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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.

Making Sure Employees Know They Can Stop Work If Conditions Are Unsafe is Discussed by Safety Committee

District Safety Committee members discussed a variety of topics at their May 9 meeting, including ensuring employees know they can stop a project because of safety concerns and looked at ways to prevent accidents on a metal cutting and bending machine. 

  • Stopping Work for Safety Concerns:  At the Management Team Meeting, there was a discussion about whether every employee felt comfortable stopping work if they saw a safety concern and, if not, what can we do to empower staff to speak up?  The Safety Committee discussed and saw this as two issues: (1) if an employee sees something unsafe would they speak up, and (2) if an employee is asked to do something by their crew leader that they perceive is unsafe, would they speak up.  It was also noted that new staff will be more hesitant to speak up as they want to show that they can get their work done.  Crew leaders and supervisors need to repeatedly reiterate this message to their staff to empower them to make the call if necessary.  It was noted that the crew leader has the most influence with employees to speak up about safety concerns.  Recognizing employees for speaking up and reporting a safety event or stopping work by issuing Spot Awards is another important way to encourage this behavior. The message will be more effective coming from employees immediate coworkers, crew leaders, and supervisors.  This applies to work that is being performed by contractors also.  It was noted that contractors have a different safety culture and it is harder to get them to take our safety culture seriously.  And when employees join the District from the outside, it takes time to believe that they are actually empowered to stop work.  If employees see unsafe behavior, they need to point it out, and if not corrected, shut down the project until the issue has been addressed.

  • Piranha Ironworker Tool Injury at EBMUDThere was an incident at EBMUD recently where a long-time machinist crushed two fingers, including a partial amputation of one finger, while operating this machine.  This incident provides a good reminder about the importance of training and stopping unsafe practices.  The District has two Piranha tools in operation, one in Central and one in East County.  This is supposed to be a one-person operated machine, however, during this accident two people were operating the tool.  The investigation also highlighted that the employee had not received training on how to properly operate this equipment.  In response, EBMUD has locked out all machinist equipment until employees are all fully trained to operate them.  There was inquiry as to whether the District has a checklist to make sure anyone using this type of equipment is fully trained.  There isn’t a checklist, but in Central County the Piranha machine is keyed and staff are not given the key unless they have been trained.  This approach will be explored for East County.  This safety incident also brought up the issue of risk tolerance and highlights what happens when someone does the same thing unsafely many times without incident – until something happens.  

  • Landslide Repairs: Staff are visiting damaged sites in preparation for the FEMA visit.  The District submitted a list of sites eligible for reimbursement.  The plastic sheeting on some of the sites will be pulled off soon to allow the earth to start drying.  A contractor may also be used to do this work given the number of damage locations and limited available resources due to weed mowing activities.

  • Committee Membership:  Several Committee Members will be transitioning off the Committee in July.  There are openings in Distribution Maintenance, Water Operations, Engineering/Planning, Watershed & Lands and Engineering/Construction.  The Committee meets once per month, alternating between the Delta Conference Room and the Antioch Service Center Lunch Room.  If interested, please fill out an interest form and submit it to the Manager of Health and Safety.  Interest forms are due by Friday, May 26.

Tracy Chilson Earns Safety Star For Showing Compassion, Using Skills as First Responder To Vasco Road Accident 

5/15 Tracy Chilson earned a Safety Star Award for actions that show superior commitment to safety. Tracy utilized not only his safety training, but provided first responder care and showed extreme compassion for the victim until paramedics arrived. "This type of safety commitment, and personal behavior, is what sets District employee’s apart from others," said District Safety Committee Chair John Parsons.  "Great job Tracy, well deserved!!" 

Tracy was leaving the Transfer Facility about to turn on Vasco Road, when a female pulled up in the driveway and told him there was a car accident with injuries on Vasco Road. As Tracy pulled out to go North on Vasco Road, Tracy could see the accident on the road and no emergency vehicle were on scene yet. Tracy pulled up to the accident and turned his overhead lights on and positioned his vehicle to block North bound traffic on Vasco Road. Tracy approached the scene and confirmed that 911 had been called. 

Tracy saw a van with the driver slumped over the steering wheel. The driver side door was damaged and Tracy was unable to open the door. Tracy entered the vehicle through the passenger side door and found the person bleeding from the head and unconscious. Tracy checked the vital signs and found the person breathing with a pulse. The subject was left where he was at due to possible head and neck injuries. Tracy held the subject hand and had him squeeze his hand if he could hear him. Tracy attempted to keep the subject conscious until paramedics arrived on scene. The subject was eventually extracted from the vehicle and transported to the hospital by helicopter from the scene. Tracy remained on scene until the subject was transported and the vehicles were removed”

District Safety Committee Looking For New Members

5/11 Each July, we turn over half of our District Safety Committee’s positions. With summer approaching we are currently looking for new members! The committee meets monthly on the second Thursday of the month, alternating locations between Delta conference room and Antioch Service Center. Our next meeting is today at 12:45 p.m. at Antioch Service Center, anyone is welcome to attend the committee meetings.

The District Safety Committee is an integral part of the safety program and helps to drive safety-related projects, improvements, and general safety policy at the District.

We are currently seeking new members for the following workgroup representative positions:

  1. Distribution Maintenance
  2. Water Operations
  3. Engineering/Planning
  4. Watershed & Lands
  5. Engineering/Construction

Interested? Just fill out the attached interest form and send via interoffice mail or email to the Manager of Health and Safety. Interest forms are due by Friday, May 26th. We’d love to have you help shape the District’s safety program!

