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Near Miss Report
Nov 28, 2018

Near Miss Reporting Header Photo

Canadian Utility

Near Miss Reporting System

The primary purpose of this archive of near-misses on the job is to serve as a safety awareness tool for our members, as well as others in the industry, to share experiences that could have resulted in a reportable/recordable injury or property damage, but due to either the experience and/or the luck of the individual(s), no harm or damage occurred.

A near-miss or close call is a “second chance” and it is up to the individual who got the second chance to pass the information along so that everybody benefits from it. The next person walking down the same path may not be as fortunate. A near-miss that goes unreported is a wasted experience that could possibly have saved a life someday.

The near-miss could be the result of equipment failure, hardware failure, or unintentionally not following established safety rules.

All near-miss reports will be posted to this web page as received, with only minor editing if required for clarity or to maintain anonymity. It is important to note that the use of company computers for anything other than company business could result in disciplinary action, so we strongly encourage the use of members’ personal computers when submitting anything to the Safety Committee.

The following archive of near-misses on the job has been

compiled by date, with the most recent entries listed first.

Incident title: Fuse Penetrates Workers Body

Brief Description of Incident:

An overhead crew was dispatched to a no power call.  The crew conducted an onsite assessment and noticed a primary fuse was blown as of the result of open wire secondary being wrapped together.  After conducting a tailboard plan and repairing the secondary wires they proceeded to refusing the transformer.

The fuse did not hold and blew immediately. A projectile from the fuse shot down and penetrated the employee’s arm who was belted in below the secondary level.  The employee was transported to hospital, had the projectile surgically removed and is currently doing well.

Investigation Findings:

Old fuse links were sleeved with cardboard

Fuse Link 1

New fuse links are sleeved with plastic or an epoxy coating.

Fuse Link 2

Projectile that penetrated employee

Fuse Link 3

Incident title: Zero Harm Following Proper Procedures

Brief Description of Incident:

A Station Operator closed a Breaker to energize a Panel to restore the panel to service Panel which fed a 600V switchboard.  When the panel was energized, it faulted causing an arc flash and fire. Zero harm as a result of the switching team following the Work Methods, Tailboards, ARC Flash Awareness, and appropriate PPE.

Contributing Causal Factors : The work area where a distribution breaker in the panel had been replaced was checked. A written practice to check/test the whole electrical distribution panel following the completion of the work to ensure excess materials and tools are removed, and other issues have been unintentionally created, needs to be developed. Had checks been completed, such as meggaring the panel, the root cause could possibly have been identified prior to the incident.


Incident title: Defective Spiking Tools

Brief Description of Incident:

The chisel point broke off of a cable spiking tool on only the second or third attempted use of this tool.  As a result the chisel point didn’t penetrate the insulation but marked the cable giving it the appearance that it had been spiked. Had the crew not noticed this they may have begun working on an energized cable.  Further investigation revealed that there have been two additional cases of the spikes on these tools deflecting sideways creating a superficial mark on the cable.

Failure of this critical tool can have significant safety consequences. All failures occurred on the AB Chance Cable Penetration Tool with a date code of 02-09-2015.


Incident title: Hook Failure

Brief Description of Incident:

While loading poles onto a pole trailer the “S” hook butt end pulled through the “Flemish” eye and the pole fell approximately two feet on to the trailer.  The “S” hook remained hooked on the hardline directly above the winch cable spring.  No injuries were sustained.  Upon further investigation it was identified that there had been other “S” hook failures within the company.  Despite the widespread use of this equipment and the high potential for reoccurrence the company failed to communicate this risk to the work crews.

Hook1 Hook2 Hook3

Incident title: Always Use Fall Arrest

Brief Description of Incident:

On some occasions I have observed that some workers do not use fall arrest all the time while working aloft. This can cause temporary or irreparable injury to the worker if they were to fall. Injury or death can be a tragedy to the worker’s family. I remind everyone that it is important to use fall arrest when working aloft.

