April 2012

IBEW Encourages Outside Line Workers to
'Stand Down for Safety'
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All eyes will be on safety the week of May 7, as the Electrical Transmission and Distribution Partnership sponsors its first-ever national safety stand down for those in the outside line construction industry to focus on the importance of a safe and healthy workplace.

Made up of outside line contractors, the IBEW and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the partnership was formed in 2004 to reduce the number of on-the-job accidents in the high-voltage electric line construction industry, one of the most dangerous in North America.

During the safety stand down week, workers will take an hour out of their day to participate in workplace safety educational activities at locations across the country.

"We are encouraging locals to partner with contractors to put their undivided attention on safety the week of May 7," says IBEW Safety Department Director Jim Tomaseski, who serves on the partnership's steering committee.

Education is key to increasing safety, says Tomaseski. More than 700 managers and 3,000 workers have gone through the partnership's training program since its formation, which member company Quanta Services, Inc. Chief Executive John Wilson credits with a drop in fatal accidents in the utility construction industry.

Illness and injury rates have been trending downward since 2005, says Wilson, but the work is not done: "Our goal is to continually improve safety numbers."

Today the strategic partnership represents approximately 80 percent of workers in the line construction industry.

"Workers in the electrical transmission and distribution industry are counting on us to work together to ensure that their workplaces are safe," said Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. "With this national electrical safety stand down, this strategic partnership demonstrates the commitment of its participants to ensuring that each worker returns home safe and healthy at the end of every single day."

Go to www.powerlinesafety.org for more information.

Best Safety Practices for
Outside Line Construction Industry

During the week of May 7, outside construction workers, employers and contractors will take an hour out of their day to review the eight best industry practices to ensure safety:

Administrative Controls: Do proper job planning and risk assessment.

Pre-Use Inspection of Rubber Protective Equipment: Inspect all rubber goods before use.

Insulate & Isolate Safety Performance Check: Review all safety procedures to make sure they comply with existing safety standards.

Cradle-to-Cradle Use of Insulating Rubber Gloves and Sleeves: Remind workers to always use proper rubber gloves and sleeves when the job calls for it.

Lock-to-Lock Use of Insulating Rubber Gloves and Sleeves: Institute proper procedures to protect workers in the time just prior to pad-mounted equipment being unlocked until the job is done.

Rubber Insulating PPE for the Live Line Tool Method on Distribution Lines: Review the proper safety steps before working in a live-line situation.

Job Briefings: Review safety plan with crew before job starts.

Qualified Observer: Know the qualifications needed to be a safety observer.