LOCAL 1245 SAFETY REPORT
Peer to Peer Safety Campaign
As of April 2nd, the Hold the Pull committee has completed all presentations at PG&E with the exception of Redding which is scheduled for May 18. MID & TID are scheduled for May 24 & 25, NV Energy presentations are scheduled for June 7, 8 and 9. Local 396 is working on scheduling joint presentations for NV Energy members in their jurisdiction. This still leaves a few PUD and REA properties to be scheduled; the expectation is that all properties will have been covered by the end of June.
We are currently working on appointing Safety Stewards across the system and expect to have a Safety Stewards training session scheduled for early July. Company has agreed to meet to discuss a near miss policy for Electric T&D and to discuss role of Safety Stewards, no date set as of now.
Gas Safety Meeting
On May 12 the next phase of work specific safety meetings will take place in Vacaville. Just as the Lineman Safety Summits focused on electric safety, this one will focus on the Gas Departments and their concerns. We want to identify what their specific concerns are and address what we can and also hope to eventually have them create a similar peer to peer group to address issues in the field similar to what was done by the lineman group.
Anything put out from this group will be created and built by this group to address their specific concerns with support from the union leadership.
Cranes and Derricks
Previous posts regarding this subject have been focused on FedOSHA requirements and where CalOSHA is with the state program. Last month however the Edison Electric Institute filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals against OSHA over the digger derrick exemption and the way it was written. Take it this standard only applies to construction work (Subpart V) and CalOSHA has moved to have it in their construction standard only as well but the digger derrick exemption has been the issue that has given our industry the greatest heartburn.
The standard allows an exemption for the use of digger derricks for setting poles, digging holes and hanging equipment on poles, however does not provide an exemption from other uses such as pad mount transformers or substation work. As a result of this petition and settlement Fed OSHA has issued a stay of enforcement regarding digger derricks. What this means is that even though it is in the standard they will not enforce that portion until they can amend the standard to reflect the change.
Below is a pretty good explanation by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association:
OSHA PLANNING TO EXCLUDE DIGGER DERRICKS FROM CRANE RULE
This is huge.
OSHA wants to exclude digger derricks doing Subpart V work from the Cranes and Derricks rule. We may even see an amended Final Rule with the digger derrick Subpart V exclusion late this summer. Much sooner than that, while OSHA fiddles with the details of an amended Final Rule, we are likely to see a hold on enforcement of the existing rule insofar as it is triggered by digger derricks doing Subpart V work. As a result, the rule, including its onerous training and 2014 third-party qualification and certification requirements, likely never will be applied to electric utility digger derrick operations.
The digger derrick Subpart V exclusion is the gist of an Agreement in Principle accepted by the Edison Electric Institute last week as part of a proposed settlement of its petition for review filed last October with the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. NRECA supported EEI’s petition. Any changes in the rule will affect equally all those subject to it. Attached areNRECA’s letter supporting EEI’s petition, along with EEI’s notice of OSHA’s proposal. Note that OSHA also plans to issue interpretations clarifying the voltage information and de-energizing issues in the rule.
OSHA says it will ask its parent agency, the Labor Department, for permission to implement the digger derrick Subpart V exclusion by a direct final rule. If, as expected, Labor agrees to OSHA’s request, an amended Final Rule would appear in the Federal Register and would take effect automatically after a specified number of days – 90 is likely – if no one objects. If there are objections, then a regular notice-and-comment rulemaking would begin. Although we do not know specific timing, indications are that OSHA intends to move swiftly with the Federal Register notice, and even more swiftly with a hold on enforcement while the Federal Register notice is worked out.
Now for those devilish details.
If amended as contemplated, the Cranes and Derricks rule would not apply to digger derricks used by electric utilities and their contractors in Subpart V – that is, electric construction – work. Other equipment defined as “cranes” – lattice cranes, for example — used by electric utilities in Subpart V work would still be covered. Digger derricks used by electric utilities and others in non-Subpart V construction — auguring a hole and setting a pole in constructing a billboard, for example — would still be covered.
All non-construction work would remain outside the coverage of this construction rule. And the duties of utilities as owners of power lines – the duty to provide voltage information, for example – would not change.
Wait a minute. Don’t utilities already have an exclusion for digger derricks doing Subpart V work?
No. We have something – two somethings, really – but they are not an exclusion for digger derricks doing Subpart V work. First, there is a complete exclusion for digger derricks doing Subpart V work involving holes and poles. And there is the option for the remaining non-excluded digger derricks – digger derricks used to set a padmount transformer, for example — to use the more advantageous clearances of 1910.269(p). That’s it. All the rest of the rule applies to non-hole/pole Subpart V work. Currently there is no blanket exclusion for digger derricks doing Subpart V work. That’s what the proposed exclusion is all about.
So, is this a big deal? Yes, this is a very big deal.
The biggest part of the deal is that the exclusion means that utilities can forget about the onerous third-party qualification and certification requirements that are triggered by digger derricks doing non-hole/pole Subpart V work. And since most utilities do some digger derrick non-hole/pole Subpart V work at some point – setting a padmount transformer, for example — most utilities would have to meet those qualification/certification requirements under the current rule. And training to meet those third-party requirements is also a requirement. With the contemplated exclusion in place, utilities can concentrate, as they always have done, on training their digger derrick operators to meet the requirements of the job, rather than training to meet the often less applicable requirements imposed by OSHA. And no third-party need certify or qualify that self-imposed training.
