NukeWorker Forum

Career Path => Outages => Topic started by: BetaAnt on May 19, 2014, 11:37

Title: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: BetaAnt on May 19, 2014, 11:37
This is only an observation.

Outages are staffing RPT at least 20% or more short. There is little time for the tech to perform job coverage, count smears and document the survey. You can spend 8-10 hrs. in containment or drywell covering multiple jobs because You are the only 3.1 to cover a high risk job (HCA, LHRA, DLHRA, L3 alpha). You can spend the extra overtime writing the survey, but it cuts into your rest/sleep cycle. And RP supervision does not recognize the problem. Even if they do, most RPMs do not have the guts to stand up to Ops or OCC to get more help for the outage or adjust the schedule to not burn out the techs. Heaven forbid if you delay critical path work taking a 15 min. lunch (some plants automatically deduct for a 30 min. lunch - saves 3 hrs. of overtime pay per week) or bathroom break (Depends to be issued with scrubs).

Training has been shortened to 2-3 days (CBT) and less than a day on plant RP procedures.

Before the trolls chime in, Jr's count smears - there are no Jr's, or you don't need to document the survey - by all plant procedures, the RCT must document all job coverage that is not routine.

More of my fellow 3.1 techs have died during outage this year than ever before. I have notice more techs falling out (heat exhaustion) than usual. Understaffed and overworked??? I know the 3.1 tech avg. age is 50+.

Corporations do not seem to understand that assets should not be overworked. The 'fatigue rule' is a joke. Most plants will state 'RATs are exempt' and 'Can you work your day off?'. The FR covers ERO personnel only.

I'm counting the days to retirement. I do not desire to 'do more with less'. People get hurt or die.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Bonds 25 on May 20, 2014, 11:40
And where are these plants you are referring to? I like to think we do things a little different here at Columbia.

I agree with the fatigue rule being a "joke"...........for the most part.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: surf50 on May 20, 2014, 06:39
Quote
And where are these plants you are referring to?

Mostly in the South; I've been to two of 'em.

My rule of thumb is, if I feel unnecessarily overused simply because of their budget constraints, I don't go back. Every plant has a bad outage, but more than one outage? sorry, no.

You know all this, Beta, things are different now. It's ALL budget driven, and you can be sure the RPM's know they're handcuffed. They don't like it, either.

As for techs dying from overwork? I don't think so. I read the paper's obits every morning, and there's lots of people dying waay younger than me. We're just getting older, and for some of us, our past behavior is catching up.

This is only my observation.... 8) ;D
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Old HP on May 20, 2014, 07:19
The bottom line in Health Physics is " mismanagement on their part does not make it a crisis on our part. We do what when can when we can. The more experience you have the easier it is to juggle multiple jobs. That being said it is up to the individual tech to accept the degree of risk they are comfortable with.
Remember in our line of work every day is another career ending opportunity.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: BetaAnt on May 20, 2014, 09:05
At least three happened this year (see fallen). Two of the three plants are not down South. One tech was found dead the next shift in the RCA. One tech found at his hotel room. And the last collapsed after a drywell jump (he was out at the smoking area). The injured are never recorded.

Death by 'budget restraint' is a poor epitaph on a headstone.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: btkeele on May 21, 2014, 09:26
I think you are being dishonest in blaming the plants for these deaths...and the industry as well...

Go off on all the rants that you want but leave other people out of it, especially those who cannot defend themselves.   Do you think these fine people would have worked any different if they were in another industry?
NO!   I think you owe them and their family and friends an apology...
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: hoghunter on May 21, 2014, 07:19
I think you are being dishonest in blaming the plants for these deaths...and the industry as well...

Go off on all the rants that you want but leave other people out of it, especially those who cannot defend themselves.   Do you think these fine people would have worked any different if they were in another industry?
NO!   I think you owe them and their family and friends an apology...



Amen!! well said! I've been in the Nuke world for years and have not seen anyone let go or punished due stopping job for over heating or any other physical reason.We are our own enemy and have to realize as we get older our limits, some push from pride others from job scared or other reasons.To say outages are killing us is far from true.we can't be sure of tomorrow.People die everyday on jobs such as                Micky-D's,Walmart and so on, thats life. We don't need to as J-Fox said play a blaming game and keep in mind those you talking about has family's so please be respectfull
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: radbrat on May 22, 2014, 01:28




 



More of my fellow 3.1 techs have died during outage this year than ever before. I have notice more techs falling out (heat exhaustion) than usual. Understaffed and overworked??? I know the 3.1 tech avg. age is 50+.