Incident title: Energized Meter Ring

Brief Description of Incident:

A service was identified as ready to energize. Upon opening up the service entrance the crew found an aluminum meter ring tucked in behind buss bars sitting on top of insulated hot legs feeding customer side of panel. This panel had already been inspected, passed and identified to be connected. Recommend to check panel closely before energizing and don’t rely on the inspector to recognize dangerous situation.

Incident title: Pole Fallover

Brief Description of Incident:

Crew was starting to salvage a multi pole wooden structure, starting at the top of the structure.  While removing the last timber, at an approximate height of 10”, the Apprentice who was belted in, yelled out “I’m going down boys”, and the pole fell over.

There were no immediate injuries.  The pole was hammer checked and visually inspected.  An inspection later identified that the pole had approximately 7inches of hollow rot.

Pole Fallover

Incident title: Bucket Tip Over

Brief Description of Incident:

A Lineman was operating a smaller aerial bucket truck to remove a broken tree limb off of a neutral.  The bucket was extended to its 28’ maximum off of the passenger side of the truck. He was also using a 10’ hotstick for additional reach to pull the limb off of the neutral.  While tugging on the branch the Lineman started to feel the bucket lowering.  He immediately started to lower the bucket and when approximately 5’ above the ground it tipped over.

Although the bucket was set up with under five degrees of slope there had been recent rains and road work that softened the ground which gave away under the passenger side of the truck.  Further investigation identified that the Lineman hadn’t received formalized training on this vehicle and that this type of vehicle wasn’t to be used to tension cables or for pulling or lifting of lines.

Incident title: Primary Wire Across Road

Brief Description of Incident:

Worker was dispatched to a customer no power call at 08:00 and located a broken cutout hanging from the primary cable.   A customer flagged worker down and reported that he had found a downed primary line across the road up ahead.  He had placed material across the road as people had been driving over the line.

The primary line was still energized and laying across the road.  The line was immediately barricaded and de-energized for repairs.  Upon further investigation it was learned that the initial no power call came in at 03:00 and that this energized conductor laid across the road for over 5 hours.

Incident title: Pole Top Split

Brief Description of Incident:

While spreading primary phases, the top four feet of a pole split. The pole split enough to kick the quarter brace lag out of the temporary arm. Two phases to the north were spread to a hot arm. While preparing to move the south phases, the pole top split. The temporary spreader arm flipped with the north side falling down due to the weight until it hit the south phases, which were still clipped in.

We should have inspected the pole better before beginning work and possibly installed a split bolt below temporary arm to prevent the pole from splitting.  Our contributing factors include complacency/overconfidence, unexpected equipment conditions

Incident title: Safe Stopping Distance

Brief Description of Incident:

Worker was travelling on a gravel road between jobsites when he came up to a rail way crossing.  As he started to apply the brakes the vehicle started to slide on the loose gravel.  At this time he also looked left and right and noticed a train was in close proximity to the rail crossing.  The driver quickly made a decision to accelerate to avoid a possible collision.

Contributing factors include: driving too fast for road conditions, complacency, lack of situational awareness.

Safe Stopping Distance

Incident title: Probe Failure during Switching

Brief Description of Incident:

A probe on an elbow that was parked “hot” failed when installed into a pad mounted transformer to pick up load on 6 transformers. A flash came out of the switch module to case ground and relayed 80A fuses at termination pole. The worker at the transformer held the elbow in the clear until we opened up the remaining fuse at the pole.

The broken elbow probe was completely unexpected and had probably taken place at time of installation. This may have been prevented by an inspection at time of install or while switching.

Incident title: Hoist Failure due to Improper Bolts

Brief Description of Incident:

A crew was lifting an underground switch off of their trailer with a digger derrick using 5/8″ bolts screwed into the switch case. While lifting the switch, the hoist locked out with the switch about 1″ above the trailer. The switch dropped to the trailer when one bolt bent and the other flew out of the switch case. The switch and the trailer were not damaged.

