There was some discussion on the topic of water jugs and the problems associated with them. Here is a snippet from the CalOSHA regulation on drinking water in the work place. This can be found in Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders (Group 2. Safe Practices and Personal Protection, Article 9. Sanitation)
(c) Portable drinking water dispensers shall be equipped with a faucet or drinking fountain, shall be capable of being tightly closed and shall be otherwise designed, constructed and serviced so that sanitary conditions are maintained. Such dispensers shall be clearly marked as to their contents.
(d) The dipping or pouring of drinking water from containers, such as from barrels, pails or tanks, is prohibited regardless of whether or not the containers are fitted with covers.
(e) The common use of a cup, glass or other vessel for drinking purposes is prohibited.
There was a question about record-keeping for tailboard sheets, and how long they must be kept for. OSHA recommends that the employer keep these records for five years.
It’s always important to review your policies and procedures annually with your crews/companies to be sure there aren’t any updates that are needed to be compliant with all regulations. We might find that we are allowing deviations to happen that we aren’t aware of.
A line crew had identified a three-phase run of 21 kV cable. The crew marked and took amp readings of all three cables, then spiked/cut the cables. The third cable was still energized. No injuries occurred.
Line crew was using a backyard machine to make repairs to a primary dead-end pole in a wet field. While moving the machine across the field it fell through a soft spot in the ground and rolled onto its side. There was no injuries or equipment damage.
A Troubleman was injured while responding to a flickering lights complaint to a large number of customers. The Troubleman was preparing to check voltage when an SP (self protected) transformer failed catastrophically spraying him and his surroundings with hot oil. The employee has been transferred to the hospital and is being treated for burns. He is expected to make a full recovery and will be released from the hospital in the coming days. A detailed investigation will be started, and further communications will be issued with more information as soon as it becomes available.
We have been informed that a journeyman linemen and IBEW 1245 5th step apprentice were involved in accident where a pole fell over in Lopez Canyon while working in Local 47 jurisdiction. Both were air lifted to Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills. The journeyman suffered a broken arm and other injuries, and some of his injuries will require surgery to repair. The apprentice suffered a laceration to his leg and head trauma. He has had two surgeries to relieve pressure on his brain and was put in an induced coma. At this point his vitals and coloring look good, and he is currently recovering from his injuries.
There was a T-man who was rear-ended while at a trouble call for wire down. It was raining out at the time of the accident, and the vehicle that rear-ended the T-man hydroplaned out of control. The reason the T-man was on site was for another accident where the vehicle lost control and went off the road and into a pole.
A journeyman lineman member was killed off the job in an ATV accident. He was a member of Local 57 but has been working in our jurisdiction for the last couple of years. The ATV they were riding in overturned. While they were trying to right the vehicle, it fell again and pinned one of the guys under it. When it fell on him, they believe that it severed his spinal cord. He was on life support until the family could come say their goodbyes, and then he passed. Our condolences to the family.
While working in a powerhouse, an electrician was struck by a piece of falling debris that was left behind form the demolition of the old elevator track. This debris was jarred loose by another employee who was descending a ladder inside of the elevator shaft. The electrician had minor abrasions on his wrist. Luckily, he wasn’t struck in the head and neck area, which would have resulted in a far worse injury.
A lineman was struck by a piece of 715MCM conductor and sleeve when the lineman in the air lost control of the wire, when half of the die in the press fell out and released the wire. It was estimated that the weight of the wire was 23.6 lbs. which resulted in an impact force of 980 lbs.
A crew truck rear-ended a person who was making an illegal U-turn. The air bags deployed, and no one was hurt.
During a standup meeting, the topic of using buckets in high wind over 35 mph was brought up. Altec buckets are not designed for use in winds over 35 mph. The company gave out wind meters to measure windspeeds while working during storm conditions.
A pull line broke while pulling underground, striking a third-party vehicle.
Wire rope on the underground puller getting highly twisted, swivels may not be operating properly. Breaking collapsible reels while pulling cable with mule tape. (Not a good practice)
Conduits that were bored in many months ago are now being found in poor condition. Some of the joints aren’t married, some are full of sand and debris.
While cutting in a new underground circuit, the crew identified what they thought was the correct cable to spike, but when they spiked it they found it was still energized. No one was injured.
A crew was in the process of transferring conductors during a pole change out. During the process the strain that was transferred to the adjacent pole caused the crossarm to break, slapping the conductors together relaying the circuit. No injuries occurred.
Immediately after closing as substation breaker, the 12KV breaker began to smoke. The breaker was opened, and the investigation found that that the magna blast breaker lowering control coil was stuck in the engaged position.
A substation XFMR was being replaced. In preparation for the work to be done, all the incoming circuits were grounded. Upon completion of the work, the lines were re-energized, but there were shunts the were left on the XFRM bushings that were not removed. There were no injuries.
A trouble bucket was set up on a 10-degree slope. When the lineman was aloft, the truck began to slide, it left the roadway and slid down a hill approximately 20’ striking a tree. The bucket broke ejecting the occupant into his fall restraint. The normal operation slope is between 0 and 5 degrees for this truck.
A crew was building a new primary riser. While raising the cable on the pole, a drill fell and struck the MEO. The drill was in a grunt bag on the outside of the bucket. The concentric neutral got caught on the hook part of the drill used to twist the concentric during splicing. The drill struck the MEO on the front of the hardhat. First aid was administered at the site. The MEO was working directly on the hole trying to keep the wire from tangling while being raised. It’s always a good idea to use a lanyard on out drills used in the air and clipped with a carabiner whenever not in use. The drop force of the drill was estimated to be 1900 lbs. when it struck the MEO.
