Injuries, accident reports, and other news
Members of the Local 1245 Health and Safety committee attended the National Safety Council Labor Division Spring meeting May 4-9. Safety training meetings and the IBEW International Caucus were on the schedule for committee members Art Torres, Al White, Dan Boschee and Business Representative Rich Lane. Classes attended were OSHA 10-hour training, NSC Distracted Driving Initiative, Controlling Workplace Hazards and NFPA 70E compliance training. The last two days consisted of meetings with the IBEW caucus that included break-outs by industry and a general caucus including an awards luncheon. One of the highlights was eye-opening information on “distracted driving.”
ACCIDENT / INCIDENT REPORTS
Helicopter Load Line Failure
The Bell 214 was on-site to set approximately 15 wood transmission poles, transport conductor reels and miscellaneous tools/material for Transmission crew. After completing 12 pole sets, the helicopter Crew was directed to move (3) 60” wooden reels of 397.5 acsr conductor approximately five miles away from the LZ. Each reel contained 5,900 ft. of conductor and weighed +/- 4,400lbs.
As the primary mission of the day was to set poles averaging +/- 4,000lbs, the 214 was outfitted with a 60’ steel long-line and an electrically operated remote hook. Standard Operation of a remote hook configuration does not include a swivel type device between the helicopter and the remote hook due to the parallel electrical cord required to operate the hook.
The first reel of conductor (R1) was rigged by line crew personnel at the LZ with (2) fiber slings that were choked directly around the diameter of the conductor with the opposing eye of each sling snapped directly into the remote hook in a basket configuration.
The 214 proceeded to lift R1 from the LZ and begin forward flight. Approximately ½ miles from the LZ, the Pilot in Command (PIC) felt and observed the load behaving erratically. The aerodynamics of the reel during forward flight had caused the reel to enter a rapid spin. The PIC made the decision to reverse course and return the load back to the LZ where the rapid spin could be eliminated. Before the ship could reach the LZ, the spinning action of the reel caused the steel long-line to twist to failure, which occurred at approximately 3ft. from the belly connection of the helicopter. The result of this failure caused the steel long line, remote hook with its electric control cord; and the reel of conductor to be dropped into an uninhabited, steep and heavily wooded mountain side. The 214 remained airworthy at all times and was safely landed at the LZ.
Consider adding language to Helicopter long lining procedures which discusses the aerodynamic characteristics of common loads (poles, plywood, insulators, etc.) and the consideration of utilizing a swivel between the rigging and the remote hook.
Since the majority of loads lifted with a helicopter are with a synthetic rope load line & steel grapple which already incorporates a swivel above the grapple hook; this new language will only pertain to electric remote hook applications. Using a swivel on all remote hook loads would not be a good practice as all loads do not spin and the heavy swivel will drop when the remote hook is released and could cause serious injury to ground personnel.
Transition from steel wire rope slings to synthetic rope slings for all long-line operations. The current synthetic rope sling technology has surpassed steel wire rope slings in strength & size. It would also reduce the conductivity & twisting characteristics of the load line dramatically.
Serious Injury – San Francisco Employee
On Sunday, May 5, 2013, at approximately 3:25 p.m. an Apprentice Cable Splicer based out of the San Francisco, received serious burns to his hands while attempting to remove grounds that were temporarily installed in a sub-surface transformer during a clearance. The employee was admitted into St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco where he was being treated for his injuries. A second Apprentice Cable Splicer was transported as well; however, he was released without treatment.
A Serious Incident Analysis Team has been commissioned to ensure the root cause for this incident is determined in order to prevent recurrence of similar incidents.
Motor Vehicle / Trailer Accident
From Fresno newspaper
Four people are lucky to be alive after a runaway utility trailer smashed into their SUV.
It happened around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon on Highway 41, just south of Avenue 12.
The California Highway Patrol says the safety chains on a PG&E trailer sparked a grass fire on the side of the road. It then broke free from the truck it was being towed behind and went flying down Highway 41 into oncoming traffic. It ultimately hit an SUV and caused it to flip over. The trailer then caused another grass fire as it came to rest.
