2014 SPOT Recognition

Protected Others After Finding Acid Leak
December 26, 2015
Although the Bollman Water Treatment Plant was shut down and all chemical systems isolated, Kalle Vaananen took the initiative to check the plant areas. He noticed an uncontrollable leak had developed on the sulfuric acid bulk storage tank which contained 6,200 gallons of 94% concentration sulfuric acid. He promptly placed a barrel to capture the leaking acid and put “Danger” tape at both entrances to the containment area to warn others of the hazardous situation. His actions prevented others from unknowingly entering the area and coming in contact with the extremely hazardous chemical.

Modified Trailer Ramp to Reduce Risk of Back Injury
December 18, 2014
Jeff Chavez, Chris Geer, Nick Noble, Shawn Lewis worked together to modify a trailer ramp to make it more ergonomic. The trailer ramp is attached to an automated lifting device, lessening the risk of a back injury.

Found Missing Step in Energy Control Procedure
December 18, 2014
While Jan Polewaczyk. was reviewing an energy control procedure (ECP) form, he found that a critical energy isolation step was missing. He ensured the ECP listed the correct steps, possibly saving a maintenance worker from injury.

Stopped Potential Head On Collision
December 18, 2014
A contractor had put traffic control for themselves adjacent to the valve crew’s work site. Matt Kehoe noticed 2 cars moving toward each other using the same lane. He immediately took action to signal the cars to stop in order to prevent a head-on collision. Matt then placed arrow placards on the cones to lessen potential confusion to motorists, and notified the contractor of his actions.

Effectively Advocated For Better Parking at Bollman
December 3, 2014
Troy Ibbeson effectively advocated for signage to better control parking spaces at the Bollman Treatment Plant. He recommended 2 types of signs that would immediately improve the safety of staff.
  • Reserved parking for the Lab and Water Treatment vehicles to secure an adjacent spot to the loading dock for ease of loading/unloading.
  • No parking signs to ensure that the eyewashes are not blocked by parked vehicles.
Troy worked directly with other staff to have the signs designed, manufactured and put up.

Reviewed Operator's Manual Before Operating Equipment
November 19, 2014
A CCWD supervisor noticed Mike Gargalikis reviewing the operator’s manual on a rented mini-excavator before he operated it at the LV Marina. Mike sets a good example for equipment operators to be as familiar as possible with all safety procedures.

Assisted During Vehicle Fire
November 13, 2014
Ed Mena and James Maniatis noticed a woman’s vehicle on fire. Ed turned on the leak truck’s strobe lights and began directing traffic away from the vehicle while James attempted to extinguish the fire with the truck’s fire extinguisher. They remained until the Fire Department arrived. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Held Firmly to CCWD & OSHA Rules on Shoring
September 25, 2014
During emergency restoration activities for another agency impacted by the recent Napa earthquake, Reggie Harris held firmly to CCWD and OSHA rules regarding shoring of deep excavations though he was pressured to get in an un-shored excavation and get the work done quickly. In a similar situation, Joe Coley and Anthony Mazza were pressured to enter a contractor’s un-shored excavation but refused to enter. By resisting the temptation of taking shortcuts, Reggie, Anthony and Joe showed great safety leadership.

Remedied Potential Live Electrical Hazard
September 25, 2014
Ryan Lindsey observed a safety concern with a co-worker’s vehicle. One the vehicle’s storage bins had stored oxygen/acetylene cylinders along with hydraulic oil lines. Ryan brought it to the attention of John Joseph and James Carey would then noticed that there were also exposed live electrical parts in the bin, a hazardous combination. John and Jim remedied the hazards.

Added Safety Improvements to Water Quality Buoy
September 25, 2014
Ed Nishikawa made both safety and ergonomic improvements to the Water Quality buoy at Los Vaqueros Reservoir. He has worked with lab staff and East County Maintenance to install handles, slip prevention pads and a floating work surface to better accomplish work on the buoy. We wish Ed well on his retirement!

Identified Potential Trip Hazard
September 25, 2014
Gayle Ross identified and promptly notified her supervisor with regards to a potential trip hazard at the Bollman parking lot. Broken concrete at the corner of the curb was cracked and falling apart. Her actions resulted in the prompt repair of the curb.

