2013 SPOT Recognition

Arranged Purchase of & Scheduled 'Plate Lock' Demonstration
December 19, 2013
Glenn Nelson scheduled a demonstration for field crews for “plate locks”, a new product that will enhance safety. Plate locks are devices that are used to secure traffic plates in place. Glenn arranged the purchase of the devices and are now being used by the crews.

Kept Fire Fighters Supplied With Water
December 18, 2013
During a major fire on Stanwell Drive, Jim Clark was able to keep fire suppression water supplied to the Fire Department. There were several pumper trucks using massive amounts of water. Jim kept them supplied while he was receiving alarms at Contra Costa Water District (CCWD) facilities. He was “cool under fire”.

Explained Hazard of Cross Connection
December 13, 2013
While driving to Bollman Water Treatment Plant (WTP), Stan Rhodes stopped a contractor on Bates Avenue and explained the potential public health hazard from direct cross connection to a fire hydrant without backflow prevention. The contractor was filling a trailer-mounted water tank. The fire hydrant being used did not have a hydrant meter, backflow prevention device or an air gap on the water tank.

Produced Canal Safety Video
December 2, 2013
Jim Freschi, Shane Pinto, Jill-Suitos-Novak, Tracy Chilson, Diane Rybicki, Dino Angelosante, Oliver Symonds all worked together to update the District's Canal Safety Video. The video covers canal hazards and safety rules. Shane, Tracy, Jill and Diane appeared on-screen and also contributed to the script and story. Jim, Dino and Oliver provided assistance during various shoots as well as assistance with the script and story. The video also features 12-time Olympic medal swimming champion Natalie Coughlin.

Assisted in Welding Safety Training
November 21, 2013
Butch Martinez assisted in conducting Welding Safety training at the Concord Maintenance and Antioch Service Center maintenance shops. Butch demonstrated safe welding techniques and gave great safety tips. The training was well-received by all.

Discovered Live 220 Volt Wire, Made it Safe
November 7, 2013
Jim Carey discovered a broken and exposed above ground wire at the Government Ranch Tank site and immediately contacted his supervisor. After Jim showed the problem wire to his supervisor, he gave expert advice on how to make it totally safe. Jim “air gaped” the wire at the source about 50-yards away. This live 220V broken wire had the potential to seriously shock someone had Jim not discovered and skillfully remedied the dangerous situation.

Prevented a Dangerous Situation
October 10, 2013
Shane Pinto was notified by Doug Funk in Control that there were trespassers at the Martinez Reservoir site. Doug also informed Shane that the trespassers were armed and had been using drugs. Shane located one of the suspects at a local convenience store and contacted Martinez police for assistance. Shane did not attempt to confront the trespasser. When Martinez police arrived, he assisted with locating and identifying the trespasser. Shane and Doug's actions helped assist the police in what could have been a hazardous situation, in which the police and/or innocent bystanders could have been put in danger.

Alerted District of Surge Protector Recall
October 9, 2013
Lars Sandberg identified and alerted the IS Manager and the Safety Officer of a manufacturer’s recall of an electrical surge protector commonly used throughout the District’s administrative offices. This self-initiated action was over and above his normal duty assignments and contributed to work area safety by eliminating the potential threat of fire and/or electrical shock due to the defective surge protectors.

Spotted Missing Breakers in Panel, Made Repairs
September 25, 2013
During a recent locate at the Brentwood WTP sludge ponds, Rodney Johnson discovered an electrical panel with 2 missing breakers. These missing breakers provided unprotected access to a 120/240 bus bar. Rodney advised his supervisor of the situation, installed 2 new breakers and ensured the safety of others.

Read MSDS, Needed Respirators
September 19, 2013
Carol Ginochio took the time to read the MSDS for Bentonite clay powder and found that respirators were required to be worn when handling the material. She worked with her crew and the Safety Officer to ensure that the correct respirators were purchased, and medical examinations, training and respirator fit-tests were conducted.
Built Temporary Work Platform
September 12, 2013
Jake Wallin and Don Nickells extensively planned for safety after they learned they needed to work at an elevated location at Seminary PS. They realized that working from ladders on a sloped surface would be difficult and unsafe. So Jake and Don took initiative for their safety and the safety of the co-workers, and built a temporary work platform so they could safely access their work. A terrific example of pre-task planning.
Temporary Work Platform
Conducted Lockout/TagOut Classes
September 12, 2013
Jan Polewaczyk and Matthew Novak conducted Lockout/Tagout Awareness classes for District staff in Concord and Antioch. The classes were well-received.