An apprentice was injured while doing restoration work when he was cutting the straps off of a pole stub to free the broken pole. The crew set up the line truck to secure the pole while the straps were removed using a reciprocating saw. The first three straps were removed without incident. When the final strap was cut, the pole sprung back hitting the apprentice in the hard hat and knocking it off. It then rebounded and struck him again cutting his forehead just above the hair line. He was treated at a local hospital and released.
A lineman received a laceration on his lip while removing a limb from the line. He received 6 stitches and was released.
A substation electrician was to green tag a breaker as part of a switch log. He instead accidentally operated the breaker, closing it and energizing the line. No one was injured.
A t-man twisted his knee during restoration while snowshoeing. The tip of his snowshoe caught on some vegetation just under the snow causing the injury.
Line crew was removing grounds, while in the process they hung the first ground removed from the line on the pole. While removing the second, the first on fell, damaging a customer’s windshield.
A normal open switch was closed that normally separated a 21KV circuit form a 12KV circuit. This caused the 21KV to energize the 12KV side, damaging customer equipment, metering and XFMR fusing.
Safety Question: Is a cable that is laying on the ground as a temporary bypass for a bad underground cable required to be mechanically protected from the public? The short answer is yes. Title 8 of California’s electrical safety orders require energized facilities to be guarded from contact by non-qualified individuals.
35-year IBEW member Dave Fruwirth Passed away on February 20 after losing his battle with cancer. Our condolences go out to his family.
Two crews were working a big tree that had to be rigged and topped. The branch they were cutting was large, and when they made their initial cut, one of the rigging points gave way. The branch came down onto the upper boom of the truck and shock loaded it. No one was injured, but it gave them quite a scare.
A climber was 30’ up in a eucalyptus tree making a cut on a 12dbh, 15’ long limb. He made the cut and the limb fell onto him almost striking him in the head. When this happened, he panicked and didn’t shut off the chain saw. Luckily, he somehow he wasn’t injured.
Another climber was ascending a tree with his life line only, when he gaffed out and fell about 8’ and almost gaffed himself.
In September, there was a contractor who was working on the Accelerated Wildfire Risk Reduction program that had an employee fall from a tree at a height of approximately 50’-75’ resulting in a serious injury.
A tree trimmer was injured while cutting a limb. The limb broke prematurely and kicked back into the saw which hit the trimmer’s leg and cut it.
A groundman on a tree crew was struck by an uncontrolled limb that fell, hitting him in the face and splitting his lip.
A tree crew was working on an emergency. One of our members was climbing a tree and as he made a cut on a big limb, the limb snapped off the wrong way and pinch the climber to the phone line. No report, no hospital, and no accident, just got scared.
One member of a tree crew was cutting without chaps on and he almost cut himself.
A bucket truck was driving in snowy conditions going down a steep road and the driver had it in low gear. The truck went over black ice and begin to slide towards the passenger side and ran into an embankment. No injuries or damage. The driver was able to maneuver the truck out of the ditch and drove away safely.
A tree worker was injured when he fell when the limb he was tied to failed.
Low phone clearance over a highway after a pole change out caused the highway to be shut down till the clearance could be raised to the appropriate height after being struck by several big rigs.
Leak survey had an employee struck by a third-party vehicle while working in a three-lane road by himself. He was working near the edge of the road, near the curb and gutter. The employee was very lucky and sustained only bumps and bruises.
There were two employees working on a station project that included the replacement of the station blow down stacks. The new 8’ stack had originally been tied in under a clearance. The employees were working on leveling the stack in order to pour the concrete thrust block. To complete this work, the two employees were working in a bucket style man lift about 15’ in the air. They were about 5’ from the stack at the same level as the stack opening. At around 0900 there was an automatic station blowdown event triggered. This resulted in a blowdown release of gas at 745 PSI for 4 minutes and 15 seconds. Both employees immediately dropped to the bottom of the bucket and covered their ears in an attempt to shield themselves from the blowdown. Four other members on the ground ran towards the man lift to try to rescue the two employees trapped in it. A GPOM technician heard the blowdown event and confirmed with the control room that this was not a station emergency shutdown event. The technician then proceeded to the upstream isolation device to manually close it. Once the blowdown was controlled, the two employees were lowered and taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. Both employees were injured in this event. The crew working to level the stack and pour the thrust block wasn’t aware that the stack had been released from the clearance and back into operation. The prior crew who had worked on the project wasn’t aware there was additional work to be completed and released the clearance once their work was completed. Had the crew who was going to level the stack known the clearance was released. they would have obtained a clearance for the stack prior to work. Communication is KEY!!
A contractor installing communication lines on SMUD and PG&E property is not properly grounding, guying, or installing the strand and cable.
On Peavine Ridge near Reno, two men were overcome by carbon monoxide in a communications building. The deaths are believed to be from a malfunctioning exhaust system on a generator at the site. These sites don’t have carbon monoxide detectors.(non-IBEW)
Frontier is installing Knox boxes for keys to the safe rooms in their facilities. These will be for law enforcement to access the rooms in an emergency. They are also installing steel doors on the conference rooms to create safe rooms for employees in an emergency.