5/8″ galvanized bolts were not the proper bolts for lifting and failure of the hoist to lift was an indication load was too heavy. A review committee determined that tap and die should have been used to clean the bolt threads and lifting attachments are being ordered for similar loads.

Incident title: Energized Line Lands on Telephone Line

Brief Description of Incident:

While a line crew was removing a hot line clamp connector on energized #6 solid copper wire, the wire broke, landing on the phone line.

The center phase fuse blew and the wire down remained hot due to backfeed. It was discussed that wire damage cannot always be seen under a hot line tap, but we need to remain aware of the potential for wire to break, especially copper wire.

Contributing factors: Complacency/Overconfidence, unfamiliar with task (training), hazardous attitude toward task, unexpected equipment conditions

Incident title: Look Before You Exit Your Vehicle

Brief Description of Incident:

A worker was dispatched to a trouble call late in the evening.  He pulled up to the address and parked his vehicle on the side of the road with lights and flashers on. While reaching for a flashlight from the back seat a truck drove by at approximately 50 km/hr and struck the driver’s side mirror and kept going without stopping.

At the time of the incident I was checking for the best position for setting up my truck to check the line. I was in a neighborhood and had no cones out yet and there was no oncoming traffic before. The incident happened at 2345 hrs. on an overtime call.

Contributing factors: Unexpected equipment conditions, Traffic Control/Work zone not established

Incident title: Cable Broke on Puller

Brief Description of Incident:

Using UG equipment, we were pulling in 3 phases of primary underground, termination to termination, no boxes in between. Pulled wire all the way through conduit and used digger boom to pull enough wire out of conduit for termination.

Roller was approximately 40′ in the air when the cable on the puller broke at the crimp end by the swivel and the wire fell to the ground. No equipment damage and no one was injured. Lesson learned was inspect cable ends for wear or damage.

Contributing factors: departure from routine, overconfidence/complacency, unexpected equipment conditions

Incident title: Pole Top Falls Over

Brief Description of Incident:

A crew who showed up on a job location to replace a broken guy stub pole. While we were doing our tailboard we heard cracking and several people yelled “look out” and everybody ran away from the pole as the pole top fell to the ground.

The break caused 2 feeders of 12kV to shake violently, but there was no relay. We didn’t know if the vibration from the trucks pulling up caused the pole to fall. We talked about grabbing the pole with a digger during tailboard, but the pole fell before tailboard was over.


Incident title: Watch Your Step

Brief Description of Incident:

I was exiting a bucket truck and my right foot got caught on the step and made me stumble. I almost fell with no control. It’s easy to make a bad step.


Incident title: Hungry Dog Looking for a Meal?

Brief Description of Incident:

While trimming a tree in a back yard the homeowner came out to ask a question and her German Shepard got out and circled one of the crew.  The worker kept calm and was able to keep the dog at bay by placing a branch between him and the dog.

The home owner kept saying dog wouldn’t bite but dog looked and acted like he wanted a taste of him. Home owner finally lured the dog back inside without dog getting a taste of him.


Incident title: Wildlife causes Rain

Brief Description of Incident:

While trimming trees aloft a worker yelled down that it was starting to rain.  Other’s replied “how, there’s not a cloud in the sky.” I stopped to see what he was talking about when I noticed something in the tree. It was a raccoon and it was so scared it was peeing on him! I told him come down before he would get bit.

Incident title: Defective Rubber Gloves

Brief Description of Incident:

In checking a brand new pair of class 2 Rubber Gloves a worker noticed they had a small cut in them. The rubber goods had been shipped from the supplier to the company and then forwarded directly to the employee. In the past year this utility has contracted out the testing and inspection of their rubber goods. This incident is currently being further investigated.

This a reminder to ALWAYS CHECK YOUR GLOVES.