Persistent Effort To Make Turn Safer
September 5, 2013
While turning off of Bisso Lane onto Concord Avenue, Dan Jones noticed motorists on the left turn lane sometimes incorrectly turn into the middle lane going east on Concord Avenue instead of the left lane. For several months, Dan Jones pushed the City to address the traffic safety at this location. The City added signs and stripping but Dan Jones noticed motorists were still turning in the wrong lane. Dan Jones pushed the City to do more. The City recently demolished part of the center island and moved it back several feet to make it safer for motorists to turn onto Concord Avenue. Dan Jones’s persistence has made this intersection safer for other CCWD employees and other members of the public including City, County, and school district employees who regularly use this intersection.

Noticed Dangerous Tree
September 4, 2013
While conducting the vegetation management spraying of the canal, Jeff Summers noticed a tree that had a significant lean to it. Jeff took action by notifying the canal supervisor about the unsafe situation. The tree’s root system had decayed to the point that the tree could have fallen unexpectedly with a strong gust of wind or if any person were to climb on it.

Noticed Driver Didn't Have Correct Shoes
August 13, 2014
Irshad Ahmad stopped a chemical driver from initiating delivery of sulfuric acid into the storage tank after noticing the driver had donned a chemical resistant jacket and face shield but was not wearing chemical resistant boots. He informed the driver he had to wear boots to protect his feet. His actions prevented potential injury to the driver while connecting and disconnecting the supply hose.

Prepared Very Detailed Inspection Plan, Will Be Developed Into Standard Procedure
August 6, 2013
Ryan Freeborn was recognized for the outstanding job he did in his approach and preparation of a very detailed shutdown and safe entry plan to ensure the highest level of safety and lowest risk during a recent inspection of the Bollman WTP filter valves. District staff as well as a coating inspector participated in the entry. He implemented recommendations made by Operation Management staff and developed a shutdown plan that resulted in the shortest duration outage with minimal operational impacts to a key facility. Ryan’s effort will now be used to develop a standard procedure for this entry in the future leading to improved efficiency and employee safety.

Ensured Staff Stayed Cool
August 1, 2013
Several weeks ago during hot weather, Mike Bartzi got all of his crew Gatorade and cooling bandanas. Mike’s direct actions helped ensure his staff did not suffer from the effects of heat illness.

Assisted At Traffic Accident
August 1, 2013
Gary Mills noticed a large dust cloud off Ygnacio Valley Boulevard, stopped then saw a vehicle that was totaled on the road. He stopped to make sure the driver was okay, called for emergency assistance and put down cones to divert traffic from the damaged vehicle until police arrived.

Suggested Signage
July 31, 2013
Darin Regli heard about the Asbestos Dust Warning signs that maintenance crews have available in their trucks and suggested that we obtain this signage for Construction Inspectors vehicles so that the signs may be posted during contractor work with asbestos. The signage has been used at multiple sites to ensure the safety of the crews and public.

Started a Safety Project For Electrical & Instrument Technicians
July 23, 2013
Ken Swenson, Joe Wright, Matthew Novak teamed up to start a safety project that will enhance the safety of our electrical and instrument technicians. The project is to assess the electrical arc blast hazards of all District electrical equipment. The group evaluated and specified a special hazard assessment software, found potential electrical engineering firms to conduct the assessments, and worked to write a specification for the work. Electrical arc hazard assessments were recently and successfully conducted at Lime Ridge PS and Pumping Plant #3. As part of the assessment, electrical equipment was labeled as to the specific hazard and PPE required. More assessments are planned at other facilities in the near future.

Designed Boater Safety Program For Interns

July 17, 2013
Yolanda Bartley did a great job putting together a boater safety training for the interns. She saw that a safety program specific to the intern’s work at LV was needed, and took the initiative to create one. We had previously used a generic online training that took longer than the sampling trip and still didn’t cover the LV-related specifics. So she put a training PowerPoint together that provides all the important safety details and saves time.

Assisted with Traffic Control at Accident
July 5, 2013
Ramon Gasca witnessed an auto accident on Cowell Road at the loop canal. Ramon assisted the City of Concord with traffic control at the accident site until the site was cleared.

