HELP Meeting Minutes


Meeting Date: Jan.19, 2000

Meeting Place: Immunex, 1201 Western Ave., Seattle, WA

Meeting Time: 9:00-11:00 am


I. Jim Denovan opened the meeting. Welcoming and review of the agenda.

II. Mark Voigtsberger - Skeptical Electrical, Everett, WA - Electrical Safety

Mr. Voigtsberger reviewed common electrical terminology, wiring and grounding problems, good reference sources, and some useful testing equipment.

He emphasized some of the following issues:

-1999 NEC Article 90(b) summarizes many of the design and implementation flaws which plague commercial and industrial users. Many architects/electrical engineers do not plan for future power expansion needs, which sometimes lead to non-standard solutions at a facility during subsequent occupancy. Please note the expanded/revised section on electrical grounding in the 1999 edition. Revisions occur every 3 years.

-While OSHA and Washington Labor & Industries have many codes from which to cite deficiencies, electrical code violations do not receive a high profile from these agencies, usually appearing in the lower part of a Top Ten Most Frequently Cited List.

-The reader is referred to Mr. Voigtsbergers' list of useful code references compiled from NFPA, NEC, IEEE, and the CFRs. He also provided a useful list of common wiring problems, their potential cause(s), and potential solutions.

-Exercise caution regarding inappropriate use of surge protection/power strip devices, particularly popular for powering desktop computers. End users often utilize every available receptacle on the power strip, which can lead to circuit overload.

-Wiring design concepts coming from architects and designing electrical engineers might not always be faithfully executed by construction electrical engineers/electricians due to miscommunication, use of different reference sources across professions, and on-site construction realities which result in modifications.

-IEEE's publication 1100: "Powering and Grounding" is an excellent reference for this family of issues. Many instructive slides illustrated construction realities of maintaining effective grounding systems.

-Test equipment options included infrared photography (thermography?) and harmonic testing devices.


III. Mr. Kurt Stranne, PE -  Prezant Associates - Construction Safety

Mr. Stranne introduced some general safety topics applicable to most new and remodeling construction operations and reviewed general requirements to abate those hazards as required by WAC codes or general best practices.

He emphasized some of the following issues:

-One should routinely conduct pre-construction surveys for asbestos-containing building materials and  lead (Pb) containing paints. Extensive and detailed WAC rules govern the appropriate removal work practices and documentation requirements for these materials. Effective barrier/containment designs should effectively minimize the impact on ongoing operations, such as the need to wear PPE outside of such barriers.

-Noise exposure can become a significant issue for the construction worker and the closest personnel who staff ongoing operations outside the construction zone. Sound level meter surveys using an appropriate sound level meter (slow response, A-scale weighting)  or noise dosimetry measurements will help determine the need to use hearing protection, implement a hearing conservation program, and/or implement engineering control measures.

-Walking and working surfaces present a variety of potential hazards requiring a variety of guarding and abatement measures. WAC 296-155 contains many rules which govern the appropriate treatment of holes or openings in floors and walls, working on surfaces above four feet in elevation, proper installation of fixed ladders, use of portable ladders and many other issues.

-The group discussed appropriate standards of conduct and management control between representatives of the host company and the contractor's personnel. Some members believe this topic might deserve more in depth examination and discussion at another time since there are potentially complex and overlapping obligations between the parties.


IV. Donna Hoskins - Immunex - Status of L & I hearings on proposed Ergonomics rulemaking

-Donna provided some summary materials describing the Ergonomics rulemaking process. A series of state wide public hearings on the topic began the first week of January (sponsored by L&I as required by the WISHA Act). Donna attended a full day session as did Brad Gong, Icos, and both noted that initial testimony seemed to favor rulemaking from what appeared to be organized labor related speakers. Donna noted however that many other speakers still remained to be heard at the time she left the hearings.


- Steve Li noted that Dr. Michael Silverstein and John Peard of L&I will speak on this topic at a joint dinner meeting sponsored by the PNS-AIHA, ASSE, and Human Factors Ergonomics Society scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 2, at the Swedish Club, 1920 Dexter Avenue North, Seattle. Time = 5:30. Cost = $25. Please reserve a place by emailing Jeanette U by January 28th at  This will be among the first opportunities to hear L&I representatives following their hearings process.


Next Meeting: March 15, 2000. 9am - 11am.

Chubb Insurance will host the meeting at their offices in downtown Seattle (Two

Union Square).