On Nov. 7, 2012 at approximately 2:50 pm an outside line construction employee performing work at the Tracy substation for Western Area Power Administration (WAPA), had an accident. It appears the employee received an electrical shock while performing work in the 230-kV yard. Paramedics were dispatched to the scene and the injured employee was treated and transported to a local hospital. The employee was up and walking around that evening; however, he will be off work for a while as he recovers from the burns. An accident investigation by both the contractor and WAPA is under way. The injured employee was a Journeyman Wireman from IBEW Local 684 working out of classification. We will provide more details as they become available.
On Oct. 29, 2012 a utility worker who was part of a 2-man crew were working to unload a 6’x8’ shoring box from a vendor’s flatbed delivery truck. One employee drove a backhoe to the flatbed to begin the offloading process while the injured employee attached the vendor-provided rigging (e.g. 4-legged chain hoist equipment) to the front bucket of the backhoe prior to moving into position near the truck. As the chain rigging was lifted and placed over the shoring box, the Utility Worker climbed up on the flatbed to attach the hooks on the two front rings closest to the backhoe. The second sets of hooks were attached by the vendor’s employee.
Once the hooks were attached, the Utility Worker remained on the flatbed and signaled for the back hoe operator to begin raising the bucket. The back hoe operator opened the clam to achieve more lift. The Utility Worker signaled for the back hoe operator to stop when the Utility Worker noticed one of the chains was not in the proper position. The Utility Worker placed his hand on the stationary edge of the open 4 in 1 bucket, leaning forward directly under it to correct the chain. He then stood upright while his left hand remained on the open bucket. As he kept his hand on the stationary edge of the open bucket, he leaned slightly toward the backhoe and signaled with his right hand for the back hoe operator to begin closing the bucket to gain slack in the chain. As the back hoe operator began to close the bucket, the Utility Worker felt it close on his left hand and yelled for the back hoe operator to open it.
The injured employee returned to work the next day on restricted duty
Peer to Peer Committee Activities
Hold the Pull Electric Safety Initiative
The Hold the Pull peer to peer committee has put together a unit meeting presentation schedule for the remainder of 2012 and the rest of 2013. So far the Placerville and Woodland units have been visited, with SMUD scheduled for Dec.12, and the Hayward/Fremont group in January. Two to three HTP committee members give a 10-15 minute presentation on the activities of the safety initiative, promote safety awareness and answer questions about how the program works. Business Reps are encouraged to schedule a presentation at their unit. The safety message is pointed toward the electrical trades but many safety concepts cross over into other trades so talk to Rich Lane about the presentation.
Livermore Training Center
HTP continues to visit the PG&E Livermore Training Center apprentice trainees and is now expanding into the pre-apprentice trainees. Preliminary plans have been made and LTC will work with HTP putting together a schedule. In time what will be two meetings a month will drop down to one when all current apprentice classes complete the 2 hr. presentation.
Due to the increase in demand for safety presentations the HTP peer to peer committee is expanding by four committee members. This is necessary so that the current six members are not called upon to perform all presentations. In November the HTP committee installed Greg Dydo, NV Energy and Casey Kelley, Liberty Utilities to the peer to peer committee.
HTP Safety Steward Recruitment
HTP safety steward recruitment is always ongoing. Business Reps have been actively recommending people to be safety stewards. If any Rep. has a recommendation contact Rich Lane and he will contact the person and explain the details of the program, the duties and expectations, send literature and get the person appointed to the program. Safety stewards are given access to a steward only secure website where they can view trade related entries from fellow stewards and participate in the open forum. Currently Hold the Pull has 31 safety stewards and 8 peer committee members.
Control the Pressure Gas Safety Initiative
The Control the Pressure committee needs help in identifying which units are attended by those working in the gas trades. The committee wishes to set up a schedule for 2013 in which they can attend units and speak directly to gas members about the Control the Pressure initiative. Please contact Rich Lane and identify how many gas employees attend or have the potential to attend your unit meetings. You are always welcome to schedule a visit by CTP, just let us know.
