Utility Worksite Safety Articles

Kate Wade

Effective Fall Protection for Utility Workers

A review of the relevant standards and training that companies need to provide.

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Tower Rescue Pre-planning Pays Off

Tower rescue presents a completely different level of difficulty in planning and methodology. Whether 250-ft communications or transmission towers, they are often necessarily placed in remote areas, and usually inaccessible to conventional paramedic rescue vehicles. While it is each individual employer’s responsibility to make their own determinations on how rescues will be accomplished, the following may help in preplanning for these unusual rescue situations. Pre-planning for rescue in these situations must answer several questions.

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Patrick Davis

Perfect Storm - The Case for AED's

Could deployment of an Automated External Defibrillator prevent sudden cardiac death and save your utility from a perfect legal storm?
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Lee Marchessault, CUSP

Substations: Eliminating the Dangers Within

An integral part of any electric utility infrastructure, substations that are properly designed and maintained by qualified and trained workers are safe and reliable. If a failure occurs, however, it can be catastrophic and even disastrous.
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Ned Smith - AEP Training

Equipotential Grounding at AEP

Equipotential Grounding at AEP America's line workers respond to outages every day. The recent snow and ice storms left customers in the dark for several days. Do you remember the hurricanes of 2005? They destroyed entire electrical systems along the Gulf coast. While working "at home," line workers have a consistent environment of personnel, safety rules, work procedures and construction standards. Protecting themselves from unexpected hazards is part of the everyday job. The hazards are there, but the people they work with, as well as the work procedures they use, are safe and familiar. However, the mutual assistance agreements developed in...
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Roger Buttke

LockOut TagOut

Clearly a key component of the safety program at any facility, and particularly at a complex installation such as a nuclear power station, is its energy control policy. Commonly referred to as "lockout/tagout," it is the plan developed by an employer to protect workers from serious injury or death resulting from the unexpected start-up of machines or equipment or the release of stored energy.
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Alex Marcoux

Digging Out - The Interagency Snow Rescue Task Force

How the Interagency Snow Rescue Task Force was well positioned to meet the challenges of Colorado's recent snowstorms and save many lives.

Inspired by life altering events, Art Seely of Safety One, Inc., has formed a unique team. The Interagency Snow Rescue Task Force (ISRTF) was initially conceived when EMS rescue attempts failed to reach a Denver victim stranded in less than one foot of snow. This was Seely's nightmare while he was a young paramedic in 1975, and it was this event that changed his life.

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Bob Coffey

Cold Weather Prep

Understanding the principles of layering

Anyone who has grown up in any climate that includes cold weather has heard it said that to stay warm you have to layer. This holds true for the bitter cold of winter to moist cold spring evenings.

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Victor L. Petrovic, Ph.D.

Ultimate Protection

More than 2,000 workers are injured yearly in arc-flash incidents. High incident electrical energy traveling through the air results in an arc flash. Electricity jumps across a gap in milliseconds, heating a small quantity of air to temperatures reaching as high as 35,000 degrees F-three-and-a-half times the temperature of the surface of the sun-forming an intense fireball that vaporizes metal and burns everything combustible in the immediate area.

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Hugh Hoagland

Top Five PPE Mistakes

Identifying PPE Mistakes in Electric Arc Flash Programs

After a decade of electric arc testing, incident investigations and incident replications using electric arcs, a few lessons have emerged as critical in assessing a Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) program:

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Seth Skydel

Stay Alert! Work Safe!

Have you ever heard "This is how we've always done it" or "We've never had a problem before" to describe events that have led up to personnel injuries or even death? While this is a common reaction when people are being questioned during an accident investigation, complacency in the workplace is one of the most dangerous states of mind for you or your employees.
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Bob Coffey

Thermal Stress: Managing Heat Stroke & Hypothermia

While many analogies are true for the human body, of particular interest is comparing the body to a chemical reaction. All of our bodily functions are forms of chemistry. Respiration, digestion and excretion all have their fundamentals in chemistry, and one of the factors that affect most chemical reactions is temperature.
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David Dow

CAVE-IN! Increasing Job Site Safety & Reducing Costs

Excavation and trenching is statistically the most hazardous work in the U.S. construction industry. Frequent news stories from around the country attest to the danger. More than 100 workers are killed each year in trench cave-ins alone. Countless others are injured or maimed, physically and psychologically.
Recognizing the need for more effective regulations on excavation safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a revised federal standard in 1990 to establish more clearly the requirements for protecting employees in excavations. The definitive standard greatly increases the flexibility you and your workers have in choosing protective systems.
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Seth Skydel

Lowering the Threshold

Advanced products offer utility safety professionals a more effective method for treating burn injuries with less suffering and help reduce injury-related costs.

Utility safety professionals charged with lowering the risk of serious injury are undoubtedly focused on prevention. Not only does preventing workplace accidents eliminate pain and suffering, it also pays dividends in lower exposure to liability and in reduced Workers' Compensation and related costs.
It is also common practice among leading utility safety experts to provide products in the workplace that will make immediate treatment of injuries as effective as possible. This is especially true when it comes to treating burns, an injury that is perhaps more common than we realize.

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Sherry Dahlke

Cleaning Rubber Goods for Safety

How the right cleaner can extend the life of tools and workers by uncovering hidden damage and restoring high visibility.

A power utility got a big surprise recently when they tested a new, specially formulated rubber goods cleaner on a hot-line jumper. The cleaner revealed potentially hazardous burn and cut damage lurking beneath the grimy, blackened surface. The failed tool was removed from service, averting possible injury.

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Alex Marcoux

Frostbite

A look at an often unheeded danger. Learn more about frostbite and the predisposing factors that significantly increase its likelihood.

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Danny Raines, CUSP

4 Rules to Live By

Looking for an alternative to ground-to-ground and cradle-to-cradle? The method suggested here could be your answer.

Georgia Power Company (GPC) has developed the 4 Cover-up Rules philosophy to train employees rather than requiring a ground-to-ground or cradle-to-cradle glove and/or sleeve rule.

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Patricia Seeley, CPE

Ergonomics: Preventing Injury

Among utility workforces there are many excuses for not practicing sound ergonomics along with safety. The most common excuse is that an aging workforce is naturally more injury prone and there is nothing that can be done about it. Another excuse is: "we've always done it that way."
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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Notes From the Underground

In the May/June 2005 issue of Incident Prevention the cover article, "Why Single-Point Grounding Works," generated a lot of inquires about single-point worksite grounding in underground installations. The most frequently asked question was, "How do we create an equipotential zone for underground worksites?" I received inquiries from California to Maine, North Dakota to Florida. There were so many that IP asked if I could immediately address underground protective grounding for employees in this issue.

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Scott Margolin

The Burning Question

Is 100 percent cotton protective in an electric arc flash? While lab tests say so, real life experiences say no!

It is widely understood that clothing made from non-flame resistant synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, nylon and polyester/cotton blends, are not appropriate when working on or near electrically energized parts and equipment. If these garments are exposed to an electric arc flash, they can ignite, melt and drip, which can lead to severe contact burns to the skin. In fact, the OSHA 1910.269 and NFPA 70E standards prohibit this type of clothing.

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