First PEERS Award of 2017 Goes to John Riccabona

5/9 John Riccabona was recognized by his peers for a great safety catch. John noticed that the new dump trailer did not have a pin to lock the hitch onto the truck, which verifies the hitch is fully connected. John found an appropriate pin and installed it to ensure that the hitch connection could be secured. Great work John. His is the first PEERS Award of the year. 

Safety Committee Looks at Updating Evacuation Responsibilities, Guidelines For Overtime

4/25 District Safety Committee members discussed a variety of topics at their April 13 meeting, including new online training programs, evacuation procedures and guidelines for very long overtime.  

DC Evacuation:  There was an incident recently where unattended food in the microwave burned and set off the fire alarm system at District Center.  Although there was an initial drill when the building was reoccupied, this building evacuation revealed some issues in the evacuation procedure.  One issue is that with the recent vacancies, the District was left with a shortage of Zone Captains – the Health and Safety Manager (MHS) is actively trying to recruit more captains.  There was also confusion about where the new gathering points were located. During the evacuation, there were customers in the building, which also brought about the question as to who is responsible for customers during an evacuation. There will likely be a Zone Captain for customers going forward to make sure nobody comes into the building and guide customers already in the building as to where they need to go. There was also confusion about who should call 911 to provide supplemental information to emergency responders beyond the fire alarm system. The MHS will schedule a meeting for next week with the Zone Captains.

Debris Pick-up Along CanalThere was discussion about the procedure for clearing out hypodermic needles in problem areas where there is a higher concentration of this type of debris.  Field crews have safe containers to hold a few needles, but on at least two occasions, crews have gone out and picked up 30-50 needles at once and did not have a way to contain or dispose of them.  Large containers that can be sent back to the vendor for disposal need to be purchased. An environmental contractor may also be used for this type of clean-up if necessary. 

Target Solutions Training: During the next two weeks, supervisors, managers and admin staff will receive training on the new system now that it has gone live. Epicor is still up and running, but will eventually be discontinued. Everyone is in the system now and has a login, so they can sign in to view their requirements and sign up for classes. Everyone’s login is their email address and the password is “ccwd2015”.  There will be more information sent within the next month.

16-Hour Fatigue Guideline at Morgan Territory:  After the last SC meeting, the Director of Engineering and MHS met with the Director of O&M to discuss the procedure followed during the repair work at Morgan Territory.  The Morgan Territory repair work was considered an emergency, both the County and CCWD declared an emergency, and the fatigue guidelines provide some guidance regarding emergency response situations. The MHS and Director of O&M will be reviewing the fatigue guidelines to determine where modifications or additional clarification is needed.    Better communication regarding the emergency determination as well as transportation for fatigued workers at the end of shift were initial improvements identified following this event. 

Safety Committee Membership: There are several positions that are open this year (Engineering/Planning, Construction, Distribution, Los Vaqueros Watershed, East County Maintenance and Water Operations/Treatment.  Applications will be reviewed at the June Safety Committee meeting.  If interested in becoming a member, staff should complete an interest form and submit it to the MHS by May 26.  If currently a Committee member and do not wish to continue another term, it was requested these members provide assistance recruiting their replacement.

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

Brian Breklemans and Aaron Christensmith Earn STARS For 'Getting Involved' & Possibly Preventing A Disaster 

3/21 Brian Breklemans and Aaron Christensmith earned only the third and fourth safety STARS of the year when they tried to help an unconscious woman in her car.

The woman turned out to be intoxicated. Brian and Aaron made sure she did not drive her car and called police.

The STAR is the District's highest safety honor.

"It is very easy to see someone in this condition and either call 911 and leave, or just walk away to not get involved," said Safety Committee Chair John Parsons.  "In this instance, this woman could have woke up on her own and decided to drive away, potentially killing herself and/or someone else along with her!

"Acts like this do not happen nearly enough, and should never go without being recognized as selfless and responsible acts within our community," said John.

While performing daily routine work Brian and Aaron noticed the woman slumped over the steering wheel of her running vehicle in the Starbucks parking lot on Contra Costa Blvd. in Pleasant Hill. 

After a few minutes, they became concerned that the woman may have a medical issue. The car was still running and she was unconscious. 

Brian and Aaron attempted to wake the woman without success. Aaron contacted 911 and they continued to try to wake the woman. The woman eventually awoke and was incoherent. It became apparent that she was heavily intoxicated.

After discussion with Brian and Aaron, she agreed not to drive, locked her vehicle and left the area. Pleasant Hill Police arrived, took a report and waited to see if the woman would return.

"Having staff ensure that she not drive certainly displays safety concern above and beyond what they would be reasonably expected to exhibit, but shows how they kept safety in the front of their minds as it relates to others who may have been impacted as well," said John.

"Great job gentlemen, you are a shining example of how safety is put to work each and every day no matter where we are!"

Clayton Funk Designs & Builds Effective Barriers To Keep Visitors Safe At Los Vaqueros


On February 24, a child fell into the Interpretive Center Pond  at Los Vaqueros during a school field trip. Apparently the child did not realize there was water below and walked straight through a gap in the railing into the pond. 

The child was quickly pulled from the water by their teacher, soaking wet but unharmed. The gaps were identified as a safety hazard. A temporary repair was put in place immediately. 

Clayton Funk w
as then tasked with completing a permanent modification. He completed the project in an efficient, cost effective manner. His modification created an effective barrier, improved overall stability of the pier, and it looks very nice.! Clay went up and beyond the call of duty by not only solving the immediate problem but also improving the visitor experience, and he earned a SPOT Award. 
IC Pond Railing 2

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 165 days, set in June, 2016 

The record without a "recordable" injury is 128 days, set in May, 2016.
00 days, 00 hours, 00 minutes and 00 seconds without a lost-time incident.

00 days, 00 hours, 00 minutes and 00 seconds without a recordable incident.