Tag: Tailgate Topics

Accident Analysis Using the Multi-Employer Citation Policy

OSHA regulations are promulgated under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, as amended. In accordance with the regulations, employers are obligated to provide both safe work and safe workplaces. They must adhere to requirements for training, supervision, discipline, retraining, personnel protection, job planning and job control. Section 5 of the OSH Act – also known as the General Duty Clause – requires both employers and employees to do their part to adhere to OSHA regulations. Although present statutes do not allow OSHA to fine employees who violate regulations, employees are required...

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Wood Pole Inspection and Testing

Even before OSHA created 29 CFR 1910.269 Appendix D, “Methods of Inspecting and Testing Wood Poles,” it seems likely that pole inspection was a rule of thumb for many field employees. After all, they set poles and repeatedly climbed them to handle upgrades, maintenance, wood rot and decay. Today, given OSHA regulations and the fact that pole testing and inspections are not difficult to perform, it would also seem likely that workers would adhere to these practices. Unfortunately, some employees don’t inspect a pole at all before climbing. Others believe they can easily comply with regulations...

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A Key to Safety Performance Improvement

I have been intimately involved with safety in one form or another for my entire career. I became an electrician when I was a young man, spent a few decades in power plants as an engineer, held various management positions in the electric transmission and distribution field, and now act as a safety consultant. Over the years I have learned a great deal, and I want to share with you one of the most important lessons I’ve picked up along the way. I’ve noticed over time that many people are interested in safety topics such as the latest human performance tools, the best personal protective equipment...

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Are You Your Brother’s Keeper?

“I’m a big boy and I can take care of myself.” How many times have you heard this comment when observing and attempting to challenge risky behavior? Why do we hesitate to question someone else’s actions? And why don’t we listen to co-workers’ concerns? First, I believe we don’t want to deal with the confrontation, and second, we either don’t consider the consequences or we don’t believe the consequences will occur. Why else would we allow a crew member’s unsafe actions to continue? Accountability is not a popular concept in the field. In the field, the final decision about procedure and the...

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Improving Safety Through Communication

Recently we have heard about serious accidents and fatalities in our industry that have had a significant impact on the injured employees, their fellow workers, their family and friends, and virtually everyone else who knows them. These accidents should not have happened, and when we look at the events leading up to some of them, they could be described by the famous quote from “Cool Hand Luke”: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Freeman Teague Jr. said, “Nothing is so simple that it cannot be misunderstood.” Think about your most recent conversation regarding a topic not related...

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Electrical Capacitors in AC Circuits

In this month’s Tailgate, we will discuss the functions of a capacitor in an alternating current (AC) circuit, including charge and discharge, applications and connections in power circuits, and capacitor safety. An electrical capacitor is an electrical device that stores up electricity or electrical energy and improves an AC circuit’s power factor. It has three essential parts. Two are usually metal plates separated and insulated by the third part, known as the dielectric. The capacitor’s charge is dependent upon the size and spacing of the conducting plates and the type of insulating or dielectric...

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Using Best Practices to Drive Safety Culture

During the years that I have worked with power companies as a safety and training consultant, I have seen a lot of missed opportunities to create a strong safety culture. Most of us have a keen eye for what the next best practices for compliance may be, and we are good at implementing them, but we don’t always utilize their true potential to drive change, drive culture and really make a difference. Let’s take a look at an example and walk through the missed opportunities to which I am referring. The written job briefing is a well-known best practice that is often used, but do all of yours consist...

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Traffic Safety for Lineworkers

One of the most dangerous tasks lineworkers perform has nothing to do with heights or electricity. Thousands of people die in the United States each year due to traffic accidents that occur in street and highway work zones, and there are always some lineworkers numbered among those fatalities. These accidents are violent, tragic and almost always preventable. The following Tailgate will provide you with information you need to know to keep yourself and your crew safe in work zones. This may sound counterintuitive, but when you are setting up to work next to or perhaps in a street or highway,...

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Trenching and Excavations: Considerations for the Competent Person

There is no blanket requirement that a competent person must be present at a construction job site at all times. The competent person can periodically leave the site. It is the responsibility of the competent person to make inspections necessary to identify situations that could result in hazardous conditions (e.g., possible cave-ins, indications of failure of protective systems or hazardous atmospheres), and to then ensure that corrective measures are taken. The hazards and conditions at each work site determine whether or not a competent person is required to be present at the job site at...

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