The Barehand Oversight Committee has been busy getting clarification on the PG&E Cal-OSHA barehand variance and requirements for approving new procedures. We have met several times over the last 6 months and are gaining ground on what needs to be done. This has been a very good exercise due to the fact that most of the people involved in the original variance are now gone from the company or the union.
What appears to be the final hurdle is getting Cal-OSHA to approve the use of helicopters to access the conductor by way of harness. We have approval to use the sky chair and boatswains chairs to perform mid-span work without leaving those devices; what needs approval is to be able to use the helicopter to land the worker on the conductor and detach from the helicopter to perform work at the insulator yoke.
The procedure for this method is in the final stages of approval from the oversight committee and when that is done we will be able to submit this work procedure to Cal-OSHA for approval. Until this work procedure is approved the practice of landing workers on energized lines via helicopter can’t be done. Under de-energized conditions it is permissible since that work practice is not covered under the variance.
A complete review and rewrite of the barehand manual is under way and hopes are that all the outstanding issues are cleared up during 2014. Barehand training for 2014 begins the first week of April.