 Clue # 1 Yes some of us are getting older.



Amen!! well said! I've been in the Nuke world for years and have not seen anyone let go or punished due stopping job for over heating or any other physical reason.We are our own enemy and have to realize as we get older our limits, some push from pride others from job scared or other reasons.To say outages are killing us is far from true.we can't be sure of tomorrow.People die everyday on jobs such as                Micky-D's,Walmart and so on, thats life. We don't need to as J-Fox said play a blaming game and keep in mind those you talking about has family's so please be respectfull

Maybe true, you just don't get invited back for future outages. In the 33 years I've been doing outages as a rent a wreck, and the 52 ManRem lifetime dose I've acquired....I am going to safely say that half of it is because they always call out the more experienced tech to avoid problems and outage delays...and more recently its because they have people that refuse to perform work because it falls outside their comfort zone. As an observation I've noticed a trend in that 33% of the HP techs are what I call the lower tier. Ones that are medically challenged or so inexperienced that holding their hand during an outage is non-productive. Warm bodies with a pulse that perform control point duties, routine surveys and minor job coverage. Then there's the upper 33& that are more than capable, experienced, usually >7 yrs HP time, and are willing to dress out in respirators and plastics to go anywhere in the plant and do their job. A lot of these people are also in the middle age or greater, so its damned if you do damned if you don't when it comes to risk. The middle 33% can join either tier as time goes by. There's another 1% out there but they are at the bar challenging ffd.
I think you are being dishonest in blaming the plants for these deaths...and the industry as well...

Go off on all the rants that you want but leave other people out of it, especially those who cannot defend themselves.   Do you think these fine people would have worked any different if they were in another industry?
NO!   I think you owe them and their family and friends an apology...

This sounds like a "rant"
Clue # 2
This is only an observation.








Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: BetaAnt on May 22, 2014, 01:48
Blame the culture or the corporate mindset. We do not want to stop or delay jobs.

I made the first layoff list by raising a confined space issue (worker grinding I/S a 24in. unventilated pipe). "We've always done it that way" was matched with "Why do you want to stop work? You do want to work, don't you?".

Seeing a boilermaker caught in gas explosion (using a leaking MAPP gas handtorch to dry-off a pre-heater tubesheet - permitted confined space) changes your view on safety.

I guess the young kids have never answered the disability identification form. How many techs have shown up to work barely functioning due to severe flu - The Crud? Some techs will not take the pay cut (OT $'s) to get well or see a doctor. The limited work techs are RIF'd or not rehired.

Two of the three techs were friends of mine. Both were hard workers and were known for superior pushing-the-envelope performance. I will miss them. They were good people. If more techs were available to share the work load, would the outcome have been any different?

To get the plant back online, management will push the schedule (no time pressure, hell). Management views RP as an impediment to the schedule and will beatdown the RPM to stretch manpower or pressure the crafts to continue or start work without RP coverage; RP can catchup their work. "RP doesn't do anything" is the OCC and senior plant management mindset.

Management is fixated on shortening the outage. Performing 48 days of work in 28 days (layoff at day 21). The new AP1000's will have a 14 day outage window. I will be working D&D on all the old plants. No time pressure there.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: GLW on May 22, 2014, 02:30
Blame the culture or the corporate mindset. We do not want to stop or delay jobs.

nobody "wants" to stop or delay jobs, it does happen though,...

..... "Why do you want to stop work? You do want to work, don't you?".....

That would be a "chilling" statement, the NRC would be interested in that statement, perhaps you could report it,...


....Seeing a boilermaker caught in gas explosion (using a leaking MAPP gas handtorch to dry-off a pre-heater tubesheet - permitted confined space) changes your view on safety....


I don't remember that O.E., can you reference the nuke plant where it happened and when?


....I guess the young kids have never answered the disability identification form. How many techs have shown up to work barely functioning due to severe flu - The Crud? Some techs will not take the pay cut (OT $'s) to get well or see a doctor.....


FFD is a personal responsibility, unless we are proposing that a site nurse or PA screen all workers prior to the start of shift and clear those workers as FFD, I'm not sure how this example is part of an improper corporate mindset,...



...Two of the three techs were friends of mine. Both were hard workers and were known for superior pushing-the-envelope performance. I will miss them. They were good people. If more techs were available to share the work load, would the outcome have been any different? ....