Contracted City to Repair Wobbly Street Light
July 5, 2013
John Riccabona noticed that a city street light pole was wobbly and only held in place by 2 bolts that were half-way backed out. John contacted the city to request a repair.

Coordinated Safety Training, Conducted Class
July 2, 2013
Richard Broad has played an important part of CCWD ‘s safety program by taking the lead in coordinating all safety training. His hard work has helped move our training compliance to an all-time high. Richard has also recently volunteered to conduct Confined Space Awareness training for staff. The training was well-received.

Responded to Incident in the Canal
May 25, 2013
On the afternoon of Saturday, May 25, CCWD received a call about a child in the canal. The following District staff acted safely, quickly and with great care during this incident. Daryl Hensler, the on-call supervisor, responded to the site and called out volunteer crew members (not on standby) to assist with the efforts. Sal De La Madrid, Rick Johnson, Mike Gargalikis and Dino Novero responded. Jim Clark and Doug Beckstrand in Control took immediate steps to stabilize flows in the area, and Tracy Chilson and Shane Pinto responded to the site to assist with search efforts. The action by our crews and operators resulted in quick resolution to the events with closure for the parents and family involved. This showed their commitment to safely go above and beyond when required.

Daryl Hensler, for overall leadership in the field and maintaining a focus on resources required and being responsive to the requests of the first responders. His foresight to get the right amount of personnel to the field resulted in quick resolution of the event. He maintained an effective safety posture when in the field.

Sal De La Madrid and Dino Novero responded to the call and safely entered the boat and water, and conducted the search resulting in the quick recovery. They went above and beyond by acting on direction from the PD and FD.

Mike Gargalikis and Rick Johnson responded to the call, and both assisted with getting the boat to the site, maintaining a safe area, conducting fence repairs where access had been made for the rescuers, and in Rick’s case, assisting with the boat search on the tag line and providing safe egress out of the area by our team in the boat.

Jim Clark and Doug Beckstrand for their actions in control. Their immediate actions resulted in slowing of the canal to allow safe entry by the Fire Department and our crews. They maintained effective communications during the events and closely coordinated with multiple people.

Shane Pinto and Tracy Chilson for their actions coordinating with the rescue efforts. Shane coordinated swift water rescue efforts at check 1 by the Fire Department swift water team and Tracy maintained a CCWD presence at the Fire Department incident command post. Furthermore, they gathered detailed information on the site and conditions during and after the event and established coordination with the Police Department.

Found New Tool To Safety Lift Valve Can Lids
June 7, 2013
Jon Adams found a new G-05 valve can lid lifting tool that can be used to lift lids without stooping over. Jon purchased this tool, brought it in to demonstrate its effectiveness, and championed its use. This tool will help prevent repetitive injuries from constantly lifting these lids.

Warned Contractor of Bee Hive, Helped Injured Motorist
June 7, 2013
Gary Mills called a PG&E contractor for whom he was a doing a locate and let him know that a bee hive was in the immediate area of the proposed excavation and told him to use caution. Gary also pulled his vehicle over to assist in 1-car vehicle/injury accident that involved an elderly woman in Morgan territory. The woman was bleeding profusely and was getting disoriented. Gary contacted 911 and stayed with the woman until emergency services arrived.

Brought Safety Glasses to Contractor
June 7, 2013
Jake Wallin noticed a contractor not wearing safety glasses while using a chop saw to cut a pipe. Jake got him a pair of glasses, and the contractor thanked him for looking out for his safety.

Developed An Operations Plan to Facilitate Safe Entry Into Canal
May 24, 2013
On Wednesday, May 22, Dave Huey developed an operations plan to facilitate a safe entry into the canal by the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department dive team. His plan directly influenced safe operations while a law enforcement dive team completed their search and recovery operation in the canal at the Lone Tree Way box culvert. This activity was not planned; Dave had to not only develop it but worked in Control to make sure it was done correctly. His actions contributed directly to safety in the workplace. Dave modified canal operations to ensure low velocities for diver safety. Dave also enhanced the safety of others and showed safety leadership by maintaining communication with the dive team while the operation was underway. Dave demonstrated safety leadership coordinating all canal operational modifications, and prevented a serious accident and injuries by including adjustments to check structures and pump changes. This led to an increased margin of safety for the dive team while maintaining uninterrupted service to customers. Furthermore, he established contacts with the dive team that will be valuable in reducing response time if future canal searches are necessary.