Eddie Joe Torres and his friends stopped to help rescue everyone in the SUV.
“I just broke the window with my elbow, got in and pulled the kid out. There were three people when I got into the vehicle, two children and a lady. I didn’t even care about the fire to tell you the truth. Sometimes I disregard my own safety. Just trying to get help for others,” said Eddie Joe Torres, a Good Samaritan.
Incredibly, no one in the vehicle was seriously hurt, including an infant and a toddler.
“It goes to show what car seats do when infants are in car seats as they are supposed to be in the proper manner,” said Omar Godinez of the C.H.P.
Meanwhile, PG&E investigators are now examining every piece of their trailer to determine what went wrong.
“Obviously if it’s determined we were at fault we would take responsibility for that. You know I think our focus right now is just very relieved and happy that no one was injured,” said Denny Boyles, PG&E Spokesman.
PG&E SERIOUS PREVENTABLE MOTOR VEHICLE INCIDENT
COMMUNICATION FROM DES BELL
I’m Des Bell and I’m a professional driver. I don’t mean that I’m a professional driver on the NASCAR circuit (although that would be exciting); I mean professional driver in that when I’m behind the wheel, my full attention needs to be on the task at hand. Yet, I’m hard-pressed to think of another activity besides driving that demands our full attention, but often doesn’t get it.
Perhaps because we’ve done it so much, it’s easy to lose focus—talking on the phone, reflecting on the events of the day or planning for what’s coming up. Some people might have an attitude of “if I’m stuck driving, I might as well make productive use of that time.” When driving, concentrating on driving is what’s most productive. Anything else could lead to serious consequences.
Serious Preventable Motor Vehicle Incidents – Not a Good Start to 2013
Earlier this year we increased our focus and resources on serious preventable motor vehicle incidents (SPMVI). This approach will help us develop effective prevention strategies for incidents that pose the greatest risk.
I wish I had better news to report for the first quarter of 2013, but when it comes to our SPMVI performance, we are a quarter through the year and have experienced a third of the incidents we thought we might have for the year. When you dive into the details of each incident—icy roads, driving too fast, following too closely—it’s clear that nearly all of the incidents were avoidable with more attention paid to the conditions and increased focus. None of these incidents were intentional, I’m sure, and it’s reasonable to assume that in some of these cases, there was a dedicated employee who had his or her mind on trying to solve an issue for a customer or a coworker. Honorable, sure, but the most important thing is to focus and drive safely. This is something within our control and something we all need to remember.
Technology: Friend or Foe to Professional Driving?
As part of our Distracted Driving Awareness campaign this month, you’ve seen a lot about how technology—particularly cell phones—can distract drivers and potentially lead to serious incidents. Technology, when used responsibly, can help us, too. Our Motor Vehicle Safety Action Team, sponsored by Valerie Bell, vice president of IT Operations, is working with teams in IT and Shared Services on a pilot for vehicle technology. The onboard technology would provide drivers with real-time coaching on driving behaviors such as speed, hard braking, acceleration, cornering and seatbelt compliance. The employees who have participated in the pilot so far have been very enthusiastic. Some entered the program feeling very sure of their driving skills and learned that they had some habits needing attention.
In alignment with our overall non-punitive approach to safety, this technology is a tool meant to create awareness about behavior that could lead to a serious incident. It doesn’t send an instant message to your boss every time you make a sudden stop; it provides several audio reminders before recording the pattern of behavior so you can see how you’re doing and what you need to work on.
The technology pilot has been expanded to about 50 vehicles with plans to include 250 vehicles in 2013.
You are a Professional Driver
In an auto race, we know who is driving because there are big numbers on each car. Imagine if you had your name, address, phone number and email printed on the side of your car—would you be more cautious when you were changing lanes or pulling out into oncoming traffic? When we drive PG&E vehicles, everyone knows who we are. It’s not just our name on the side of the vehicle; it’s our reputation, too. When we drive safely, the public forms an opinion that we run every part of our business that way, and in their eyes, we’re a company they can trust.