Presented Training on Handling Metallic Service Lines
September 19, 2014
Scott Nelson developed and presented safety training to street crews and technicians covering stray electric shock hazards related to handling metallic service lines in older neighborhoods as well as a main in the Pleasant Hill area. This topic was not previously covered under the safety training program. The training was well-received.
Safely Removed Rattler From Closet at Watershed Office
August 19, 2014
Marc Bautista and Allison Batteate safely removed a rattlesnake from the IS closet in the Watershed Office on August 11. They used a snake handling tool and a trash can.
Clutter's Gone, Water Treatment Hazard Signage Now All in One Place
August 13, 2014
Cheryl Berndt and Diana Salas were given the task of organizing the scattered placement of hazard signs at the District's water treatment plants. The signs for different buildings and storage areas were all over the place, on different doors and various walls. Cheryl and Diana responded brilliantly to the challenge of organizing this hodgepodge, and designed large location-based signs that have room for all the necessary warnings and signage. With 1 glance, employees and emergency workers will be able to easily find the information they need when they enter each building. The first of the new signs was delivered to the Bollman Ozone Generating Room and more will be coming. Cheryl and Diana took the challenge and came up with a creative solution that keeps Contra Costa Water District safe.
Water Treatment Hazard Signage
Offered Welding Expertise
August 7, 2014
Sal de la Madrid assisted in the recent Welding and Compressed Gases safety training class held at Antioch Service Center. Sal offered his expertise and experience in the hands-on portion of the class. The training was well-received.

Working Hard on Lockout/Tagout Program's Progress

July 24, 2014
Jason Todd and Jan Polewaczyk have been actively participating in improving the Lockout/Tagout Program. They have been working with our contracted safety consultants, the Safety Officer and the Lockout/Tagout User Group to help create new procedures to ensure that maintenance work is performed safely and in compliance with Cal OSHA regulations. Their active participation has been key to developing the new Energy Control Procedure (ECP) template.

Investigated Safety Concerns at LVRC
June 25, 2014
As a District Safety Committee member, Ron Zaragoza took on the project to investigate safety and security concerns brought up by LVRC staff. Ron documented his findings and recommendations in a 3-page memo. The Watershed is considering implementing many of his recommendations.

Assisted With Fire Training
June 24, 2015
Bill Barham and Clayton Funk assisted in both the discussion and hands-on portions of Wildlands Fire Suppression training. Their experience and knowledge made the training effective, and a great deal of knowledge was transferred to the less experienced students. The training was well-received and helped the Watershed and the District meet their training compliance goals.

Troubleshot Safety Training Database
June 24, 2015
David Cao assisted in the enhancements and troubleshooting of the District’s Safety Training Tracking database, EPICOR. He also assisted in making revisions to the Safety Training Matrix and setting up training needs for each job classification in EPICOR.

Scheduled & Assisted With Safety Training
June 24, 2015
Amelia Berumen assisted in closing out scheduled safety training classes and entering training credit into EPICOR. She also handled many requests for enrolling staff into online training and administered other alternative safety training methods such as self-study classes.

Coordinated Safety Training Program
June 24, 2015
Richard Broad has coordinated the safety training program for the past 2 years. He worked with vendors and in-house trainers, and scheduled training for District staff to help meet the District’s 100% safety training compliance goal.

Identified Hazards at Solids Lagoons
June 20, 2015
Upon completion of 2 new solids lagoons, Ron Gardner suggested we mark the roadways around the lagoons to indicate the lagoon perimeters and roadway boundaries. There is a frequent need to drive around the lagoons for regulatory measurements, contractor and/or Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) crew access, or safety inspection of facilities. These activities contribute to the risk of a vehicle accident. Ron took the lead in proactively identifying these hazards and suggested safety upgrades.

Investigated & Assisted With Fire Near Pumping Plant
June 19, 2015
Michael Gargalikis was on his way home from work when he noticed smoke coming from the area of Pumping Plant Number 2. He took the initiative to investigate and assess the situation, then he notified Control to call the Fire Department, opened the gates to the trail system off of Cypress Road to help give the Fire Department access to the area. This fire had potential to do much damage because high winds were moving the fire toward homes. Due to Michael’s quick action, the fire was contained to a retaining wall and the De Anza Trail.

Noticed Loose Clamp, Stopped Work

June 19, 2015
Kris Leffle was overseeing his crew and a vacuum excavation contractor at the Port Costa Intertie job in Martinez. While everyone was looking down at the excavation, Kris looked up at the vacuum excavator boom and noticed a vacuum line clamp come loose. The clamp weighed several pounds and was 15 to 20 feet above the equipment operator’s head. Kris quickly stopped work and pointed out the hazard. Kris ability to see the big picture and take quick and decisive action likely prevented serious injuries resulting from a clamp and vacuum lines falling down from great heights onto people below.

