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Requesting an Outage

Posted by Adam Luster, Safety Specialist on Aug 2, 2019 4:06:56 PM

We often talk about and acknowledge that craftworkers, company-wide, make thousands of decisions each day, which lead to successful outcomes. It would be impossible to capture every one of these decisions; but, today's blog post is the first of two recent examples.

As we forge ahead with New View Safety and continue to talk about Situational Awareness and Team Situational Awareness and recognizing Weak Signals, I wanted to share these stories, as I believe we are witnessing a change in our safety culture, happening right before our eyes. I think it’s important to mention that, in this blog post and the next, these are two different GFs and crews, working in two different areas, doing two different types of work.

Utility Tree Trimmers Request an Outage

An Indiana-based, two-man lift crew, taking advantage of dry conditions in the area, drove their 55' bucket truck into a backyard to trim a single-phase primary, with a three-wire open secondary underneath. The crew had successfully trimmed most of the line when they approached two soft maple trees that had limbs growing through the secondary wires and through the primary and neutral wires. The crew stopped and accessed how they would safely remove these limbs.

The crew decided it would be best to contact their GF and get a second opinion. The GF arrived and together they discussed options for safely removing these limbs out of the phase wires. The GF and the crew recognized that the limbs were growing approximately 3' to 4' through the secondaries.

Utility Line Clearance Safety on Secondary Wires

They also noted that the limbs had pushed the phase wires out of their normal position, making the secondary wires closer together than normal.

Utility vegetation management human performance

The GF decided that the crew would leave these two trees alone until he could get a third opinion. The GF contacted his Safety Specialist. They decided to look at the trees together, along with a different crew. I arrived with the GF and the other crew (who was nearby). We observed that the limbs were engulfed in the secondary phase wires and the primary and neutral wire.

We also recognized that the limbs had pushed the phase wires out of normal position, causing the secondaries to be within 3" to 4" from touching. Because we brought in another set of eyes, it was also discovered that the neutral wire had 2 to 3 strands of wire broken, leaving only a couple of strands holding it together. This wasn’t seen in the previous assessment of the tree and the hardware.

Tree trimming safety with broken neutral wire strangs

We decided the safest thing to do would be to minimize this risk for ourselves and the utility and an outage was requested. Job Done Right! 

Topics: Job Done Right, creating safety, second opinion, new view safety, team situational awareness, weak signals

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