Increased Margin of Safety on Canal During Search
May 23, 2013
On the evening of Friday, May 17 and on Saturday May 18, Jimmie Abbott responded to the field along with the on-call supervisor to coordinate canal operations while a law enforcement dive team performed an evidence search in the canal at Check 2. As this activity was unplanned and conducted in the off-hours, Jimmie had to develop a plan for canal operations to be modified to ensure low velocities for diver safety. Jimmie showed safety leadership by maintaining communication with the dive team while coordinating all canal operational modifications, which included adjustments to check structures and pump changes. This led to an increased margin of safety for the dive team while maintaining uninterrupted service to CCWD customers. Furthermore, he established contacts directly with the dive team that proved valuable just a few days later when their response was needed again

Protected Woman on Park Trail
May 3, 2013
In the area of Markley Canyon, Earl Levingston noticed a man striking a woman on the park trail. Earl drove up to assist. When Earl arrived, she broke free and was screaming for help. Earl put her into his vehicle and drove her down the trail away from the assailant. Earl called 911 and kept her inside until emergency help arrived. During this time, the assailant walked up and was trying to speak to the woman inside the truck. When police arrived, they arrested the assailant. Earl’s intervention helped prevent further injury to the woman.

Knew Procedures, Looked Out for Safety
May 8, 2013
On April 30, Matthew Novak (Maintenance Manager) called Control Operator, Doug Funk, and informed Doug that he would be accessing the Mallard Slough PS for a site inspection. Doug informed Matthew that Canal Patrol sends 2 people when accessing the area, and that Matthew might need someone to accompany him on the inspection. Matthew called the Safety Officer and consulted the Safe Practices Handbook for verification. Matthew then called out a maintenance mechanic to accompany him on the inspection. Matthew appreciated that Doug was looking out for his safety and security.

Led Safety Training on Chipper Safety, Committee Chair
May 3, 2013
Greg Dixon led a recent training session on Chipper Safety. Greg’s experience with the wood chipper made the training relevant to the crews. His safety training effort also helped with team building within the Canal/Grounds maintenance group. Greg’s participation on the District Safety Committee over the last 3 years as well as the leadership he provided as the committee chair over the last 2 years, has greatly improved the safety program and culture District-wide.

Led Canal Safety Awareness Training
April 23, 2013
Tracy Chilson led the recent Canal Safety Awareness training sessions. Tracy’s experience as a Canal Safety Guard offered a unique perspective on canal safety.

Quickly Replaced Suspect Ladder
April 30, 2013
After a recent Fall Hazard Awareness and Ladder Safety Training, Tom Ramirez was approached by one of the Water Quality Inspectors who noted that the ladder in the sample receiving area was not safely rated for the intended use. Tom immediately took action, researched options and identified an appropriate ladder for the job. The new ladder was on site within days. This is one of a number of instances where Tom has taken prompt action and demonstrated safety leadership to ensure the safety of his staff and other District employees.

Alerted Employees That Fire Alarm Was Real
April 19, 2013
When fire alarms went off at the Bisso Bulldog last month, Brian Sweeney let evacuated staff know that it was not a drill and made sure that no one entered the building until it was safe. Brian found the source of the smoke, an electrical short at the hot water heater, and turned off the power.

Helped Elderly Woman
April 19, 2013
While at a job site, Reggie Harris noticed an elderly woman trying to descend a set of stairs at a nearby church. The woman was using a walker. Reggie helped her down the stairs safely.

Tree Falls, Ratch Prevents Electrocution
April 11, 2013
While collecting a sample in Walnut Creek, Richard (Ratch) Reshaw saw a woman attempting to cut the branches of a large tree branch that had fallen, blocking the street and preventing her from driving her vehicle. The fallen branch had taken down a PG&E service line to a nearby house. Ratch explained the potential electrical hazard to the woman, preventing her from being electrocuted.

Noticed a Fire, Put it Out

April 5, 2013
When going about his rounds, Earl Livingston noticed a fire in a trash can at the public park next to Contra Loma Reservoir. Earl extinguished the fire, preventing it from spreading.

Installed a Pickup Step
March 28, 2013
Ratch Reshaw researched, identified, purchased, and installed a vehicle mounted step to a District pickup. The purpose of the step is to assist in gaining safe access into the bed of the truck, and then folds up to the bumper when not in use which keeps the area clear from any tripping hazards.