It’s not just about reputation, though; it’s about everybody arriving at their destination alive and well.
IBEW / PG&E JOINT QUARTERLY SAFETY MEETING
WEAKLEY HALL, VACAVILLE, MAY 15, 2013
Old Business / Standing Items
Sensitive Ground Settings
Systems Protection review/response required. Marc Brock will follow-up and see if Manho Yeung can send a representative to attend our next safety meeting in August for an update. Status: Open pending review
Safety Walk-around Inspections
Employee list will be distributed and performed per agreement. It was determined that procedure guidelines have been distributed and are available to employees. The company maintains interest in updating the inspection process provided for in the Labor Agreements and the union agreed to take this item off-line for discussions. Status: Open
Telecommunications Utility Bulletin IT-3701B-01 – John Parks will follow up with IT leadership and clarity of the bulletin and communication effort. Status: Closed
Lockout / Tag out Procedures in Generation – Concerns regarding lockout / tag out procedures in the power plants. Discussions have taken place, need status update. Status: Open
Rescue procedure for Single Man-Lifts – No current written procedure for rescue procedure for single man-lifts. The concerns are if something happened to the truck and they were required to get out of the bucket. Marc Brock and John Parks will follow-up and check into further. Status: Open
Lapp Insulator Issues – This issue is regarding the large amount of Lapp Insulator failures. This is currently being researched, with a possible tool to protect the employee in the event of a failure (Disk). Overall we need to get more clarification and communications regarding “what do we need to do if we suspect a failure”. Our understanding is we are working on a communication plan. Walt Posey is working on – Marc Brock to follow-up. Status: Open
AED’s on Gloving Trucks – This has received a lot of attention due to a recent fatality. Currently there are 468 AED’s in the field. The Company is reviewing the policy and distribution. Status: Closed
Radio Safety – This issue is regarding the placement of old radio’s in new trucks and the employee’s inability to communicate with each other. There is not much clarity on the overall issue or if it is an issue at all. Bert will follow-up. Status: Open
Jack Jumper – a concern was brought up by JV regarding the use of a jack jumper to replace fuses by a single man operation versus a crew performing the work. 2940 was cited as a relevant section regarding single man operations. Marc Brock will follow-up with Mike Swanson and report back.
Next Meeting: August 21, 2013 at IBEW Offices – 8:00 a.m. – Noon (management pre-meet from 8 a.m. – 9 a.m.)
Heat Illness Citations Up Sharply in 2012
The general industry and construction Injury and Illness Prevention Program standards held their customary spots atop the list of most-cited Title 8 standards, according to data provided by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health Program Office.
Heat illness prevention violations also held one of the top spots — but the number of times it was cited by Cal/OSHA rose dramatically.
Meanwhile, the most appealed standard was the Process Safety Management standard, for which citations were contested almost three-fourths of the time.
General Industry Safety Orders §3203 and Construction Safety Orders §1509 were the most and third-most cited regulations. The heat illness standard, GISO §3395, was second, but violations rose 50%, from 920 in 2011 to 1,379 last year.
CSO §1509 violations were up 25%, from 632 in 2011, while §3203 citations were down slightly from 1,726 in 2011. None of the top three violations were often cited as serious — no more than about 5%. The most-cited violation most often classified as serious was CSO §1644, Metal Scaffolds, at 42%.
The most appealed standard, at 72.6% was GISO §5189, Process Safety Management of Acutely Hazardous Materials. It is the 18th most-cited standard. Section 324(a), Reporting Work Fatality or Serious Injury, was the sixth most-cited and the second most appealed standard. There were almost 25% more §342(a) violations in 2012 than in 2011.
There were three regulations on the 2012 most-cited list that did not appear the previous year: GISO §5157, Permit-Required Confined Space; the aforementioned Metal Scaffolds regulation; and GISO §3577, Use, Care and Protection of Abrasive Wheels: Protection Devices.
Likewise, four standards on the 2012 most-appealed list did not appear in 2011: GISO §4300.001, Table Saws, Manual Feed; GISO §5185, Control of Hazardous Substances, Changing and Charging Storage Batteries; CSO §1529, Asbestos; and GISO §4002, Moving Parts of Machinery and Equipment.
