IBEW Local Union 26
Washington, D.C.

Safety Committee

March is National Ladder Safety Month

Missing that last step and overreaching are the two most cited factors in causes of ladder accidents, according to
a 2016 study by the American Ladder Institute (ALI). These and similar types of accidents can be easily avoided by
adopting the following precautions of basic ladder safety.

Best Practices for Safe Ladder Use:
1. Take Your Time Climbing Down—Don’t Skip Any Steps
Exercise caution whether you are climbing down (or up) a ladder. Always face the ladder when climbing up or down, and be cautious until you’re on the ground.
2. Stay Within Your Reach
When working from a ladder, keep your center of gravity and body between the side rails. If you can’t easily reach the project area once you have ascended the ladder, climb down and move the ladder more closely in alignment.
3. Get the Right Sized Ladder for the Job
One of the factors in getting the right ladder for the job is length. A good rule of thumb when selecting a ladder is to calculate a person’s maximum reach height, which is approximately four feet higher than the height of the ladder.
4. Place Your Ladder on Firm, Level Ground
Be sure to clear trash, construction materials, and other obstructions away from the base and top of the ladder. The base of the ladder should be safely secured to prevent accidental movement. You can also use a ladder with non-slip feet or add outriggers or levelers to the bottom of an extension ladder to increase the footprint.
5. Keep Three Points of Contact When Climbing Up or Down
To keep your balance, always maintain three points of contact—two hands and a foot or two feet and a hand—while climbing up or down a ladder.

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Winter Weather: Plan. Equip. Train.

To prevent injuries, illnesses, and fatalities during winter storms.

Cold Stress- Cold Stress Can be Prevented

It is important for employers to know the wind chill temperature so that they can gauge workers’ exposure risk better and plan how to safely do the work. It is also important to monitor workers’ physical condition during tasks, especially new workers who may not be used to working in the cold, or workers returning after spending some time away from work.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information from the nearest NWS office. It will give information when wind chill conditions reach critical thresholds. A Wind Chill Warning is issued when wind chill temperatures are life threatening. A Wind Chill Advisory is issued when wind chill temperatures are potentially hazardous.

◾Who is affected by environmental cold?
◾What is cold stress?
◾How can cold stress be prevented?
◾Types of cold stress

Read more...

Preparedness

Outdoor work requires proper preparation, especially in severe winter weather conditions. Although OSHA does not have a specific standard that covers working in cold environments, employers have a responsibility to provide workers with employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards, including winter weather related hazards, which are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to them (Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970). Employers should, therefore, train workers on the hazards of the job and safety measures to use, such as engineering controls and safe work practices, that will protect workers' safety and health.

◾Employers Should: ◦Train Workers
    ◦Provide Engineering Controls
    ◦Implement Safe Work Practices
    ◦Consider Protective Clothing that Provides Warmth

◾Dressing Properly for the Cold

◾Safety Tips for Workers

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Hazards/Precautions

In addition to cold stress, there are other winter weather related hazards that workers may be exposed to when performing tasks such as driving in the snow, removing snow from rooftops, and working near downed or damaged power lines.

◾Winter Driving
◾Work Zone Traffic Safety
◾Stranded in a Vehicle
◾Shoveling Snow
◾Using Powered Equipment like Snow Blowers
◾Clearing Snow from Roofs and Working at Heights
◾Preventing Slips on Snow and Ice
◾Repairing Downed or Damaged Power Lines
◾Working Near Downed or Damaged Power Lines
◾Removing Downed Trees

Read more...

National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Trenching & Excavation Safety

OSHA will increase focus on the hazards of open trenches and excavations. Whether they drive by, hear of, see a trench or excavation, or maybe they are performing an inspection on a neighboring site, they are required to observe, inspect, and enforce. Employers are responsible to mitigate the hazards of a potential collapse.

 This NEP supersedes the 1985 Special Emphasis Program due to increased accidents and fatalities associated with trenching and excavations. The NEP reports that 130 fatalities occurred during trenching and excavation activities between 2011 and 2016, but an alarming 104 of those occurred in 2015-2016. OSHA treats every excavation and trenching operation as a collapse and cave-in risk and expects employers to do the same.

 Employers should continue to follow and comply with subpart P of the construction standard. This NEP will offer an outreach program to assist employers in educating their employees, along with that there will be a three month grace period (or 100 days) for employers to train before they start issuing citations.

Train your employees before they perform the work BE PROACTIVE INSTEAD OF REACTIVE!

 After the 90 day grace period Compliance officers will:

 Initiate inspections upon observation of an open trench or excavation, or upon the occurrence of an incident, referral, or complaint.

