Dan Boschee (Frontier Communications) Frontier is currently doing CPR and First Aid training.
Sean Stevens (SMUD) An employee was walking down steep stairs and was injured pulling out his knee. There was also a vehicle accident involving a SMUD vehicle, resulting in a fatality. The vehicle was making a left turn and hit an oncoming vehicle that was traveling at a high rate of speed. The vehicle caught fire and the employee suffered slight smoke inhalation.
Mike Gomes (Modesto Irrigation District) There was a recent near-miss with a service crew rewiring a multi-riser panel. A journeyman pulled the meter and was going to test the socket and a contractor electrician got into panel and got shocked. The electrician was not injured, but was embarrassed he did not test the panel dead first.
A line crew that was setting a service pole underneath 12kv had a digger truck holding the pole set up in the pole set area. While the crew was not in the vicinity, the equipment operator decided to move the pole and got grabbers into 12kv and made contact. No one was injured.
A question about qualified observers came up. The situation relates to foreman and journeyman up working and apprentice observing. Cal-OSHA Title 8 Regulation 2940, General Provisions state: (d) Observers. During the time work is being done on any exposed conductors or exposed parts of equipment connected to high-voltage systems, a qualified electrical worker, or an employee in training, shall be in close proximity at each work location to: (1) act primarily as an observer for the purpose of preventing an accident, and (2) render immediate assistance in the event of an accident.
Joe Joaquim (PG&E Gas Ops) Reporting by phone: Interviews have been conducted by PG&E fire first responders and some improvements have been noted from complaints lodged to the health and safety committee on fire response in 2015. H&S committee members continue to monitor conditions in base camps and work areas in an effort to communicate with the company. PG&E did not conduct any interviews with utility first responders in 2015 but met with H&S committee members on July 14 who provided information on the subject. A follow-up meeting has not been scheduled yet.
Dane Moore (PG&E Electric Ops) A contract crew in Antioch dropped a jumper into 21kV. The second point of contact was not covered. There were no injuries.
A crew was installing a new down guy and got guy into 12kv and caused a relay. The conductor was not covered adequately. The crew will be sent to situational awareness class and cover up class.
There is a new pilot program in which vehicles have generators mounted with large battery packs to re-establish power to transformers that go out. The mobile power supply are rated to 45kva. Each truck will have up to 75’ of secondary leads. Each truck will have two men and the company will have 12 trucks. Trucks cannot be parked over anything combustible because of the fire hazard due to exhaust of the battery cooling system, and the area has to be checked for gas leaks prior to set-up.
Carlos Rodriguez (Tree Trimmers) On July 15, a tree trimmer working for Wright Tree sustained a broken leg in two places when a branch was dropped on him while crews were topping trees for transmission clearance. According to the report, which was sent to the IBEW international office, the trimmer was feeding branches into a chipper and had moved his truck near the cutting operation when the branch was dropped on him. Another employee saw the branch fall and yelled, possibly saving his co-worker’s life.
A tree employee was kicked and shoved by a woman who did not like him lying on the grass during his lunch break. Although he was not on the woman’s property at the time, she came over to him and told him to sit up, and when he did not, she kicked the hardhat on which he was resting his head. The trimmer later said he should have left but was angered by the woman’s actions. The employee’s supervisor called the police and reported the incident to PG&E security after the woman swerved her car at the crew while leaving the area.
An employee with Utility Tree Service went out to do work in an area without PPE and was disciplined for no glasses, chaps and fire equipment. Safety inspections will be starting with a third party who will do observations on crews as a part of a PG&E inspection program.
The State of California has declared a state of emergency in relation to an estimated six million trees that are dead due to drought and bark beetle infestations. Most tree companies are working crews on extended hours, but due to the emergency declaration hours may be increased.
An employee had a near-miss while chipping brush. He fed branches in and a large chip came out and hit him on his safety glasses. The chip scraped his face, but the glasses saved him from eye injury. The chipper was not a self-feeding type that allows the groundsman to feed and step back away from the feed chute.
Another near-miss occurred when a tree trimmer’s flip line got caught on a falling branch and threw him off balance, flipping him around. The incident happened so fast that he could not catch his balance, but his saddle held and kept him from falling 50 feet to the ground.
Al White (PG&E Restoration) On July 21, a final incident report was distributed related to the lineman who was burned while transferring a service to a new weather head. Believing the service to be de-energized, he cut through a hot leg and neutral at the same time, causing an arc flash. He was wearing leather gloves, not insulated rubber gloves, which contributed to his injury. Employee complacency and a management system that did not prevent the complacency was cited as the key contributing factors to the incident.
An employee moved a can of duster from a cup holder in the center console to the dash while he was doing his paperwork. He left the can on the dash while he went to eat lunch and while he was gone the can exploded, breaking the windshield.
Employees were in the process of removing an inaccessible pole with a helicopter. The load was hooked to a rigging point that was not rated for the load. When the helicopter took a strain the rigging point failed. Not knowing the failure, the lineman cut the pole top, and the top fell a safe distance away from the crew.
Employees were rubbering up the energized distribution in preparation for setting a 69kv pole when they noticed a through bolt on the 69kv arm had no hardware and was completely loose. The arm had almost worked its way from pole. The crew reported the near hit.
NSC Fall Division: The IBEW Fall meeting will begin on October 13, and labor division meetings will be October 14-16. Members attending are Carlos Rodriquez, Dan Boschee, Mike Gomes and Joe Joaquim. Not attending is Sean Stevens, Dane Moore and Al White.
PG&E Employee Killed: It was reported by Senior Assistant Business Manager Ralph Armstrong that PG&E meter maintenance worker David Spurgeon drowned in his vehicle. Spurgeon was a well-liked 28-year employee who worked out of the Marysville yard. He left behind his mother and siblings. PG&E is still conducting an investigation of the incident.
Valley Fever Report: On Jul8 28, a PG&E Troubleman working out of Lemoore contacted Local 1245 to share his story and sound the warning about the risk of Valley Fever, as well as its symptoms and lasting effects. An article was placed on the IBEW 1245 website and Facebook page from which there have been over 70 shares and 7800 views. See: “Valley Fever Risk Looms in Central Valley” //ibew1245.com/2016/08/10/valley-fever-risk-looms-in-central-valley/
Fire Response Communication: On July 14, Health and Safety committee members Joe Joaquim and Rich Lane met with PG&E Safety and Compliance Director Diane Thurman, Eric Bachman and industrial hygienist Jo Forchionne regarding the April, 2016 IBEW health and safety committee communication listing concerns related to fire response in 2015. The company agreed to organize tailboards for employee responders, review regulation on fit testing of P-100 respirators, review training with public safety responders and check with electric operations on lessons learned in previous events. A response back was due on August 12, but to date has not been received.
–Rich Lane, IBEW 1245 Business Rep