Took Imitative on New Neck Protectors
June 19, 2015
While in the field, Matt Kehoe noticed other construction workers wearing a new type of sun protector for the neck. The sun protector attaches to the hard hat. It is made of high visibility and breathable material. Matt took the initiative to locate the neck protector in a safety catalog and requested that some be ordered to try out. The pilot test was very successful and many more neck protectors were ordered for the maintenance crews.

Accurately Located Correct Water Main, Preventing a Catastrophic Accident
June 19, 2015
During the Port Costa Intertie repair job, CCWD staff had difficulty identifying the water main among the nearby high pressure fuel lines that were on either side of the water main. Locating the correct line was also complex due to the leak being underneath a small railroad control building with wires, cables and conduit in the ground amongst the other lines, a potential cause of getting interfering signals when using locating equipment. The water main looked nearly identical to the high pressure fuel lines. The fuel line operator’s locator was convinced that the water main was their fuel line, and their previous unmarked fuel line was the water main. Instead of relying the fuel line locator’s assertions, Bill Bakker conducted a series of tests to accurately locate the main. Bill’s confidence in his skills helped prevent a catastrophic accident from occurring by excavating and tapping into the wrong line.

Conducted Little Giant Crane Training
June 12, 2015
Steve Arnold, Alfredo Ibara and Joaquin Leal conducted Little Giant Crane Assembly and Disassembly training to East County Canal Maintenance staff. The training was well-received and helped the District meet its training compliance goal.

Made Sure Vehicles Have Wheel Chocks
June 9, 2015
Fred Simon identified that the NAB pool vehicles did not have wheel chocks to prevent the cars from rolling if parked on a sloped area. He independently acted to resolve this deficiency, communicating the need to the Safety Officer, recommending a solution and took action to complete. His attention to safety, leadership and action is appreciated.

Created Safety Quiz for Heat Illness
June 9, 2015
Jonathon Marshall created a safety quiz for Heat Illness for self-study training. Jon identified that a quiz did not exist and would be useful for staff to receive the self-study training and ensure the material was understood. His actions were proactive and independent demonstrating his leadership toward safety.

Reported Disturbing Incident to Safety Officer
June 9, 2015
An LVRC employee mentioned to Carol Ginochio in passing that he had an encounter with 3 visitors early in the morning at the North kiosk that left him feeling vulnerable. They had joked that ‘maybe they should shoot him’ because he had a lot of cash in the register. He reported the incident 2 days later to his supervisor, who discussed it with his staff. The incident was never however reported to CCWD. When Carol heard the story, she recognized that even though the visitors had used a joking tone, that the subject matter was not one to be taken lightly. She reported the incident to the Safety Officer. The Safety Committee initiated a site safety inspection to identify if there are any necessary safety improvements or recommended procedural changes.

Installed Non-Slip Tape to Prevent Slips
June 2, 2015
Bill Cambra installed non-slip safety tape on the City of Brentwood Water Treatment Plant clear well roof to prevent slips and to identify where the stairs are located. You cannot easily see the stairs until you get to the edge of the roof. Bill took the initiative to make it safer for all the operators and maintenance staff.

Provided Critical Lab Training to Employees
May 19, 2014
Calvin Liu provided in-house Chemical Hygiene Plan/Lab Safety training to District employees which enable them to meet the District’s safety training requirements. He developed and conducted the training, and worked with Water Treatment Operators to find opportunities to present the training material. Calvin’s efforts as a District safety trainer contributed towards the District 100% safety compliance goal and improved safety by providing knowledge and training on critical laboratory safety issues.

Noticed New "V" Strips Had Sharp Edges
May 15, 2014
Dave Perez and Vic Smith noticed that the new “V strips” that were installed at both sides of the 27 screens at Middle River PS had sharp edges. Dave and Vic took the initiative to roll over the sharp edges to eliminate the laceration hazard.

