Tailgate Safety Topics

Tailgate Safety Topics
Tailgate meetings are a critical communication component of any strong utility safety program. Incident Prevention supplies the utility industry with topics for these important meetings. Each article can be printed out for use in the field or emailed to your crews.
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Steve Hedden, CUSP

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?

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Michael J. Getman, CUSP, MBA

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.”

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John Morton, CUSP

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.

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Tim D. Self, CUSP

Using Best Practices to Drive Safety Culture

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.

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Mike Caro, CUSP

Traffic Safety for Lineworkers

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.

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Charles R. Southerland, CSC, CUSP

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 all times. When trenching and excavation work takes place, the competent person has several important responsibilities. This Tailgate will guide you through some of the critical tasks and issues the competent person faces while striving to maintain a safe trenching environment for workers.

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Gary Coleman, CHST, CSP, CUSP, OHST, STSC

Emergency Action Plans for Remote Locations

According to OSHA 29 CFR 1926.35, employers are required to have an emergency action plan (EAP). For the transmission and distribution (T&D) industry, developing an EAP that enables emergency medical service personnel to quickly respond to an injured individual can pose quite a challenge because T&D work is often performed in remote locations. Therefore, depending on the location of the work, the employer will need to consider many action items when developing an effective EAP.

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David McPeak, CUSP, CET, CHST, CSP, CSSM

Multitasking vs. Switch-Tasking: What’s the Difference?

In computer terms, multitasking is the concurrent operation by one central processing unit of two or more processes. Interestingly enough, this is not accomplished because computers can perform multiple processes at once. They simply give the appearance of multitasking because they can switch between processes thousands of times a second.

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John Boyle

Understanding Step and Touch Potential

Summer storm season is upon us and with summer storms come downed wires, broken poles, and trees and branches that sometimes make contact with energized overhead conductors. This Tailgate covers some of the fundamental hazards of working on or around downed energized conductors, and the unseen hazard of step and touch potential.

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Will Schnyer, CUSP

OSHA Job Briefing Basics

A job briefing – sometimes referred to as a job hazard analysis or task hazard analysis – is a tool at our disposal to assist us with safely performing electric utility work. Before we begin, let’s review 29 CFR 1910.269(c) regarding job briefings so we can lay a foundation for using a job briefing effectively. The section states that the “employer shall ensure that the employee in charge conducts a job briefing with the employees involved before they start each job. The briefing shall cover at least the following subjects: hazards associated with the job, work procedures involved, special precautions, energy source controls, and personal protective equipment requirements.”

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Bighorn Sheep vs. Lineworkers: What’s the Difference?

Lineworkers and bighorn sheep share many similarities. Both spend lots of time at height, often in precarious positions. Both are particularly outfitted for their respective specialties – the sheep by nature, the lineworker by technology – to ascend to great height inaccessible to those lesser equipped. Both possess unique skills and emotional constitutions to function in an environment that would make most people dizzy.

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Charles R. Southerland, CSC, CUSP

The Globally Harmonized System for Classifying and Labeling Chemicals

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is a worldwide system for communicating chemical hazards. It is a common approach to defining and classifying hazards for chemicals, and communicating such information on labels and safety data sheets to employees and users of chemicals. The GHS itself is not a regulation or a standard; the system was founded based on an international recommendation from the United Nations and recently was adopted into OSHA regulations. Additions and changes were made in 29 CFR 1910.1200, commonly known as the Hazard Communication standard or the right-to-know law.

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John Boyle

Working Safely with Chain Saws

The chain saw has become an invaluable tool for lineworkers and arborists who maintain electrical systems, whether it is used for accessing areas for routine maintenance, for tree trimming to ensure circuit reliability or to clear problem areas during storm restoration efforts. The chain saw is also responsible for approximately 30,000 injuries a year. To help you avoid becoming a statistic, this Tailgate covers the basics of chain saw safety.

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Lester Apley, CHST, CUSP

Soil Classification and Excavation Safety

An excavation – the act of creating a man-made cut, cavity, trench or depression in the earth’s surface – is one of the most hazardous activities that we deal with in construction. This Tailgate will shed light on proper soil classification, slope angle calculations and a simple rule that will help your employees make safe excavation decisions.

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Will Schnyer, CUSP

Live-Line Work on the Jersey Shore

Early on October 29, 2012, Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the Eastern Seaboard. She spanned 1,100 miles and was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. Sandy’s impact was devastating, taking the lives of at least 131 people, leaving 7.5 million customers without electricity and causing billions of dollars in damage.

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John Boyle

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.

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John Boyle

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.

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John Boyle

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.

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David McPeak, CUSP, CET, CHST, CSP, CSSM

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?

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Will Schnyer, CUSP

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, grunted, and told me to keep my mouth shut, keep my hands at my side, and have wire cutters and a roll of electrical tape in my pocket at all times.

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