 Evaluate safety hazards associated with excavations and expand the scope of an inspection, if warranted.

 Provide employers with information regarding existing trenching and excavation hazards.

 Report all investigations, complaints, referrals, and consultations regarding trenching and excavation activities in a national reporting system

 What OSHA is looking for:

 Cave-ins of trench walls or adjacent structures.

 Safe egress to enter and exit excavations.

 Hazards from vehicular traffic.

 Dangerous atmospheres or water hazards.

 Heavy loads, equipment, or tools falling down into a trench.

 Some examples to include in the training:

 Always inspect trenches before entering.

 Ensure a safe form of egress in and out of the trench.

 Keep materials and equipment away from the edges.

 Test for hazardous atmospheres and oxygen deficiencies.

 Inspect trenches at the start of each shift and after weather events.

 Always have a competent person present who is able to recognize the hazards.

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Workplace Safety

Our trade, while rewarding, can be dangerous under certain circumstances. The equipment we work around, the conditions we work in, and the vast number of people we work alongside all pose threats to our safety and health on the job if safe work practices are not a top priority. There is no place for shortcuts in our trade, there is no room for errors and, sadly, a second chance may not be possible after a bad decision is made. Quite simply, safe work practices must become habit, second nature, if we are to ensure that our members are able to return home to their families safe and sound each day. Electricity and electrical products play fundamental roles in how we do business each day. However, if not used or maintained appropriately, they can pose serious risks. Over the last ten years, more than 30,000 workers have been injured in workplace electrical accidents. While electrical hazards are not the leading cause of on-the-job injuries and accidents, they are disproportionately fatal and costly. These injuries not only disrupt the lives of the workers and their families, but also impact the productivity of employers. The good news is that most on-the-job electrocutions and electrical injuries can be prevented by following the jobsite safety rules and policies you are responsible for, your own safety, and that of your co-workers!


To that end and in accordance with the IBEW Constitution, the Local is in the process of forming a Local 26 Safety and Health Committee. The committee will be chaired by Safety Coordinator Paul Henriques. The goals of the committee will be to:

• Investigate and report serious accidents and fatalities
• Cooperate with the International Office on safety and health matters
• Promote safety and health
• Cooperate with safety and health organizations as determined by the Local Union and as directed by the International Office
• Investigate and report to the International Office all serious lost-time accidents and fatalities


The success of the committee will largely depend on participation from our members. It is our goal to have members volunteer to join the committee and commit to meeting regularly. With a vast jurisdiction, we will need members representing Maryland, Virginia, and the District. The committee will work closely with our contractors to promote safety and address any accidents or safety concerns should they present themselves. In short, the committee will:

• Promote and maintain the interest of all involved in health and safety issues
• Assist any Brother or Sister who has been injured in any way possible
• Educate through awareness and training activities focused on our shared responsibility for the prevention of workplace accidents
• Help make health and safety activities an integral part of our everyday planning, operating procedures, culture, work habits, and programs
• Help our members and contractors stay informed of issues, new standards, and research as it pertains to safety and health.
• Help reduce the risk of workplace injuries
• Help our contractors stay informed about the changing federal, state, and local health and safety standards
• Create a more competitive team by making required certifications accessible to all of our members


In addition to the mandate by the IBEW Constitution to have a safety committee, such a committee is also mandated by our inside wireman’s agreement. The agreement states that a safety committee should meet not less than once a year to review OSHA safety standards and how they should be applied within the parameters and jurisdiction of our agreement. Additionally, and of paramount importance, our agreement, in Section 2.09, states that all jobsite accidents must be reported the same day to a job foreman or, in the absence of a foreman, to the employer. The foreman, or the employer as the case may be, will submit a written report to the employer’s office and the local union if requested by the business manager or president of the union. These reports will provide the kind of information that will be reviewed by the safety committee in an effort to better understand the frequency and circumstances of jobsite accidents and how best to prepare the membership to avoid such hazards.


Working towards improved safety for our members benefits our entire Local Union, protecting our members on the job so they can ply their skills in a rewarding career, and setting the IBEW apart from the rest not just in skill but in safety as well. There is no reason anyone should have to choose between their safety and their job; the two should go hand in glove.


If you would like to join the Local 26 Health and Safety Committee, report safety violations, injuries or any concerns with safety, please email the safety committee safety@ibewlocal26.org or contact Brother Henriques at the Union Hall at 301-459-2900. We thank you in advance for your interest in promoting and protecting the safety and health of your fellow Local 26 Brothers and Sisters. We will continue to report on our new Health and Safety Committee as information presents itself.