The Local 1245 Health and Safety committee submitted two fatalities and six serious injuries to the International Organization dating back to September of 2015. The fatalities related to a PG&E electrical struck-by on September 30 and a Wright Tree Service tree trimmer fall death on December 30. The serious injuries varied from gas worker arc flash burns, a secondary electrical contact, a broken arm, broken jaw and head injury. The safety committee will continue to request OSHA 300 logs from affiliated employers.
To date, there have been 38 near miss/close call reports submitted to the Local 1245 safety portal. The reports have been submitted by line personnel and tree trimmers anonymously and have been archived on the IBEW 1245 website. Tree companies and utilities access these reports and use them for safety topics at their safety meetings. The reporting link has been updated on the website and all reports go to safety business representatives to be reviewed and to remove any information that would identify an individual or company. Near Misses and Close Calls are intended to be anonymous and valued for their information related to safety learning.
On July 5, it was announced that a 44-year employee of Frontier Communications and member of Local 89 in Arlington, Washington, died when he fell off a ladder on Independence Day.
Work is ongoing to create safe rooms at Verizon in which doors can be locked automatically in an emergency. Proposed allocations for bulletproof glass and locks is being reviewed. AEDs are in place in switch rooms and administration buildings. The AED corporation Zoll has a good video on using AEDs and training will be scheduled for the future.
Electric Line Report
There was a near-miss while a crew was piking a 30 foot pole that was not in line with the other poles. While piking using a hand-line rigged to an existing primary pole with no kick plate or dead man, the pole swung over and hit a customer’s home. No injuries reported.
A crew was working with an old #6 copper line. While catching wire off in both directions to splice the wire, a grip did not have full strain and wire slipped out and fell across a 12kV buck tap, burning down the wire. The distribution operator dropped the circuit. The buck phase was not covered.
A troubleman was patrolling a line on an outage call and noted a large pile of tree trimmings on the edge of the property. A group of men were working and said they saw a large flash twice; no one from the group was hurt. The troubleman was told by the property owner that the tree workers were day labor hanging out in front of a local Home Depot who he had hired to do the tree work, and they dropped the limb into the line.
Troubleman was negotiating a turn going about 55 mph and went straight off the road and destroyed the truck. No injury reported.
A lineman installing a spreader bracket on a 120 volt street light circuit was shocked when he made phase to neutral contact between his elbows. According to the report, the lineman had his sleeves to his FR shirt rolled up above the forearm and was wearing leather gloves. When he made contact he could not break free and dropped himself out of the bucket and became entangled in his lanyard, hanging upside down. The apprentice called EMS and brought the lineman down. The lineman spent two days in the hospital for observation, and was released with no long term effects.
Gas Operations Report
A gas department equipment operator was shocked by touch potential on a 120/240 service in a joint trench. The crew was responding to a “smell of gas” report and had uncovered the gas service when the equipment operator put his hands on the gas service and received a jolt that went up his right hand and arm. The operator reported the shock to the crew foreman who took the precaution of calling EMS to have the operator checked out. An electric troubleman was called in to de-energize the service and it was found that the electric service was 3-4 inches from the gas service. The investigation found that the equipment operator and crew foreman failed to recognize the hazard present by the electric service and requirement that the employee don 00 secondary rubber gloves in the trench.
A gas utility worker was cutting into a cluster conduit that was thought to be empty and he cut through a 12kV underground cable. The worker received a flash burn to his hands and face, but no electric shock. An equipment operator in the trench was blown back by the explosion but was unhurt.
On June 10, a trench shield that was being lowered into a trench with an excavator became detached when the load hook became elongated and failed. The load, weighing 10,700 lbs, fell 12” into a de-pressurized gas transmission facility. The hook maximum rating is 22,000 lbs. PG&E has issued a Safety Flash non-use directive for all crews using the Crosby S-322A swivel hook pending an investigation.
Tree Trimmer Report
A tree crew had an aerial lift boom in the air maneuvering the boom to the ground when the operator swung the boom into two phases, burning down the line. There were no reported injuries but a fire was started by the downed lines. The truck was towed back to Altec where they found the truck boom to be severely damaged by the high voltage contact.