by Jon M. Casey
For contractors in the central region of Pennsylvania, the first PA One Call North Central Safety Day was held on May 5, 2016 at the Clinton County fairgrounds in Mill Hall, PA. More than 300 attendees made the daylong event a huge success where they were able to attend safety-training sessions on topics like Preventing Falls on Construction Sites, Work Zone Traffic Control, and how to use the PA One Call Member Mapping System. While an outdoor, mock trench rescue demonstration was scheduled, a last-minute postponement of this popular event required an indoor presentation this year. Nevertheless, the indoor presentation by Gregory Fraley, provided an excellent reminder of the need for safety awareness when working in trenches. Additionally, the visit of the Allegheny Health Network’s LIFEFLIGHT helicopter EMS team offered plenty of excitement following the indoor presentation.
On hand for this year’s keynote presentation was Eric Giguere, a survivor of a trench collapse, where he was buried alive for more than ten minutes before being revived and eventually lived to tell of the experience and the grief that it brings to a worker’s family and friends.
Earlier in the day, outdoor presentations on vacuum excavation and safety awareness around electrical power equipment, both overhead and underground, gave attendees the opportunity to learn more about safe ways to perform their daily work activities. Inside, Monica Sparks, of RETTEW Associates, Safety Consulting Group, gave a lively, entertaining presentation on the Construction Confined Spaces Safety Standards that took effect August 3, 2015. Creating interest in a topic that would routinely be boring for most listeners, she found ways to inform the group about changes that will not only save lives, but also how the new regulations will help prevent contractors from unnecessary penalties if the regulations are not followed.
Dan Lucarelli, Director Marketing & Education for PA 811, said his team, including local PA One Call liaison Jim Larkin (North Central), was especially pleased to be able to host this first-time event in this area. He said that with last year’s success of the first Northeastern PA 811 Safety Day in Wilkes-Berra in mind, his team took a closer look at the demographics of those who were attending safety days around the state to find out which areas were not being served. They concluded that there was a large gap in the central part of the state were considerable contracting work is still ongoing. The staff concluded that the workers did not attend a PA 811 Safety Day because of the distance from their home area. Thus, they planned this Safety Day in Mill Hall.
Lucarelli noted that local utility companies including UGI, PPL, USIC and UGI Energy Services, have found these safety days to be especially beneficial. By covering the state more evenly, more workers can experience a safety day for the first time. Nearly all of the attendees at this event were first-time attendees. A fun-filled “Jeopardy” contest that focused on 811 regulations and guidelines brought the day’s activities to an end, following lunch.
In addition to the North Central Safety Day, this year’s PA Safety Day Schedule included additional events on Tuesday May 17 at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in Wilkes-Barre; the Southeastern event on May 19 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA; the South Central Safety Day on Thursday June 23 at the York Expo Center in York, PA; and Thursday September 15 at the Monroeville Convention Center, 209 Mall Blvd., Monroeville, PA.
To see the schedule for the 2017 PA One Call Safety Days, visit www.pa1call.org .