Gloves 1 Gloves 2

Incident title:  Transformer Explosion at Power Plant

Brief Description of Incident:

Personnel at a Power Plant avoided a significant near miss.  At approximately midnight on a Sunday morning a main bank “C” phase transformer, which is in the area just east of the turbine building at an elevation of 85′ exploded.  The blast sent debris into the North side of the Administration Building through several windows as high up as the fifth floor.  Although there is no mention of the safety hazard of this event from plant-wide communication, one employee wrote an AR (Action Request) re: the personnel safety issue and the need to evaluate the impact on personnel safety for those individuals on the North Eastern portion of the Admin Bldg.  Significant injury was avoided solely due to the time of incident.

Incident Title: Improper Termination Causes Flashover

Brief Description of Incident:

A troubleman while performing routine switching for load reasons was operating various overhead switches with permission of the control center. Arriving at a newly installed switch the troubleman proceeded to close the switch which unfortunately caused a large outage. Further investigation revealed that the newly installed switch was not properly terminated resulting in a phase to phase fault de-energizing two stations and many customers. The switch was not damaged and no injuries were reported.

Incident Title: Boom Failure

Brief Description of Incident:
Two lineman suffered severe injuries when the upper boom failed while they were aloft. The truck was a 65' Teco boom that apparently separated just above the knuckle where the fiberglass meets the metal. Both were airlifted to hospital with several broken bones and internal injuries. Reports right now is the injuries are not life threatening.
If you have any of these type bucket trucks, please have them inspected ASAP.
White Bucket Truck

Incident Title: Finger Amputation

Brief Description of Incident

An employee was working on a large station transformer. His work required him to perform several activities on top of the transformer, which was accessed by way of a fixed ladder. Upon finishing his work, the employee started down the ladder, but lost his grip causing him to fall 8 – 9 feet. In attempting to arrest his fall, the employee reached out toward the fins of the transformer. His finger was caught between the fins and a supporting brace. The force of his fall caused his little finger to be pulled off. His co-worker administered first aid and transported him to hospital.

Observation: The employee was rushing to start the next phase of the work and wasn’t paying attention to the fact the ladder was slippery with oil and water.

Ladder (inside)

Incident Title: Vehicle Rollover

Brief Description of Incident:
While proceeding into a left curve in the road, the employee saw a vehicle coming towards him in the approaching lane. He realized he was crowding the center line and corrected to allow the oncoming vehicle to pass safely. Due to the sand and gravel on the edge of the pavement the van started to lose control. The employee overcorrected trying to keep the van on the road. The van then swung sideways, skidding across the roadway. When the passenger side wheels contacted the gravel on the opposite edge of the road the van tipped over landing on its side in the ditch facing the opposite direction.
• Reduce speed for conditions - Monitor the conditions of the road ahead and adjust speed accordingly.
• Don’t Rush! Schedule enough time to perform all our tasks safely must not be forgotten or over looked. We all have heavy workloads and many times jobs may not go exactly as planned. If tasks cannot be completed as planned in the time allowed we need to reassess and make changes as necessary.

Incident Title: Dislocated Ring Finger and Laceration on Little Finger

Brief Description of Incident:

Employee to lift the drill with right hand to inspect it closer supporting the drill at the chuck with his left hand. With finger still on the trigger the drill engaged and the chuck caught on his glove twisting his hand. He was transported to Hospital, after the incident.

• Portable hand tools should be de-energized before inspection and/or trouble shooting.
• Any defective power tool shall be removed from service immediately.

Incident Title: Chainsaw laceration

Brief Description of Incident:

An Employee was making the last cut to remove a tree branch that was against a conductor and stuck in some brush. He was back-cutting the branch when it came towards him leaving little time to react. Holding the chainsaw in his left hand, he used his right hand to move the branch out of the way. When pushing the branch to his left he made contact with the chain. It cut through his leather glove and cut him on the base of the middle finger.
• The chainsaw was at idle and the hand brake was not set.
• All staff required to operate chainsaws should receive training on chainsaw safety.

