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Safety Committee Discuses Silica Training, Improved Access to Canal Sled

The District Safety Committee met on Thursday, Sept. 14.  Here is a short list of some of the topics they discussed: 

Silica Exposure Training: There are currently 6-8 sessions scheduled. The second training was conducted this morning. Lots of good comments and suggestions have come out of these training sessions so far. One item that was brought up was the ATVs and what can be done to minimize dust exposure. This exposure plan will be a work in progress. As time passes, there will be additional risks discovered and improvements made. There are more risk exposures in East County. One of the Committee members asked about the weed blasters – this will be further evaluated. The procedure will likely be modified to add additional risk criteria based on the location of the work facility. An industrial hygienist is conducting the review of exposures, as required by OSHA. There will be additional backpack blower testing conducted next week. There was inquiry as to whether the District shares testing data with other agencies, through the new WaterXchange platform. It was noted that we do share information with other agencies through agency meetings with the Manager of Health and Safety, although WaterXchange will be a good resource once it is used more broadly.

Canal Sled Access: There has been discussion about installing additional gates along the Canal to provide staff access to the sleds that are used during cleaning. Staff have to climb over fences to access the sleds, which poses safety hazards. Management is evaluating whether to do this, but would like to explore all options before making a decision whether to install the gates as maintenance of the gates is a concern. During a meeting to discuss options, staff suggested exploring the possibility of using a remote controlled magnetized apparatus that attaches to a crane, which would then pull the sleds out of the water. There may be an issue with rigging, but some modifications may be made to make this work. Staff will meet to further discuss this option.

MSEO Pilot Testing: Standard practice is to have two MSEOs at construction work sites, and they would drive together in one truck to the site. The second MSEO would act as the spotter for the driver. A 30-day trial was conducted, in which the second MSEO drove in a separate vehicle to the site. The premise of this trial was provide a spotter at all times in a separate vehicle. This practice raised concerns about the increased risk of back-up accidents, as well as having more vehicles on the road, and going in and out of the yard and work sites. Now that the trial is over, we are back to two driving in one truck. It was noted that at times even though there are two, the second MSEO doesn’t always get out of the truck to spot the driver while backing up – which defeats the purpose of having the second one. This procedure is written in the Safe Practices Handbook and staff are encouraged to read through it for re-orientation. There will likely be additional training provided for this.

Injury at Traveling Screen: There was an incident recently where a Maintenance Crew Leader was working on pulling weeds out of the Canal between Check 7 and 8. He slipped and fell and injured his rib. Modifications have been made to the troughs since the accident, such as adding padding, foam, rubber mats and plastic caps. The spoils are being picked up twice a week instead of once, and Maintenance is looking into additional modifications. Engineering is evaluating whether to move the travelling screen to check 7 due to availability of power at this site, improvements will also include installation of a conveyor belt. Managing the weeds would make this process much easier and safer.

WRF Participatory Study Update: This committee is looking into options to improve the ergonomic safety of different high-risk tasks in the field. One of these tasks is weed raking. There was a vendor that came to one of their meetings to present an apparatus that could potentially help with weed control in the Canal using UV light. A video was shown where the apparatus floats slowly over the water and the light kills the weeds until they disintegrate into powder. This looks like a promising option and staff will evaluate it further. The video was shown at today’s O&M meeting.

The District meets again on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 12:45 p.m. at the Antioch Service Center.

Pat McConnell Acts Quickly, Earns STAR Award For Quick Action In Rescuing Driver in Canal

9/18 Pat McConnell earned a STAR award for helping a driver whose car had crashed into the Contra Costa Canal in Antioch. It is the ninth STAR award presented this year.

Pat was first on the scene. He proceeded down the steep embankment to the canal with all appropriate PPE and tools to open the liner fence along the canal and assist the driver of the car.

The car was full of water and Pat was able to get to the driver and keep eye contact with him and stay calm. They could hear the sirens coming down the street.

The driver was in his early 20’s and scared.

Pat was equipped with a throw bag and other tools if the car were to shift or change direction.

The driver was in his early 20’s and scared. 

The driver was rescued from the car by the Fire Dept. unharmed.

This is not the first time Pat has responded to a car in the canal incident. Every time he does, Pat is calm, prepared, plays a huge roll in the retrieval and handles it like a pro.
"The District takes great pride in safety, said Safety Committee President Mary Dunn. "Pat is a prime example of what we strive for. Thank you for your courageous act of safety and concern. It is recognized and appreciated." 

Slip Injures Employee at Traveling Screen 

9/12 An employee injured his chest at the traveling screen near Clyde Friday after slipping on a stainless steel trough while carrying tools. The employee did not need to miss work. This reset the recordable injury clock after 44 days.

The traveling screen automatically cleans moss and weeds out of the canal.

This is the 13th recordable injury of the year, the most at CCWD since 2014.

Three Safety Spots, One STAR Awarded For Ensuring Safety

8/30 One Safety STAR - the District's highest safety honor - and three Safety SPOTs have been awarded to employees for making sure employees stayed safe.

Reggie Harris was awarded the STAR on Aug. 28 for making a suggestion regarding safety training of On Call Supervisors. .

Cooper Reaves, Matthew Novak and Margaret Ramirez were awared Safety Spots for making sure other employees were safe.

John Parsons Temporarily Replaces Sarah Bogner as Manager of Health & Safety

5/22 Manager of Healthy & Safety Sarah Bogner, has gone out on maternity leave,and will be returning in mid-October. During her time off the same level of safety support will continue, just with some different faces.

John Parsons, regularly the Water Treatment Supervisor at Randall-Bold, is the Acting Manager of Health and Safety. He is the point of contact for all safety-related items (anything that you would normally call or email Sarah about). John can be reached at

He will be sitting in Sarah’s office most of the time and can be reached at the same numbers. Cell: (925) 525-2632, Office: (925) 688-8185.

Additionally, we will have a safety consultant, Richard DeBusk, from Du-All Safety, available to provide any needed technical safety support. All requests or questions for Richard should still go through John.

Updated 'Contractors' Safe Practices Handbook' Available Now Online

3/30 If you work with contractors, they and their employees need to be familiar with the updated "Contractor/Consultant Safe Practices Handbook". It's now available online. Click on the link below, or find it in this website's Safety Library.

Read the Handbook

Contracators Safe Practices Handbook-1

2016-2017 Safe Practices Handbook Available Online

10/7 The updated 2016-201 Safe Practices Handbook is now available online.

Within its 47 pages are everything from Safety Committee member names and important phone lists, to guidance on operating equipment and working safely in the office.   Take a look! 
Year Number of Lost Time injuries Number of Recordable Injuries (lost time and non-lost time
The record without a "lost time" injury is 263 days, set in June 2017 

The record without a "recordable" injury is 128 days, set in May 2016.