Three of my close colleagues have passed on in the recent past and I know for a fact that all three enjoyed sexual relations with the same woman (not at the same time - I'm pretty sure) within the last ten years,...

I'm having every bit as difficult a time justifying an obviously flawed cause for their demises as I do the notion that more techs standing around the refuel floor will assure other techs live past their fated number of days,...


....To get the plant back online, management will push the schedule (no time pressure, hell). Management views RP as an impediment to the schedule and will beatdown the RPM to stretch manpower or pressure the crafts to continue or start work without RP coverage; RP can catchup their work. "RP doesn't do anything" is the OCC and senior plant management mindset....


This is a very old saw which has always been in the background for as long as I have been in the picture and I'm sure it was before also,...

There is undoubtedly some truth somewhere at some time for this saw, then again, I'm sure operators, riggers, boilermakers, shippers, carpenters, machinists, IH, I&C et al have a similar perception about their work at some time or the other,...

i.e.,....RPs are not special snowflakes,...

.........I will be working D&D on all the old plants. No time pressure there.

well,.....I have DnD'd seven old plants,...

no time pressure?!?!?!?,....BS!!!!!!

you have just been fortunate to have held low expectation jobs at these old plant DnDs where wether you performed on time and as needed did not matter to any measurable consequence for the project's success,...

me and my colleagues?!?!?!,.....not so much,.... [coffee]
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on May 23, 2014, 08:34
Whether it is mismanagement or under staffing, we just do not have time for breaks anymore.  In my last 15 day outage I usually was up and running all 12 except for the morning meeting and the usual 15 minute lunch break.  I am not complaining, it beats being unemployed but I was glad to get laid off just to get a break.  Money-wise these short outages with small bonuses make me apply for long term sites.  I know we have competition with gas plants now and management is under the gun to get the plant back on line.  I do so much running up stairs, then to the basement and back I don't have to go to a gym anymore, and lost weight from my last outage season.  This is probably the new way business will be run and if you don't like it and don't have buddies to get you a light duty, time to find something else to do.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: radbrat on May 23, 2014, 08:57
Boy..If we can keep from bashing or "ranting" each other and keep Marlin the maleficent out of here we could let off some steam. I worked an outage out east last fall and burned up ~4 miles/day running up and down stairs providing for the outage efficiency and developed plantar fastidious in both feet. Not knowing what it was at first, I whined in the office and...to my surprise...ALL the returnee ctmnt techs knew what it was and the remedies. I hadn't been to this plant since 85' and back then we had a tech for each floor in ctmnt (4). There was only two of us and on the other techs day off...you got screwed. "Do more for less"
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Marlin on May 23, 2014, 10:34
Boy..If we can keep from bashing or "ranting" each other and keep Marlin the maleficent out of here we could let off some steam. I worked an outage out east last fall and burned up ~4 miles/day running up and down stairs providing for the outage efficiency and developed plantar fastidious in both feet. Not knowing what it was at first, I whined in the office and...to my surprise...ALL the returnee ctmnt techs knew what it was and the remedies. I hadn't been to this plant since 85' and back then we had a tech for each floor in ctmnt (4). There was only two of us and on the other techs day off...you got screwed. "Do more for less"


(http://img3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100402161911/lotr/images/f/f5/Eye_of_sauron.jpg)
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: hamsamich on May 23, 2014, 05:06
Sounds like north anna
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: GLW on May 23, 2014, 05:43
Here’s my observation and sorta what sticks in my "hmmmm craw" about these ruminations,…

Let’s take a trip back to the 1980’s when most of the techs who are the subject matter of this thread were somewhere between 25 and 35 years of age,…

How many times have I listened to these old war horses tell war stories relating how the contemporary techs have no idea what it was like to pull a six hour stint dressed out in plastics or a bubble suit, breathing stale forced air while pissing in your boot during a mondo generator jump?!?!?!?

It was the time of Randy Savage, Hulksters, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Die Hard, Cyborg, Robocop and mondo macho RP techs if you listen to the tales and the stories,...

And then I read this:

...I hadn't been to this plant since 85' and back then we had a tech for each floor in ctmnt (4). There was only two of us and on the other techs day off...you got screwed. "Do more for less"

........In my last 15 day outage I usually was up and running all 12 except for the morning meeting and the usual 15 minute lunch break.....

So what is it?!?!?!

Were the current gaggle of greater than half a centuries really spheres to the vertical surface monster techs in their prime?!?!?!