Lacerated Finger

Incident Title: Setting pole in ungrounded line
Brief Description of Incident:

Crew set a pole a few feet away from an existing pole that was required to be replaced. No temporary protective grounds (TPG’s) were installed and methods to set poles in energized lines were also not followed.

A Safety Officer arrived on site before the pole was changed over and performed a worksite assessment. The Safety Officer highlighted that in addition to the proposed grounds for the change-over, that there was a requirement for equipotential bonding. The crew installed EP bonding and completed to change over the new pole without incident.

Incident Title: Scissor lift Snagged Cable
Brief Description of Incident:

While an employee was lowering a scissor lift a cable wire became lodged under the scissor lifts pivot point, causing the scissor lift to be pulled upwards and move off the level ground. The scissor lifts automatic safety shutdown activated and shut the unit down.
• Employees working with overhead equipment need to be aware of potential hazards from above.
• Prior to using a scissor lift employees must receive proper training and review the safe operating guide.

Scissor Lift with Men

Incident Title: Electric drill twisting resulting in broken right hand
Brief Description of Incident:

An employee was drilling a hole into a steel beam approximately 7 feet above the ground, while standing on an 8 foot step ladder. As the employee was drilling, the bit caught on the steel, twisting the drill injuring his right hand.

• Hazard identification needs to be part of all jobs.
• Employees should review the importance of proper body mechanics and positioning at all times.

Incident Title: Limits of Approach
Brief Description of Incident:
Scaffolding contractor erected scaffolding at a hotel within 14 inches of primary conductor. The scaffolding contractor noticed how close the scaffolding was and asked a local electrician if he was too close. The electrician noted that the scaffolding was within LOA and immediately contacted the local utility crew who advised the electrical contractor to stay away from the area and keep the public away until crew could arrive at site. There was no 30M33 in place.

Immediate Corrective Actions Taken:
Local electrician contacted crew and kept the public and scaffolding crew away from the site. Utility crew arrived at scene cordoned off area, contacted local manager and crew isolated section of line, took measurements to the scaffolding. Provincial workplace safety was contacted and arrived at site.

Incident Title: Contractor Near Miss - Work Zone Clearance

Brief Description of Incident:

Sub-contractor arrived on site and did not contact utility construction representative on site. Sub-contractor proceeded to contact system control directly for a clearance on a work zone. Utility construction representative became aware of the situation, intervened and proceeded to get the sub-contractor to stand down -advising the sub-contractor to approach the existing clearance holder before proceeding. Existing clearance holder was contacted and path forward established.

Immediate Corrective Actions Taken:

System Control dispatched safety advocate to site and discussion ensued with current clearance holder. Sub-Contractor returned their clearance, and worked under protection extension of existing clearance holder. Protection extension given by existing clearance holder to sub-contractor.

Employee short circuits secondary wire causing flash burn

Brief Description of Incident:
While disconnecting an overhead quad service the employee got his cutter between an energized hot Leg and neutral causing an arc flash to face and neck. Employee was wearing safety glasses and low voltage gloves. This is an initial incident report only.

Immediate Corrective Actions Taken:
Employee drove himself to St. Paul’s hospital and received medical aid. Incident was reported to Standby manager. Site was insured safe. Employee was driven home by co-worker. Incident was reported.

Incident Title: Delivery Truck Operator without PPE

Brief Description of Incident:

Delivery truck operator exited his cab and proceeded to remove straps from load without respecting clearly posted PPE sign and requirements.

Incident Title: Worker Sore Back Due to Rough Road

Brief Description of Incident:
Employee was travelling on Lake Road, and the road was in unsatisfactory condition - full of large ruts and potholes. Workers proceeded carefully but the truck bottomed out the transfer case several times. This resulted in violent bouncing of workers within the cab. No initial pain was felt but after a few hours on the drive back to the office worker complained of a sore back and tightness in the hips. Similar dolorous effects were felt in the neck and shoulders.

Immediate Corrective Actions Taken:

Worker took Advil and went home after work to rest and ice the affected areas.