Elevated Concern About Damaged Guard Rails
May 9, 2014
Last month, Pat Panus took the initiative during a weekly operational conference call to highlight a hazardous situation at the canal where it crosses under Live Oak Road in Oakley. The roadway vehicle guard rail was severely damaged in an accident, rendering it useless. The guard rail belongs to the City of Oakley. Although, not in his direct area of responsibility, Pat elevated the concern to department leadership which lead to the immediate action by CCWD staff to place k-rail in the area. The City of Oakley then quickly responded to this action by repairing the guard rail. Had Pat not pointed out this concern, the hazardous condition would have likely existed for some time before the City took action.

Notified Employees of Sulfuric Acid Leak
May 8, 2014
Last month, Jake Wallin observed a substantial sulfuric acid leak at Bollman Water Treatment Plant. He immediately notified Operations, then walked through the site personally notifying all employees of the danger. Several employees mentioned their appreciation for Jake’s extra effort in ensuring their safety.

Broke Up Fight in Parking Lot
May 8, 2014
At a public parking lot in Pleasant Hill, Jason Kranz saw a woman beating another woman to the ground. Jason took action and pulled the assailant off the victim, preventing serious injuries.

Noticed Security Issues at Reservoir Hatch
April 23, 2014
Prior to the return to service of the Nob Hill treated water reservoir, Ratch Reshaw and Stan Rhodes noticed security issues at the reservoir entry hatch. They immediately contacted their supervisor to report the issue. The actions of Ratch and Stan ensured the continued safety of the public water supply.
Installed Side View Mirrors on Utility Terrain Vehicle
March 27, 2014
Shawn Lewis took initiative and installed side view mirrors for the Grounds Maintenance Assistant’s Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV). The mirrors will assist in checking for park trail pedestrians that are coming from behind the UTV during herbicide spraying.
Utility Terrain Vehicle Side Mirror
Prevented Home From Flooding by Turning Off Other Agency's Valve
March 20, 2014
David Perez, Jim Meilandt, Dan Mello, Larry Spishock, Fred Zaragoza, and Dino Novero noticed a broken hydrant gushing water in a nearby residential neighborhood outside of the District’s treated water service territory. They took quick action and turned off the hydrant valve to prevent flooding of a home.

Provided Safety Training Classes
March 13, 2014
On his own initiative, John Parsons provided safety training classes to Operations Management plant staff covering Hazard Communication, Process Safety Management/Process Hazard Analysis, and Chlorine Safety.  John is also planning to provide training presentations on Respiratory Protection. His actions have elevated employee awareness of hazards common to the treatment plants and enhanced safety for all employees assigned to these facilities.

Made Sure His Crew Had Necessary Safety Equipment
February 27, 2014
Stan Martinez and his crew were tasked to test a large air valve on Willow Pass Road, which was installed near the canal and behind the fence. Although they were far enough away from the canal to be safe from drowning, Stan went above and beyond what was expected and made sure his crew had the safety equipment necessary to work adjacent to the canal.

Found Tool to Test Traffic Plates, Found Many Need Repair
February 27, 2014
Randy Anduza came across a tool that measures the thread depth of traffic plates and the lifting rings. He then took it upon himself to check the District’s plates and found that 8 of them were close to failure (now red tagged for repair) and that one other lifting ring was thin on threads (replaced with a new ring). Any failure on either piece of equipment could have caused an injury.

Resisted Production Pressure, Followed Lock & Tag Procedure
February 14, 2014
Ryan Lindsey was asked to place a piece of equipment back into service. He then noticed that locks and tags were still on the equipment even though no one was working on the equipment. Ryan remembered from his lockout/tagout training that locks and tags can only be removed by a supervisor and only after a search is made of the person whose locks and tags are on the equipment. Ryan resisted production pressure, contacted appropriate managers and supervisors, and correctly delayed completing the task until the locks and tags were properly removed.

Stopped Car From Hitting Pedestrian
January 30, 2014
While flagging at the intersection of Treat Boulevard and Oak Grove Road, James Maniatis noticed a pedestrian wearing ear buds, walking at the crosswalk. The pedestrian did not notice an approaching vehicle. James shouted to the driver of the vehicle to stop, preventing the vehicle from striking the pedestrian.

Custom Magnetic Markers for Trailers
January 30, 2014
Rick Fisher had custom magnetic markers made at a sign shop to place on the backhoe trailers. The markers help guide equipment operators in backing the dump truck and trailer.

Purchased Tire Step for UTV
January 30, 2014
Jeff Chavez purchased a tire step for the UTV sprayer to help a co-worker reach the top of the sprayer equipment without potentially slipping off the tire.