Or were they a bunch of pampered wussies working three in and three out with company sponsored keggers and hundred dollar cheeseburgers getting ‘em through the horror of being dressed out 50% of the time, then running the cribbage board the other 50%?!?!?!

‘cause they way I’m reading it today; yesterday was a walk in the park, and now it’s bust ‘em down and ship ‘em out with no breaks between,…

A 15 minute lunch break as SOP each and every day of work?!?!?!

If you say so,…

Maybe it's a Region 2 thing,...

I'm just saying,... [coffee]
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: GLW on May 23, 2014, 06:15
@ BetaAnt,...

thanks for the PM,.... ugly stuff,... +K
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on May 24, 2014, 11:02
Here’s my observation and sorta what sticks in my "hmmmm craw" about these ruminations,…

Let’s take a trip back to the 1980’s when most of the techs who are the subject matter of this thread were somewhere between 25 and 35 years of age,…

How many times have I listened to these old war horses tell war stories relating how the contemporary techs have no idea what it was like to pull a six hour stint dressed out in plastics or a bubble suit, breathing stale forced air while pissing in your boot during a mondo generator jump?!?!?!?

It was the time of Randy Savage, Hulksters, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Die Hard, Cyborg, Robocop and mondo macho RP techs if you listen to the tales and the stories,...



And then I read this:

So what is it?!?!?!

Were the current gaggle of greater than half a centuries really spheres to the vertical surface monster techs in their prime?!?!?!

Or were they a bunch of pampered wussies working three in and three out with company sponsored keggers and hundred dollar cheeseburgers getting ‘em through the horror of being dressed out 50% of the time, then running the cribbage board the other 50%?!?!?!

‘cause they way I’m reading it today; yesterday was a walk in the park, and now it’s bust ‘em down and ship ‘em out with no breaks between,…

A 15 minute lunch break as SOP each and every day of work?!?!?!

If you say so,…

Maybe it's a Region 2 thing,...

I'm just saying,... [coffee]

AH, I miss the 3 in/out days, probably gone forever.  People are not getting cool downs and I saw more heat stress then in the past.  The being essential "dogged" the entire 12 did not bug me as much as the tiny bonuses for constellation sites.  Excelon pays you at least for ruining your health.  I used to like the 84's like at Peach Bottom; however, actually working hard without a day off eventually gets to you and you end up with a "sick" day off instead to recuperate.  I think it has to do with who you are.  Some can still line up cushy spots like the step off pads, yet most places a senior will not be wasted there.  So it comes down to it expect to work. . .work. . .work at outages as the rule, not the exception.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: chuckdhuff on May 24, 2014, 01:36
So from all the ranting this is what I have summarized:

Nuke outages are becoming more like a real world job, where you have to work hard from whistle to whistle and actually earn you paycheck.

Short lunch breaks, when/if you can get them in.

Maybe we will come close to being competitive again as we reduce the labor hours paid for the "Hurry up and wait."
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Rad Bimmer on May 24, 2014, 06:28
I agree but disagree at the same time. Yea there are some plants out there that understaff and overwork people and yes the average age of an RP these days are 50+years old, but the problem is that RP techs fail to take care of themselves health wise. They eat alot of junk and processed foods and that in itself worsens their health and puts a damper on their performance. I worked an outage 6 years ago where an RP fell and died instantly but he was also severely overweight. Safety personnel fail miserably in preaching proper nutrition to us RP's and the industry as a whole. You can also factor in the cost of healthcare which is on the rise even with the ACA being implemented, there have been no differences in prices and its all going up and may possibly bankrupt that industry as a whole where we the people will be paying  for the bailout of that industry to come. I personally eat as much organic as i can and exercise faithfully and maintain great health because i think the best person to take care of your health and you is YOU and not some beauracratic govt.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: HydroDave63 on May 24, 2014, 08:36
Nuke outages are becoming more like a real world job, where you have to work hard from whistle to whistle and actually earn you paycheck.

Not many other 'real world jobs' include prolonged heat stress exposure coupled with up and down lots of stairs (especially BWRs). Those that do, like ironworking and other construction trades, are listed as #5 and #10 on the '10 Deadliest Jobs List'.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/22/americas-10-deadliest-jobs-2/ (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/22/americas-10-deadliest-jobs-2/)

Short lunch breaks, when/if you can get them in.

Which means, if the outage workers aren't getting adequate breaks, how can the utility credibly claim that they are properly hydrated and not under heat stress.