A near miss was recorded from a line crew while lifting a 750 lb. 50kva transformer. The crew was in the process of pulling the transformer from the pole using a steel Wilson gin. All of the work was being done by a journeyman climber on the pole. The crew had covered the 12kV primary above while making the lift when the winch line became very taut. The operator reported 1000 lbs. of pressure on the capstan pressure gauge. After several attempts to work the transformer from the pole the transformer came loose and was ejected from the pole an estimated 18”. The transformer remained attached to the fiber sling and winch line but the violent action shook the pole top and primary. The rubber cover prevented the equipment from coming in contact with the primary. The crew found that the transformer hanger had been flattened out preventing it from easily being lifted from the pole.

A crew working maintenance on a 12kV UG radial line made phase to ground contact on a transformer case. A journeyman lineman in the process of doing a voltage test was pulling a capacitive test cap on an energized dead break elbow when the elbow became dislodged from the transformer bushing and fell onto the case of the transformer. The phase to ground contact caused a large arc flash and blew a single fuse at the termination pole. The remaining fuse caused a primary back feed which kept the dead break elbow energized and the arc flash sustained. There were no injuries to the crew and an examination of the incident revealed that there were no spring bails installed on the elbow to keep it secured to the transformer bushing.

While working on a scheduled outage a crew was performing maintenance on a UG 3 transformer radial run. The crew had first planned to de-energize the whole radial circuit but changed their minds and decided to keep the first transformer in the run energized. Switching was performed and the isolated cable was grounded. After the work was completed grounds were removed and two journeymen were positioned at the first transformer while the other crew members went to the termination pole to de-energize the line. For unknown reasons and against instructions the journeymen at the transformer removed the bushing dummy cap and plugged the energized cable into transformer. This caused a fuse to blow at the fuse pole. No injuries or damage to equipment occurred but the crew foreman reported it as a near miss because if under different circumstances the linemen did not follow procedures the result could have been catastrophic. The linemen at the transformer admitted that they did not understand the instructions.

Primary Splice Failure: Contract crew was energizing a new run of primary cable in a man hole. When the foreman put the switch in the closed position to take rotation at the 3 pot bank he noticed he had no voltage. He then returned to the switch and noticed it was not closed all the way. He the reclosed the switch at this time it caused a fire in the man hole at the cable. After reviewing the man hole we discovered a failed primary splice. Upon further review the cable was 25kv to 15kv where the straight splice failed. The splice used was a 25 kv straight splice. This is the incorrect splice for this cable and caused a .09’’ difference on the 15kv side of the cable causing a path to ground and the cable to slow burn itself in the clear and not a complete fault. Upon review of the other work locations adjacent to this manhole three additional splices of the same nature where located and replaced.

Energized Transmission Grounding Incident: It was reported to committee that a crew mistakenly applied personal protective grounds to an energized 69kV transmission line. According to the report the crew had tested the line de-energized with a Hastings voltage tester and applied the grounds causing the 69kV relay. No injuries were reported and the incident has been investigated and the supervisor involved. The crew claimed that the voltage tester failed to tone” that the line was energized causing them to mistakenly conclude that the line was de-energized.

Electrical Contact: A crew was installing a new 40 ft pole, and in-line anchor replacing a 30ft pole to accommodate the addition of a system neutral. While installing the new anchor, the helix broke off when it contacted something hard in the ground. The Operator lifted the anchor assembly out of the existing hole with the digger boom to where his co-worker grabbed the assembly. This was done to protect from an uncontrolled swing.

The Operator then released the “locks” on the anchor wrench (which releases the anchor rod from the drive bar to install a new helix). While holding the anchor rod in his right hand, the co-worker called for another worker to bring an adjustable wrench so he could remove the broken piece of the helix. At this point the Operator, focusing on his co-worker, raised the boom of the digger to improve the working height for the co-worker while he changed the helix. This is when the boom contacted the energized line. The limits of approach were maintained while setting the auger in place and initially setting the anchor. However, the crew failed to maintain their limits of approach while attempting to replace the broken helix. The crew needed to maintain 10ft of clearance to the energized line with the uninsulated boom of the digger. No Safety Watcher was provided for while operating the digger within limits of approach.

