Hydro employees at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District have earned the challenging Cal-OSHA “Golden Gate Safety Recognition Award”. The award requires five straight years of exemplary injury rates, highly effective safety programs, and visible leadership – not to mention site inspection and surprise employee interviews by Cal-OSHA representatives.
Most hydro employees work every day around dangerous heavy machinery, moving and rotating equipment, and electrical hazards. They agree that the solutions to staying safe are to look out for one another and to take the time to study the safest way to do every job.
“Two or three others always have input on how we’ll do a job,” said SMUD’s Dan Currier, a plant mechanic hydro foreman and 11-year IBEW 1245 member. “We’ll have a 15-minute tailgate before we even pick up a tool.”
Hydro Plant Mechanic Alex Bivins, a four-year IBEW 1245 member, called the tailgate meetings “an open forum discussion for us. Someone will chime in with a warning, like, ‘Don’t forget the rattlesnakes today, guys, it’s going to be hot and we’ll be around the powerhouse,’ and it makes us all more aware.”
“We’re like a big family when it comes to safety,” Currier said. “It doesn’t matter who you are—if there’s a thought of something not being safe, we speak up. And no one takes offense. We really take care of each other up here.”