Of course there is a variety of causal factors, including health, lifestyle, etc. , but in 'real world jobs' where there is a death on the job site, OSHA goes to the jobsite and investigates. Since OSHA inspectors can't/don't/won't go into nuclear power plants and NRC can't/don't/won't enforce industrial hygiene, then that stuff in the OSHA Tech Manual like http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_4.html (http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_4.html) gets ignored.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: UncaBuffalo on May 25, 2014, 11:10
Not many other 'real world jobs' include prolonged heat stress exposure coupled with up and down lots of stairs (especially BWRs).

Exactly!   :(

FFD is a personal responsibility, unless we are proposing that a site nurse or PA screen all workers prior to the start of shift and clear those workers as FFD...

Great idea!  And not a new one.  For several years now, Diablo Canyon has required every worker going into a heat stress environment to clear medical prior to work.  I'd love to see every plant implement that practice.

Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Roll Tide on May 25, 2014, 05:52
I love 3 in and 3 out.  :D
Just get an SRO License, and don't run when they look for someone to qualify Refuel SRO / FHS.  8)
And then take a stick and drive away all the potential replacements, and then you too can be with the only licensed operators that even own scrubs...  ;D
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Marlin on May 25, 2014, 05:55
I agree but disagree at the same time. Yea there are some plants out there that understaff and overwork people and yes the average age of an RP these days are 50+years old, but the problem is that RP techs fail to take care of themselves health wise. They eat alot of junk and processed foods and that in itself worsens their health and puts a damper on their performance. I worked an outage 6 years ago where an RP fell and died instantly but he was also severely overweight. Safety personnel fail miserably in preaching proper nutrition to us RP's and the industry as a whole. You can also factor in the cost of healthcare which is on the rise even with the ACA being implemented, there have been no differences in prices and its all going up and may possibly bankrupt that industry as a whole where we the people will be paying  for the bailout of that industry to come. I personally eat as much organic as i can and exercise faithfully and maintain great health because i think the best person to take care of your health and you is YOU and not some beauracratic govt.

...Mostly on the mark but a "24 safety culture" and "wellness programs" are very problematic for companies who provide staff augmentation personnel for short term work.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: GLW on May 25, 2014, 08:13
.... Safety personnel fail miserably in preaching proper nutrition to us RP's and the industry as a whole.......

I'm smart enough to know how to eat properly on my own,... [coffee]

Next someone'll be harping how they fail miserably in preaching proper screwing partner selection,...[whistle]

(sic)
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: GLW on May 25, 2014, 08:22
FFD is a personal responsibility, unless we are proposing that a site nurse or PA screen all workers prior to the start of shift and clear those workers as FFD, I'm not sure how this example is part of an improper corporate mindset,...


Great idea!  And not a new one.  For several years now, Diablo Canyon has required every worker going into a heat stress environment to clear medical prior to work.  I'd love to see every plant implement that practice.


Is it?!?!?!

I would have to understand how that is implemented,...

If it is a condition of employment for all RP techs that would be fair, as I see it,...

If it segregates the techs into the healthy $36/hour techs spending 2/3 of their time dressed out in high heat cycles and then the unhealthy $36/hr techs sucking up the air conditioning at access for 2/3 of their time,...

not so much,...

but you did twist this thread into a good direction with that post Unc,...

back to the notion of what is "fair?",...

that notion keeps the contract RP ranks a polyglot of "highest bidder mercs" and makes forays at organizing, standardizing and/or consolidating those ranks akin to herding cats,...

BZ's general observation on Internet forums/threads etal, By the 5th post in any thread it starts drifting off topic. By 12 to 15 it has nothing to do with the original topic and if it surives to 30 or so it magically gets back on topic. This applies almost everywhere.

Mike

...guilty as charged...
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: HydroDave63 on May 26, 2014, 02:59
Next someone'll be harping how they fail miserably in preaching proper screwing partner selection,...[whistle]
(sic)

0:56 to 1:45, then 2:49 to the end
[/youtube]

On-topic:

"I would have to understand how that is implemented,...

If it is a condition of employment for all RP techs that would be fair, as I see it,...

If it segregates the techs into the healthy $36/hour techs spending 2/3 of their time dressed out in high heat cycles and then the unhealthy $36/hr techs sucking up the air conditioning at access for 2/3 of their time,...
"

So perhaps there are two choices:

A) The physical hazards should be written into the position description, identify the bona fide condition of employment, and perform physicals (including treadmill cardiac stress testing) to ensure all hired meet the standards for this hazardous work.