Metal Piece in Chipper: Crew was removing a oak tree and while they were chipping there was a big cracking sound in the chipper. The crew turned off the chipper and looked inside and they found a piece of metal in the chipper. The chipper was a self -fed Vermeer chipper. The chipper blades were torn up and destroyed. It is not known where the metal came from but must have been in the wood. No one was hurt. I t is best to look at what is being fed in but if the metal is grown into the wood someone would not see it.

Runaway Truck: One day a crew was working on a steep hill and they wanted to leave the chipper disconnected from the truck so they could go work over the hill. The foreman told the climber to disconnect the chipper and the foreman set the hand brake but forgot to put the truck in a gear and left it in neutral. The climber put the chock blocks on the chipper and started lifting the chipper hitch. He felt the chipper leg getting hard to lift and asked the foreman to go help him. When they were both lifting they heard a pop sound and noticed the truck starting to go down the hill. The foreman started running to catch the truck and press the brake. He was lucky he got in the truck and stopped it.

Hit in Face With Pole Pruner:

Employee hit his nose with pole pruner. Trimmer was trying to reach a high limb with his pole pruner. The limb was too thick to cut with one hand on the pull rope and so he pulled the rope with both hands. The pruner handle struck the trimmer in the face by the nose. A little closer and the handle may have hit him in the eye. He was not injured but it was a close call. Don’t loose control of the pruner, keep one hand on the handle and do not cut a limb too big for the pruner.

Fall from Ladder:

Worker was installing a triplex service to a new home. The Powerline Journeyman (PLJ) set up the ladder on the gable end of the house, next to the mast, because the roof was snow packed and slippery at the eaves trough. He climbed the ladder onto the roof without incident and then tied in with his pole strap to the service mast and completed making the connections without incident.
After completing connections, PLJ disconnected his pole strap from the mast and stepped onto the ladder, from the side of the ladder closest to the eaves trough. Both his hands and feet were in contact with ladder rungs. At this point, the ladder footings slipped out and the ladder slid towards the ground. He instinctively reached for the mast but could not hold on to it once he grabbed it. He then fell approximately 11 ft to the ground with the ladder. Ensure that when your setting up a ladder that it is on even ground and that you don’t set up the ladder outside the 4:1 ratio.

Contact with Electricity:

An Underground crew was replacing two aging 4/0 - 5KV underground feeders at a utility owned station. The Crew went through their normal practice of going over a Job Plan and having a “tailboard conference”, with the crew and the Safety Watcher assigned to the project. Discussions were held about the job that was to be done, the setup, all hazards/barriers and that blocking would be placed on the energized exposed underground cables. Once the drill rods were pushed to the desired length, the two new conductors were attached to a reaming head by two kallum grips and a metal bridle. Once tension was applied, the two conductors made contact with an energized cable. The Safety Watcher stopped the work and told the backhoe operator to release the tension at which point the energized cable faulted to ground. During the pre-job meetings prior to the crew’s arrival, some details of the project were discussed; however detailed design drawings, clearances, limits of approach, and expectations between both crews were lacking. Job methods changed during the pull and weren’t communication to all work groups. Good communication must exist between all crews on a job site and all hazards of the job need to be identified before any work begins. The workers from the different work locations failed to discuss the need to change how the task was to be safely performed.

Cell Phone for Flashlight:

There were contractor crews working during a storm that did not have flash lights for their hardhats. Instead of flashlights at night they were using cell phones that had flashlights to shine on the work. The climber held a cell phone for his co-worker to cut a tree. The Utility was not happy to see that happening with the contractor crew.

Working Without Signs or Cones:

Saw a crew working without signs or cones on the jobsite. The crew used the excuse that they were trying to keep production up. Not a good excuse.

