By Ralph Armstrong
PPE and Lineman’s Climbing Equipment
MID has come to an agreement recently on the purchase of climbing equipment for their employees which we feel is good for both the members as well as for MID to meet the requirements
To encourage the current workers to continue to use the equipment they had purchased on their own, MID has agreed to replace the equipment when it is needed by inspection. They will authorize through a vendor the employee to select mid grade equipment from the list. If the employee would like something better they can pay the difference. This equipment will become MID’s while employed at MID but upon separation MID will give the employee the equipment. This only applies to employees who purchased their own equipment originally. For new employees MID will purchase their equipment the same as above but upon separation from the company the equipment will become MID’s equipment and will not be given to the employee.
I have tried to find out where PG&E has gone with this but have not heard back from them yet. We have been proposing something like what MID has agreed to.
FR RAIN GEAR
There have been several reports of the FR rain gear that PG&E employees are being issued leak. The company has been made aware of this and is working with the manufacturer to correct this. PG&E has sent out bulletin regarding this and what to do. There are a lot of members who would like to use Cabellas Guide wear which is a breathable Gortex material; however it is not and will not be available in FR as required by the company for all outerwear. If leakage is an issue there is a return policy at the bottom.
Special Announcement: Stinnett, Jr., Chuck — Nasco MP3 Raingear Communication
To communicate what is being done to address saturation and or leakage issues with the MP3 raingear, general information on use & care and instructions for returns.
MP3 raingear has been provided for the last three years and has been the means to provide breathable raingear during inclement weather, which meets ASTM 1891 Standard Specification for Arc and Flame Resistant Rainwear.
Addressing Leakage Issue:
There have been varying degrees of leakage reported which are realistic. There are different reasons for this from invisible puncture from briars to leakage due to wet out. WET OUT is when a saturated garment will quickly begin to feel cold and clammy. Another factor of a saturated garment is the heat from the body has no escape. Depending on the type of work being done, condensation can begin to build up on the inside of the raingear fabric making the wearer feel damp. In most cases, the raingear is not technically leaking yet the wearer is getting/feeling wet. The longer the worker wears the saturated raingear, the wetter he/she will feel. Rainwear will never be 100% perfect but we are working hard to continually improve the products and processes, to reduce down time and possibly uncomfortable field employees. Nasco has now refined the MP3 Breathable fabric to include 3 water barrier layers from one and Nano Technology to repel dirt and water. It is our feeling that this will provide a much better water barrier, again Nasco is in a continual improvement mode to make the product better. They have also been able to hold all prices firm, so PG&E can benefit from new technology without any cost increases. The jacket has been redesigned eliminating shoulder seams which were a target for leaking, with input from the field the pants/overalls are also being redesigned for better pocket access and wear point for gaffs etc. In addition to the type 3 raingear, EE has the option to utilize the type 2 Dritex; the Dritex differs from MP3 in that it is not breathable, but is much tougher and watertight as a drum. Again there is the tradeoff, breathability is eliminated.
Raingear Use and Care Tips for Staying Dry:
Waterproof rainwear can make you sweat, don’t over dress. Instead, layer your clothing to minimize perspiration. Waterproof rainwear may feel like it’s leaking, when in reality your body may be sweating or water may be coming through the natural openings (wrists, ankles and around neck) of the garment. For maximum protection, tighten all available Velcro, snaps, and zippers to avoid water from entering the natural openings of the garments. Bring zipper all the way up, snap all snaps, and close Velcro around chin to keep water from running down front of jacket. Pull inner sleeve down, and tighten Velcro snuggly around wrists to keep water from running down arm. Tighten Velcro snuggly around ankles to keep water from wicking up inner legs during brief periods where rain may not be falling, open rainwear at the natural openings to allow breathing. Do not store rainwear wet! Rainwear stored damp or wet can permanently damage the garment. To dry out rainwear, turn garments inside out and hang over night. Your Rainwear, especially MP3 is a technical piece of equipment and needs to be cleaned on a regular basis to perform at a high level. If your garments are dirty follow laundering instructions on inside of jacket.
If there is a definite problem with manufacturing or should you suspect a leak, inspect closely and use the form that is attached to return your gear to the manufacturer for a timely evaluation and repair.
PG&E Safety Walk Around
The company has asked for names of individuals to participate in the bi-annual safety walk-around inspections. E-Mails have been sent out to all the reps to asking for name of employees to participate in this process. I received names from several reps and those names have been forwarded on to the company. These walk-arounds have been a topic of concerns from our membership and they have asked that we push the company to perform these audits. If there are anymore names that need to be added to this process please get them to me asap.
Forms and guidelines are on the website. Units should be using them as part of their unit meeting and submit them to the Local 1245 Safety Committee whether or not there are accidents or concerns. This should be a standard reporting practice at every unit meeting every month.