Tag: Worksite Safety

Minimum Approach Distances: What’s Required?

Let’s kick off this article with a definition of what “MAD” means in the utility sector – and it does not mean that we’re upset with you. The word is actually an acronym that stands for minimum approach distance, which is the calculated safe working distance that provides worker protection when working on or in the vicinity of energized lines and equipment.

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Fire Extinguisher Use and Safety for Utility Workers

Officer George Brentar, a 22-year veteran of the Euclid, Ohio, police force, died October 10, 2007, when his car skidded into a pole and caught fire on an entrance ramp to Interstate 90. Officer Brentar had spotted a speeding motorist and was attempting to catch up to the vehicle when his car hydroplaned. The right rear end hit a pole and the car immediately burst into flames, with Officer Brentar trapped inside.

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Arc Rating Standards for Personal Protective Equipment

Employees who interact with electrical equipment and electrical installations may be exposed to electrical shock and arc flash hazards. A previous two-part article titled “Arc Flash Considerations for Utility and Construction Activities” (see https://incident-prevention.com/blog/arc-flash-considerations-for-utility-and-construction-activities and https://incident-prevention.com/blog/arc-flash-considerations-for-utility-and-construction-activities-part-ii) discussed the electrical hazard identification and risk assessment. If the employer has taken steps to reduce the risk of injury or death...

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Why are Job Briefings and Risk Assessments Important?

When you hear the term “job briefing,” what comes to mind? Perhaps a meeting, a form to fill out or maybe even a complete waste of time? How we perceive job briefings has a huge impact on how we complete them. Per OSHA, job briefings are required to be completed before each job; however, for us to perform them effectively, it is critical that we understand the intent behind that requirement. What Needs to be Covered? A job briefing is intended to be used as part of the planning process to accomplish a job both safely and successfully. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269(c)(2) requires that the following topics...

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What are OSHA’s Training Requirements?

In our first article in this series (see https://incident-prevention.com/blog/when-osha-electric-power-safety-standards-apply), we discussed how to apply OSHA’s electric power standards. This article will review OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 and 1926 Subpart V training requirements relating to qualified and unqualified employees. To determine training requirements, you must first ask the question, are my employees exposed to electric power system hazards? If so, the training portion of the OSHA electric power standards should apply. OSHA requires all employees to be trained in the safety-related work...

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Are You Using Your Five Senses to Stay Safe?

All of us have experienced mishaps in our daily lives, both at home and at work. An accident typically is defined as an unwanted incident occurring unexpectedly and unintentionally, usually resulting in damage or injury. In our work lives, proper training develops our mindset as well as our knowledge. Increasing our knowledge allows us to identify known hazards and to recognize unknown hazards. Training value is understood and incorporated into workplace law. OSHA’s General Duty Clause requires employers to furnish to each of their employees a workplace that is free from recognized hazards...

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I’ve Got Your Back: Lessons in Socio-Biomimicry

Creating a safety mindset and a culture of caring can be facilitated using the process of socio-biomimicry. Simply put, biomimicry is a way to solve engineering and other problems by looking to nature. The term was popularized in 1997 by Janine M. Benyus in her book, “Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature.” Nature can also be used to inspire a fresh look at social systems and how other life groups manage safety. I developed the Safe-ari process of socio-biomimicry to solve a client’s problem of fading situational awareness. Fourteen learning points on situational awareness were distilled...

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Safety Success During an Insulating Boom Flashover

Salt River Project, or SRP, is a power utility located and operated in the greater Phoenix area. Created as part of the federal Reclamation Act of 1902, it was originally established to help secure a reliable water source to the desert valley. Today, SRP not only provides reliable water – it also supplies reliable power to over 1 million customers, operating and maintaining all of its own assets, including generation, transmission and distribution. The utility has a successful 500-kV barehand/live-line program that dates back to the late 1970s. In the fall of 2018, SRP experienced a boom flashover...

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Best Practices for Using Your Aerial Device Jib to Handle Transformers

When it comes to lifting transformers, aerial devices equipped with jibs are one of the handiest tools available to lineworkers. Compared to old methods for transformer replacement – which required workers to climb the pole and use a pulley to manually lift the transformer – using a jib is safer, easier and more productive. Most aerial devices sold to companies in the utility industry are equipped with jibs. However, not all jibs are the same, and the user should evaluate the type of work to be done when choosing the equipment for the job. Consider whether the tasks are construction or maintenance...

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