The Control the Pressure safety initiative has also been busy working to recruit new stewards and setting up a 2013 schedule to visit PG&E gas training schools. With the help of Joe Osterlund, preliminary plans are being made to include CTP in the 2013 safety kick-offs going on throughout the PG&E operational area. This effort is hoped to coincide with PG&E’s Gas Safety Plan program that is starting to be introduced. Much like the HTP effort, CTP committee members will attend meetings and discuss the safety initiative and its purpose.
Nevada Energy has invited CTP committee members Marty Kumle and Adam Weber to visit their apprentice training class in Reno on Dec. 13. Marty and Adam will introduce the safety initiative to the 25 training school apprentices and have an open discussion about safety awareness, career building tips and good work habits. This will be the first time CTP has visited a Nevada Energy apprentice training school.
The current complement of CTP stewards is 20 and 11 committee members. Anyone who has a recommendation for safety steward please contact Rich Lane.
Keep the Clearance Tree Safety Initiative
The KTC committee completed their second stewards training class on Nov. 8 at the Vacaville hall. This class was small with eight people in attendance and due to the nature of the work and schedule conflicts it has been challenging to get all 35 stewards trained. There will be one last training class offered in January, details to be announced. Currently there are 21 tree safety stewards and 8 committee members.
First Responder Training Program
The FRT program has to date completed 8 training classes within the 1245 area with three more full programs scheduled for Madera City Fire and Madera Mountains Cal Fire. These programs are full electric and gas safety programs that use a changeable Powerpoint program that details basic electrical theory for the uninitiated to more advanced subjects such as touch and step potential, human anatomy current effects, emergency response training to static panel and equipment displays. Anyone who is interested in the program is invited to review it by contacting Rich Lane (email@example.com).
California State Tree Industry Standards Revised
According to the Aug. 24, 2012 edition of the Cal-OSHA Reporter, the California Division of Safety and Health (DOSH) is in the final stages of enacting changes to tree industry standards proposed to be instituted in 2013. General Industry Safety Orders (GISO) Secs. 3421-3427 shall establish employer required rescue procedures, training in emergency response and first aid/CPR. State mandated minimum approach distance of 10’ within proximity to conductors at 600 volts has not changed but employees engaged in tree work shall be instructed in hazards involving energized electrical conductors, ground faults, and work near downed objects if there is a step potential hazard. (GISO 3423)
Among other changes workers shall not carry hand tools and equipment when climbing into a tree unless the tools are used to assist them in their climbing, (GISO 3426) and palm frond skirts shall be removed from the top down. Fronds may be trimmed from below the dead accumulation only when a qualified tree worker makes a determination that it can be done safely. California accounted for almost half of the tree related incidents in the nation, and more than 20% of the fatal incidents, with many of them occurring in palm tree trimming operations, where workers can be crushed while attempting to remove years’ worth of dead palm fronds. For copies of the standard contact Rich Lane, Safety Division: firstname.lastname@example.org.
PGE FR Clothing update
PG&E’s FR Clothing Committee and Ad-Hoc Gas M&C/Field Services FR Clothing assessment committees met in November. Among the things discussed in the FR Clothing committee was the status of the transition from Tyndale to Riverside which at this time has gone well. There are some issues and both PG&E and Riverside are working to make improvements. There should be better directions in the catalog both on-line and hard copies to help individuals who have body types that require specific alterations to the standard sizing. Representatives from Riverside were present to answer questions as well as go over a few new items that may become available in the future.
There were also discussions pertaining to the status of the new FR raingear for the electric departments. The production of this new gear has been slowed somewhat at the manufacturer; however, they should have this new gear in the field in the near future.
Ad-Hoc Gas M&C/Field Services FR Clothing assessment committee met and are looking at these departments specific needs as it pertains to the current FR Clothing requirement and trying to research the potential options to the current clothing requirements. The research into other options will need to be evaluated and approved once it is determined what some of these options are. This committee is looking at the possibility of lower calorie rating clothing based on the employees’ exposure. Lower rating clothing will not be as heavy or hot during the summer months if it is determined that these are viable options and approval is given.