ACWA JPIA Selects H.R. LaBounty Safety Award Program Winners by ACWA JPIA Dec 30, 2020 Water News The Association of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority (ACWA JPIA) recently honored several member agencies with the H.R. LaBounty Safety Award. The award program recognizes JPIA members who implement results-oriented activities that increase employees’ safety program participation and seek continuous improvement in their safety program. Members who belong to ACWA JPIA’s property, liability and/or workers’ compensation coverage programs qualify for the awards program. During the fall 2020 award selection period, 20 ACWA JPIA member agencies were recognized for their efforts to improve safety and reduce accidents in the workplace. The following highlights three ACWA member agencies that received recognition for applying the hierarchy of controls to eliminate or reduce exposure to hazards. Santa Fe Irrigation District Santa Fe Irrigation District has critical flow meters housed in underground vaults at its treatment plant. While maintaining these flow meters requires minimal time, to do it safely, staff had to follow its full permit confined space entry and fall protection procedures. James Gingrich and Jason Nunez in the electrical/maintenance department eliminated confined space entry hazards by installing flow meters on railings outside of the vaults. By physically removing the hazard, staff can perform maintenance on the flow meters without entering the vaults. West Stanislaus Irrigation District Clinton McCleskey, Operations & Maintenance Supervisor at the West Stanislaus Irrigation District, reviewed the district’s Lockout/Tagout Program and realized procedures were not in place for the district’s equipment upgrades on distribution panels at its Pumping Plant #3. He conducted a job hazard analysis (JHA) to establish proper job procedures, including ensuring all affected employees were properly trained on the new JHA procedures. JHA’s are an administrative control to ensure consistent work methods and risk reduction techniques to assist employees on how to perform tasks without the likelihood of an injury. Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District Ruben Murillo, Construction Maintenance Superintendent at Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, recognized the challenges with outsourcing the district’s backhoe loader and heavy equipment training, so he developed an in-house Heavy Equipment Certification Program. This written district-specific training program includes a pre-course operator self-appraisal questionnaire, interactive learning with videos and course handbook, hands-on pre-use inspection checklist, and operator performance evaluation. Upon completion of the course and achieving a 92% or higher satisfactory rating on the field test, the candidate receives a Certificate of Training to certify successful completion of the district’s backhoe loader and heavy equipment safety training & operation. Murillo’s administrative control ensures all heavy equipment operators receive effective training related to the work being done, including practical and specific information about operating the district’s heavy equipment, perform work safely and avoid hazards. ACWA represents more than 450 public water agencies, all of whom qualify for coverage through ACWA JPIA. The organization operates separately, but in partnership, with ACWA. ACWA JPIA was first formed by water agencies across California in 1979 to provide risk-sharing pools. Today, it meets the needs of its members for property, liability, workers’ compensation, and employee benefits coverage. In addition, members receive assistance with training, personnel policies and procedures, developing job descriptions and employee handbooks.