Now in Title 8
‘Securing Poles’ Revision Approved
By a majority vote following a public hearing, the following revision to a Title 8 safety order has been adopted by the Cal/OSH Standards Board. It has been approved by the Office of Administrative Law and now is in the California Code of Regulations.
SECURING OF POLES DURING REMOVAL OPERATIONS: A revision to High Voltage Electrical Safety Orders §2940.8 were heard at the Feb. 21, 2013, public hearing, adopted March 21, 2013, and is effective July 1, 2013.
The revision is based in large part on a 2010 Cal/OSH Appeals Board decision in Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD), following an injury incident. A crew was removing a damaged power pole that had been hit by a vehicle and was suspended in the air, supported only by the power lines.
The crew removing the pole did not secure it with the winch line of the line truck before removing the conductors holding the pole in place, and after they removed the conductors, the pole slipped and struck an employee working on the ground, causing serious injury.
The Division of Occupational Safety and Health cited SMUD for three serious violations, alleging that the employer did not control the job in a manner to avoid exposure of employees to overhead loads.
But the administrative law judge decided that SMUD was not guilty of that violation because “There was no evidence that the broken top parts of the pole were passed, or moved, or swung directly over any workers on the ground or their occupied work space.” She dismissed a violation of General Industry Safety Orders §5002 and a proposed $6,750 penalty.
She also vacated a violation of §4999 and $18,000 penalty because that safety order applies only when a load is to be lifted by a crane, derrick or hoist. Because the broken power pole/load was never attached at any time to the winch line of the truck, there was no violation, the ALJ said.
The revision adds a new subsection (f) to High Voltage Electrical Safety Orders §2940.8, stating:
“Damaged or unstable poles, or sections of poles shall be guyed, braced or otherwise securely supported during pole removal operations.”
Cal/OSHA Investigates More
April Workplace Fatalities
After a spate of tragic California workplace incidents, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health is investigating several more workplace fatalities. They include a Southern California incident in which one worker was killed and three injured, a vineyard fatality, a crushing incident and a double fatality at a north-state Caltrans site.
On April 25, a Southern California Edison worker was electrocuted and three coworkers were injured at an infrastructure improvement project in Menifee. The deceased worker has been identified as Jose Raul Ros, an 11-year employee of the utility.
He and his coworkers were in an underground vault when an explosion apparently occurred. The coworkers were treated and released at a local hospital with smoke inhalation.
The double fatality was in Happy Camp, Siskiyou County, where two Caltrans workers were killed by falling rocks on April 24. The workers, Joseph Jones, 40, and Shawn Baker, 50, were “rock sealing” along state Highwy 96 when several large boulders slid down the side of the hill, crushing them and injuring a third Caltrans worker, an equipment operator.
According to Associated Press, Jones and Baker were attached to ropes and harnesses on a hillside when they were struck.
There were two farm-related fatalities on April 26. In Madera, an employee of G&P Ag Management was operating a tractor to disc the ground in a vineyard when he fell off and was run over by the machine.
The same day, an employee of Salinas-based Growers Ice was killed after a piece of equipment struck him. According to the Monterey County Herald, the victim, believed to be in his early 30s, was applying plastic covering to strawberry pallets when part of a pallet broke off and jammed the machine. The worker failed to press a shutoff switch, the paper reports, causing a large counterweight to fall on him.
On April 24, an employee of general contractor Ken Bareilles was crushed in the process of operating an excavator. The worker was caught between the arm and the frame of the machine, DOSH reports.
CONE ZONE CONVICTION: A 30-year-old Moreno Valley man was convicted of charges including hit-and-run injury and causing coma or paralysis in a Jan. 14 incident in which he severely injured a Caltrans contract worker on Highway 91.
Enrique Lopez Lopez left worker Jesse Silva, 37, in a coma and vegetative state when he drove under the influence past warning signs and trucks and struck Silva. Lopez did not even possess a driver’s license. He was sentenced to more than six years in state prison, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.