Helps Homeless Woman With Burning Home
March 18, 2013
Shane Pinto was driving under the overpass of Concord Avenue and Highway 242, noticed a large amount of smoke, and called emergency services. He then noticed a homeless camp next to the fire. As he was waiting, he heard cries for help. He spotted a woman and told her to leave the area but she refused as she wanted to get her belongings. He tried to determine how to get to the location but he was not sure how to access it. The woman began to cough due to smoke inhalation. Shane then called for an ambulance. The woman was transported to the hospital and the fire was put out.

Recognized Asphyxiation Hazard
March 13, 2013
Three compressed nitrogen gas cylinders are used for the TOC analyzer at the Randall-Bold Lab. Ken Dooley recognized that since we have these stored inside the lab, a leak could present an asphyxiation hazard. Ken requested that an oxygen sensor be installed at the compressed gas storage area, and updated procedures for lab safety awareness.

Noticed Flooding, Took Swift Action
March 12, 2013
While working at the Bollman WTP, Jake Wallin noticed flooding in the East Tunnel location and quickly recognized a potentially hazardous situation involving energized electrical circuits and electrical shock. He took swift action, notifying supervision while standing by to safeguard the area. Jake then assisted others to set-up barricades to prevent unsafe entry.
Preformed Admirably To Secure Potentially Hazardous Area
March 12, 2013
Bill Kough, Jason Todd, Fred Zaragoza, John Joseph, Rodney Johnson, Ken Swenson, and Don Nickells performed admirably with extraordinary effort in response to securing a potentially hazardous area. They worked with other Central County Maintenance team members to identify and isolate electrical circuits submerged due to flooding at the Bollman WTP East Tunnel location. This action prevented potential injury by electrical shock. The group provided seamless support during work hours and after hours to restore electrical systems and equipment back to safe operation condition.
Kept Photographer Safe From Danger
March 12, 2013
Nick Noble, Dustin McDaniel, and Pete Brandt were visited by a Contra Costa Times photo journalist while working on the canal in Pleasant Hill. The reporter requested to get into the canal where they were working to take photos. Reporters can get aggressive about getting into unsafe locations to get a particular picture. Nick, Dustin and Pete were recognized for politely refusing her request in the interest of her safety and their own.

Found Acetylene Leak, Took Action
March 12, 2013
Frank Dias found an acetylene leak coming from the regulator diaphragm of an oxy-acetylene welding unit. Frank took the unit out-of-service for repair, preventing a potential explosion.

Installed Cap on Hose to Prevent Injuries
March 1, 2013
During the Bollman Highlift PS Construction Project, Stan Rhodes was assisting Construction with the disinfection of a 6-inch 300-foot long hose. Once the hose was pressurized with high chlorine solution, a 2 inch ball valve was closed at the end of the hose to provide isolation. Concerned that the ball valve could be opened and a high chlorine solution could injure someone, Stan took the initiative to install a cap on the ball valve to prevent any injuries.

Suggested 'Check In' Procedure
February 27, 2013
CCWD Conservation technicians are regularly scheduled to conduct water conservation surveys at customer homes. Technicians generally conduct 4 surveys in a day. Diane Rybicki suggested that we institute a “Check In” procedure whereby technicians call in after each appointment. This suggestion will allow office staff to track field staff throughout the day and to take action if something were to happen such as an automobile accident. The suggestion will improve the safety of the Conservation section.

Creative Problem Solving Keeps Employees Safe
February 13, 2013
In order to measure water levels in the irrigation tank at the Marina, staff with the Los Vaqueros Recreation Company were having to lift a manhole cover with a rope which presented a potential safety hazard. As soon as Pat Panus and Tom Branch became aware of this, they worked with Steve Arnold, Rick Johnson and Troy Railsback to create a more effective way to take these measurements. Steve, Rick and Troy were quick to create and install a telescoping measuring stick. Because of their creative problem solving and swift response, no injuries or strains occurred. Many thanks for another job well done and for addressing this potential safety hazard before it became a problem.

Kept Lost Hikers Calm
February 1, 2013
On January 31, 2013, 2 teenage female hikers call Control from Call Box Number 2 located on the LV Watershed. Doug Billings and Gary Sheldon kept the hikers calm even though they were lost and scared. Notification was made to Cary Richardson Merkle and the deputy was dispatched. This was done in a timely manner and the hikers were rescued without incident.