Unsafe Tools and Equipment:

We went to work on power company property and while we were doing the work we were stopped by a company safety inspector. Our equipment was checked and we were shut down because our equipment was not up to par. Our fire extinguisher didn’t have labels, our hardhats didn’t have lanyards. We were told any equipment was to have a lanyard when in the air. The lanyard, body belt and saddle did not have a label you could read and we were told we weren’t supposed to use it. They also told us we didn’t have a spill kit. The inspector told us the inspection was for our safety and we could not do the work until everything was right.

Equipment Failure:

On Feb. 24, 2014 an Outside Line contractor using a contract helicopter performing external human load work had an inadvertent hook release while a lineman was being transported on the long line, dropping him into the back-up secondary device (Belly band). There were no injuries and the pilot returned the lineman and the aircraft to the ground safely. An investigation into the release was conducted and the initial report indicated that the release was due to a jam nut on the manual hook release loosened, allowing the release cable to come out of adjustment, resulting in the hook release. Further investigation into the release revealed the slack in the cable used on this type of manual release was slightly long to allow for side operations and as a result allowed the swedged fitting on the end of the cable to protrude past the cradling point for the fitting. If the end of the swedge fitting rest on the outside of the contact point it removes all free play in the cable and therefore there is no free play in the release mechanism which would allow the hook to open with very little effort, such as strain on the cable. Inspection of the cable is also very important due to the fact that the cable is a wearable item and must be replaced at any sign of damage, such as broken strands or kinks in the cable.

Unsafe operation of Equipment:

A contract crew was working on a helicopter set pole. The pilot, with a contract helicopter company, came in rapidly with the pole swinging violently. The crew said that they tried repeatedly to wave the pilot off, but he kept on. The result was that he broke the pole top off of the old pole to be changed out, severely damaged both phases of 4 ACSR, missed by inches a contract crew member, who dove to the ground for cover fearing the pilot would release his load and nearly cross phased the primary down the hill beyond the open point. The pilot denies it was his fault and stated that it was the crew who guided him in. The crew was shook up but went on with their work. The contract crew is currently contacting other vendors, and if they cannot find someone else to fly, they said they will cancel the next day’s helicopter work.

Wrong Transformers Supplied:

Below is another case where the wrong voltage transformer was called for and delivered. 7200/12000Y volt transformers instead of 12000 delta were called for on the job instruction and delivered. I say another case as this happened last year and also a few weeks ago to a General Construction crew. An incident was avoided in the circumstance below due to the crew following proper checking and verification procedures. Please make your crews aware to watch out for this:
A heads up. The transformers delivered for Schindler 1114 were the wrong primary voltage. The line is 12kv delta and we received 7.2/12Y pots. The crew followed proper procedures in testing voltage and rotation and caught the error before energizing the secondaries. We were able to wire the closed bank to provide good customer voltage. The inspector is bringing out the two transformers for the open bank. Crew instructions actually call for the incorrect transformers. A good reminder to always check voltage before connecting your secondaries.

Cargo Hook Failure:

A contract crew using long line operations had a cargo hook on the helicopter they were using have an un-commanded release while transporting human load via long-line operations resulting in the contract lineman dropping into the secondary system (Belly Strap) as designed. No injuries were reported and the helicopter was removed from the property until a full investigation of the incident has been performed and corrective measures have been taken.

Anchor failure:

The crew was setting a new pole. When pulling on the guy wire to transfer it to the new pole, the anchor broke and pulled out of the ground. The anchor had apparently penciled and grown weak over time. When the anchor gave way, the old pole swung toward the new pole. No equipment was damaged and no employees were hurt. It appears the anchor rod penciled over time and grew weak. When the crew pulled on the guy wire to transfer it to the new pole, it broke just beneath the surface of the ground. In order to prevent a recurrence, it is recommend that crews dig a few inches below the surface of the ground around each anchor rod to inspect for signs of decay prior to changing strain.

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IBEW Local 2034
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Winnipeg, MB R3J 0H9 CANADA

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