Tag: Tailgate Topics

Managing Cold Stress

Cold weather has returned to most parts of the U.S. To help you make it through yet another winter, this Tailgate focuses on how to protect yourself from cold stress-related illnesses and injuries. How Cold is Too Cold?Four factors contribute to cold stress: cold temperatures, high or cold wind, dampness and cold water. Cold air, water and snow all draw heat from the body, and a cold environment forces the body to work harder to maintain its temperature. Wind chill – the combination of air temperature and wind speed – also has an influence on cold stress. For example, when you’re outside in...

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Care and Maintenance of Climbers

Climbers are the most distinguishable tool of the line trade. They are offered in a variety of materials, including titanium, aluminum and steel. Styles include permanent and removable gaff, adjustable and nonadjustable climbers. This month’s Tailgate addresses the maintenance and care of climbers. Inspection of ClimbersVisually inspect climbers prior to use and at any time damage is suspected. Inspect for these conditions: • Loose, dull, short or improperly sharpened gaffs.• Cracked or chipped gaff points.• Breaks, cracks or fractures on leg irons.• Thin foot plates on leg irons.• Loose adjustable...

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Detecting Shock Hazards at Transmission Line Work Sites

The line crew’s job for the day is to replace a 115-kV wooden H-frame transmission structure. No problem – this crew has done this type of work a number of times in the last few years. Upon arrival at the job site, the bucket truck and crane are arranged according to the job plan. A tailgate safety meeting is conducted, during which the clearance is reviewed and the points of isolation are identified. The work procedure is analyzed, including a discussion of the possible hazards and grounding plan for this work site. It is noted that, although not visible from this work site, this transmission...

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Care of Portable Ladders

A well-maintained ladder that is properly used will provide a safe, substantial working position. This Tailgate discusses the proper practices for safe ladder use. Common sense and good judgment are needed when using a ladder, especially when ideal conditions do not exist at the job site. Inspection and minor maintenance as described below are the responsibilities of each worker who uses ladders to access heights. InspectionOnly use ladders approved by your company. As a rule, ensure your ladder is maintained in good condition at all times and inspected before each use. Make certain that the...

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A Mirror: Your Most Important PPE

Look around your job site. There are hazards including suspended loads, moving equipment, heat, electricity, insects, falling objects, poison oak and traffic. Assuming you work for a company with an effective safety program, they have trained you in hazard identification and mitigation. Your mitigation plan to control some hazards includes PPE. You inspect it, store it properly and wear it as directed. In short, you protect it so it can protect you. You are covered in PPE from head to toe and ready to go to work. Or are you? Have you forgotten the most important PPE you will ever use – a mirror? You...

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The Value of Personal Protective Equipment

Earlier this year I transitioned from an IBEW bargaining unit line foreman to a division maintenance manager. The transition is somewhat hard to fathom because it seems like it was just yesterday that I started my career in the electric utility industry. I can still visualize the day I started as an overhead distribution helper. I reported to the superintendent of the maintenance facility on a Monday morning and received the standard welcome aboard speech. When finished, he walked me out of his office and handed me off to an overhead distribution line crew foreman. The foreman looked at me,...

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Safe Digging – Get the 411 on 811

Over the past 40 years, much attention has been given to the protection of underground facilities and utilities. This month’s Tailgate focuses on working on or in close proximity to those facilities and utilities. Prior to Digging Before digging, a call must be made to your state’s one-call facility. 811 is the national Call Before You Dig phone number designated by the Federal Communications Commission. It was established to eliminate the confusion of multiple numbers because it’s easy to use and remember, and it’s the same for every state. Depending on state law, it takes 48 to...

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Combating Overuse and Overexertion Injuries

This month’s Tailgate focuses on what we can do to combat overuse and overexertion injuries. As every utility employee knows, our work at times is hard, dirty and dangerous. The demands of our job require much physical work. Whether climbing poles or towers, hand-digging holes or moving material from street to rear property, the machines most used and abused are our bodies. All this wear and tear takes its toll, and eventually the body signals overuse through pain and swelling. The types of injuries that can be inflicted often include back pain and problems with joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments,...

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Safe Use of Portable Electric Tools, Cords and Generators

This month’s Tailgate is a review of some basic safety precautions to take when using portable electric tools and equipment. The focus is on prevention of electrical shock, specifically when using 120-volt AC portable electric tools, cords and generators. To simplify the issues, it is best to break down the equipment into the following risk categories: Category 1 – High Risk: This covers portable electric tools and cords used exclusively through temporary wiring. It also includes portable electric tools and cords whose source of power may vary from permanent to temporary – this excludes portable...

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