And there is more. With the contemplated exclusion, all that signal person documentation, overly complicated inspection procedure, qualified rigger hoopla, and qualified person/competent person foolishness will not apply to the extent those things are triggered by digger derricks doing non-hole/pole Subpart V work. Of course, signaling, inspections, and rigging remain of critical importance, but an exclusion will allow utilities to address those items as part of their General Duty to provide a safe work place.
All this sounds very good. The rule should have been written this way to begin with. OSHA is to be commended for recognizing this and taking remedial action, even if agency illumination came only after the kick in the pants of litigation. Of course, the whole show – the main feature as well as the popcorn — depends on exactly how the amended Final Rule is worded. So stay tuned.
Since the January 20, 2011 CalOSHA public hearing in San Diego pertaining to CalOSHA’s proposed new crane standard there is no new information to report. The new standard is mandated by Fed OSHA who on November of 2010 implemented its own crane standard for the construction industry. Typically state plans have 180 days to write or modify rules that comply with new Federal requirements which would put CalOSHA in the May timeframe to address them. Any new requirement on certification will not be required until 2014 per the Fed requirement unless CalOSHA dictates it be sooner.
The other issue that will also need to be addressed is the qualified rigger and signal person requirement which becames effective in November as well with an immediate implementation date. Again look for this requirement to be mandated by CalOSHA around the May timeframe which is the same 180 day requirement.
PGE, FR Clothing Allowances
Currently in discussions with PGE regarding this year’s FR clothing allowances. There should be more to come on this as well as possible avenues for employees who have problems in obtaining the proper type and amount of clothing to have ways of requesting what is needed. Below as reported last month is some information on proposed language pertaining to PPE with reference to FR Clothing. With the new Federal Regulation poised to be released and the large requests for this clothing some manufactures have reported month long delays in getting the clothing.
CalOSHA Proposed change to the purchase requirement of specific types of PPE
CalOSHA has a proposed change to the requirement of employers to purchase specific items of PPE which is modeled after the current Fed OSHA standard which was released around 3 yrs ago. This is somewhat of a take away from the current CalOSHA requirement which has been in place for several years based on a California Supreme Court decision which requires the employer to purchase all PPE. If this is passed not sure how much of an impact it will have on our employers and members yet. I have been following this closely and have provided some comments particularly on the FR Clothing issue and have received comment back from the standard board which is below and could also be found at the DIR website:
Mr. Ralph M. Armstrong, Business and Safety Representative, IBEW Local 1245 by e-mail transmission to the Standards Board received on March 1, 2011.
Mr. Armstrong expressed concern over whether exception No. 5 (he apparently means exception No. 4) would exclude employers from having to pay for fire resistant clothing worn by electrical workers exposed to the hazard of arc flash while performing their daily duties.
Exception No. 4 is intended to address items which do not fall under the classification of personal safety devices and safeguards necessary to protect the worker mentioned in General Industry Safety Orders (GISO), Article 10. The items described in Exception No. 4 refer to articles of clothing/apparel and personal belongings such as skin creams, ordinary sunglasses, and suntan lotion which have no special employee protection function and would not be considered a safety device or safeguard required under Article 10. Consequently, non synthetic apparel as required by the Electrical Safety Orders for employees who are exposed to arc flash or flames per Sections 2320.2 (a)(8) and 2940.6(j) are considered personal devices/safeguards which employers will continue to have the duty to pay.
The Board thanks Mr. Armstrong for his comment and participation in the Board’s rulemaking process.
The proposed language is:
Amend Article 10 to add new Section 3380.1 to read:
§ 3380.1. Employer Duty to Pay for Personal Safety Devices and Safeguards.
Whenever any safety order in Division 1 of Title 8 requires the provision, furnishing, use or wearing of any safety device and/or safeguard, it shall mean that the safety device and/or safeguard shall be provided at no cost to the employee.
- Non-specialty safety toe-protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel toe boots) and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear when the employer permits such items to be worn off the job-site.
- Metatarsal guards when shoes or boots with built-in metatarsal protection is provided by the employee and used with the employer’s permission.
- Logging Boots (calked boots or lug-soled boots) when required by Section 6254 of the Logging and Sawmill Safety Orders.
- Everyday clothing such as long-sleeve shirts, long pants, street shoes, normal work boots, ordinary clothing, skin creams, or other items used solely for protection from weather, such as winter coats, jackets, gloves, parkas, rubber boots, hats, raincoats, ordinary sunglasses, and sunscreen.
- Personal protective equipment and safeguards that are intentionally damaged or lost by the employee.
- Where an employee provides adequate protective equipment he or she owns and which meets the requirements of Section 3380(d) of these Orders. the employer may allow the employee to use it and is not required to reimburse the employee for that equipment. The employer shall not require an employee to provide or pay for his/her own PPE, unless the PPE is excluded by exceptions 1-5.
Forms and guidelines are on the website. Units should use 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.
See the latest near-miss report 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 provide awareness to others of those hazards.
During an outage to replace a water leak in a power plant the water supply to a chemical lab needed to be shut off. To mitigate the issue of clearing the eye wash and drench showers to the lab that is required to be operational the company decided to bring in a temporary drench shower and plumb it into an operational water supply while work was performed. During a walkthrough of the facility by another employee it was discovered that the temporary shower was hooked up to a hot water supply line with the potential to deliver hot water (158%) to the drench shower if needed. Work was stopped until the supply line was transferred to a cold water supply line. The supply line used was also too small to deliver the required amount of water to the drench shower (20 gpm). No accidents or need to use the shower occurred during this outage however the potential of further injury and or inadequate measures to adequately deal with an exposure to employee were present.