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Western conducts field trials on new fall protection equipment, processes

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​Starting April 1, 2015, Western linemen, electricians and communication technicians will be required to have 100 percent fall protection and fall arrest when working 4 feet above a lower level.

Since the release of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration new requirements in early 2014, Western’s Fall Protection Committee has been scouring the world for best practices, techniques and equipment that will help employees meet the new rules.

The committee members from all four of Western’s geographic regions came together, Aug. 11-15, 2014 at the Elverta Maintenance facility in California to test the information and processes they have discovered to better protect workers from falls. They were joined by representatives from Bonneville Power Administration, Pacific Gas and Electric, Sacramento Municipal Utility District and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 1245. 

The group tested several products and climbing methods to meet the new requirements, including double belt ascent, shepherd’s hook, vertical lifeline ascent, horizontal lifeline, rappelling, rope access and drones.

Active participation from the Fall Protection Committee and craft personnel has demonstrated the commitment and dedication of Western’s employees have to reduce exposure to a potential fall.

Headquarters-based Safety and Occupational Health Manager Patrick Nies reported, “This was another successful endeavor and resulted in numerous resolutions to pending fall protection issues. Western’s four regional fall protection coordinators and several trainers took the lead and did an excellent job.”

See more of the field trials at Flickr.

Electronic Equipment Craftsmen Robert Holihan and Jeff Black perform a tower leg rescue.(Photo by Joel Carillo)

Page Last Updated: 7/14/2015 6:56 AM