old and is the best guide I have been able find regarding this. Contact info to UC Davis Burn unit is provided at the end of the document.
Burns are tissue injuries caused by application of heat, chemicals, electricity, or irradiation to the tissue. Electrical contact may result in significant injury with very little damage to overlying skin and can cause internal distress, including heart irregularity that can result in death.
- Less than 150 volts- no visible injury. If there is no unusual sensation or feelings- a medical exam is at the employee’s discretion.
- Less than 150 volts- visible burn. Burn site or any tingling or nervous reaction—A medical exam including X rays and EKG.
- 150-400 volts- no visible burn. A thorough medical examination with Xray and EKG. Local medical care is okay.
- 150-400 volts- visible burn. A burn center evaluation. If the employee chooses to go to a local facility, the exam should be a thorough physical including Xray and EKG
- Above 400 volts- no visible burn. A burn center evaluation.
- Above 400 volts- visible burn. The employee should be evaluated by a qualified burn center at the earliest possible time. This recommendation applies even if the employee is treated at a local facility and discharged to go home or return to work.
If there is no indication of contact and only flash burn (looks like a thermal burn) has occurred, the victim should be treated at an appropriate medical center for the degree and amount (area) of burn. Large areas of second degree burns and all third degree burns should immediately be referred to a qualified burn center.
Any time an employee may have been struck by lightning he should be evaluated as if he had been struck or contacted more than 400 volts. A thorough physical exam is recommended immediately following any such contact, whether or not there is a visible sign of injury.
University of California, Davis
Burn Unit, Tower 5
2315 Stockton Blvd
Sacramento, CA 95817
Burn Center 24 hr phone (916) 734-3636
UC Davis Medical Center 24 hr operator phone (916) 734-2011
Forms and guidelines are on the website. Units should start using them as part of their unit meeting and submit them to this committee whether or not there are accidents or concerns. This should be a standard reporting practice at every unit meeting every month. All accidents reported this month on the green form as well as accidents reported at the safety committee meeting is listed below;
· Accident with no reported injury was discussed. Peeling lead jacket away from lead cable after taking clearance to verify cable is dead. While testing cable when it was exposed to verify it was de-energized an electrical explosion occurred. Employee had all FR on and proper ppe. Safety Glasses were pitted very badly – could not see through them. Looking for a better procedure to properly test this cable de-energized. Issues with spiking lead cable in the past have resulted in the spike entering between the cables and giving an indication that it was de-energized which led to the practice of exposing the cables in the jacket to verify it de-energized.
· Electrician fell out of a JLG man lift basket while maneuvering. While traveling in the JLG the front tires dropped approx. 4” off of a paved road to a dirt road causing the employee to release the controls at the same time the wheels dropped. This resulted in the employee being thrown from the basket and striking the boom. The employee was wearing his fall protection equipment however he was still able to contact the ground. Employee was taken to the hospital for an evaluation and released.
· 115KV to 21KV transformer. Employees were bending buss while a second crew was performing a Doble test at the same time. Employees were unable to move buss piece, so one employee went to the top of the transformer. While that employee was on the top of the transformer, another worker induced voltage into the low side and caused the upper worker to receive a static charge of unknown voltage. Employee fell on top of transformer, but was OK. Procedure is done with 2 safety buttons. One is controlled by the person with the lap top computer doing the testing. The other is controlled by an observer. In spite of this, they both pushed their buttons while the other employee was on the top of the transformer. Employee was taken to hospital, and released to go home.
No Near Misses reported to the committee
One near miss was reported at this meeting. The Safety Committee is encouraging everyone to report all near misses to the committee through our IBEW1245 Safety Matters web page. Anyone with a near miss should sanitize the report to omit names and companies as the intent of reporting a near is to provide others with information about potential hazards that members find in the field in order to prevent awareness to others of those hazards.
íƒËœ Employee while flying the boom on the truck in the morning did not put the stiff legs down. Employee raised boom and began to swing boom to side of truck. Foreman yelled at employee to stop.
A recent near miss resulted in a CalOSHA inspector visit. This OSHA visit also resulted in a “Written Memorandum”, which cannot be appealed. The near missed was a result of an employee working in a CT compartment. The employee was in a place that became hazardous (physically and atmospherically) while he was in there, due to the absence of a preventive device to block start up while someone is inside with the door open, OR there is someone inside this compartment with the door closed. While in the compartment if the turbine fans were to come on all the air would be sucked out the door cannot be opened by anyone caught inside, OR anyone trying to open it from the outside.
Gas crews concerns over up to date maps
I have nothing new to report on this at this time and would not expect to hear anything new on this until the November Joint meeting. Below are the minutes from last month’s report;
This was discussed again at the Local Meeting and was mentioned that the company from the labor management side were working on ways to resolve this issue but nothing definitive. At the IBEW / PGE Health and Safety meeting this was brought up again there. During this meeting the company was reminded of this concern and wants to make sure that company would work to find a solution to this concern and again discussed the incident where a plastic insert was not identified within a steel pipe being welded on. From this committee this issue will be referred to Gas Engineering for a response and invitation to the 4th Quarter meeting.
PGE Safety Glasses
The company reported at the Joint Health and Safety Committee that the Company has submitted a Letter of Agreement to the Union outlining a proposal to expand the prescription safety eyewear program. Communication on the policy will take place once the signed letter is received. There was an issue with the original LA that delayed the signing which has since been rectified.
This program however has a disclaimer attached it. The program has been approved by the company for implementation however it will be up to each department to roll out. There is no drop dead date that the departments would be required to comply with it. I am hopeful that all the departments comply soon but also realize that the funding may not be available immediately for the roll out. We will continue to monitor the status of this.
IBEW 1245 Safety Committee
Business Rep/Safety Chairman