-or-

B) A smidgen more staffing to allow more breaks for those doing heat stress exposure work, a Heat Stress monitor at the work location etc. Folks may appreciate that the site cares for their well-being, and productivity increases.

 [2cents]
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on May 27, 2014, 05:40

On-topic:

"I would have to understand how that is implemented,...

If it is a condition of employment for all RP techs that would be fair, as I see it,...

If it segregates the techs into the healthy $36/hour techs spending 2/3 of their time dressed out in high heat cycles and then the unhealthy $36/hr techs sucking up the air conditioning at access for 2/3 of their time,...
"

So perhaps there are two choices:

A) The physical hazards should be written into the position description, identify the bona fide condition of employment, and perform physicals (including treadmill cardiac stress testing) to ensure all hired meet the standards for this hazardous work.

-or-

B) A smidgen more staffing to allow more breaks for those doing heat stress exposure work, a Heat Stress monitor at the work location etc. Folks may appreciate that the site cares for their well-being, and productivity increases.

 [2cents]


I remember back as recently as 2006 they used to require full physicals to find that out ostensibly to qualify for respirators, when, in reality, it would weed out those with high blood pressure, and morbidly obese from site.  To save money they simply stopped doing medical exams except for respirator only, a much lighter requirement.  Not requiring this results in the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, where someone with a disability that can be reasonably accommodated upon arrival at a job, keeping them from the 6 hour jumps in full plastics.  You can't set up a job requirement criteria for only the worst possible job assignment for all workers unless that is the reasonable requirement for all, like at some DOE sites with no engineering controls requiring all to be in respirators all the time.  Somebody could sue if you exclude them when accommodations are possible.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: GLW on May 27, 2014, 07:11
I remember back as recently as 2006 they used to require full physicals to find that out ostensibly to qualify for respirators, when, in reality, it would weed out those with high blood pressure, and morbidly obese from site.  To save money they simply stopped doing medical exams except for respirator only, a much lighter requirement.  Not requiring this results in the implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, where someone with a disability that can be reasonably accommodated upon arrival at a job, keeping them from the 6 hour jumps in full plastics.  You can't set up a job requirement criteria for only the worst possible job assignment for all workers unless that is the reasonable requirement for all, like at some DOE sites with no engineering controls requiring all to be in respirators all the time.  Somebody could sue if you exclude them when accommodations are possible.

so then the grumbling about fewer people pulling work in high heat environments for longer shifts has little to do with the company's prerogatives,...

it is the ADA which essentially compels a company to accommodate as many unfit people as possible, thus transferring the burden of the physically demanding work to those who are fit, while paying everybody, fit and unfit, the same wage for different performance expectations,...

am I getting your explanation correct?




did you catch my spelling on that 1st attempt?!?,....that'll teach me to type before coffee,...(sic),... [coffee]
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Jr8black3 on May 27, 2014, 08:25
I believe everybody knows there limits, I know to this day still I can be pushed pretty hard, but I also know that if Im getting tired or not feeling good I can always go to a supervisor and say hey not today, and never get any back lash from it..I have first hand seen a guy go down in a Rx. Cavity, he didn't make the flight home the way we all did. It sucked. It was pushed from Management and Supervision, cause it was a critical path activity, I have not been back to that plant since 96..That job was a SOB..
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: chuckdhuff on May 27, 2014, 08:44
Not many other 'real world jobs' include prolonged heat stress exposure coupled with up and down lots of stairs (especially BWRs). Those that do, like ironworking and other construction trades, are listed as #5 and #10 on the '10 Deadliest Jobs List'.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/22/americas-10-deadliest-jobs-2/ (http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacquelynsmith/2013/08/22/americas-10-deadliest-jobs-2/)

Which means, if the outage workers aren't getting adequate breaks, how can the utility credibly claim that they are properly hydrated and not under heat stress.


Of course there is a variety of causal factors, including health, lifestyle, etc. , but in 'real world jobs' where there is a death on the job site, OSHA goes to the jobsite and investigates. Since OSHA inspectors can't/don't/won't go into nuclear power plants and NRC can't/don't/won't enforce industrial hygiene, then that stuff in the OSHA Tech Manual like http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_4.html (http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_4.html) gets ignored.
Exactly!   :(
Well here is my list of jobs that I would rate as more strenuous than Nuclear Plants.
1. Residential/Commercial Construction - No. 4 on your list
2. New build fossil plants, i.e. coal, gas, or ethanol
3. Fossil plant outages
4. Pipeline work
5. Process Plants, i.e. paper mills, plastic production, etc.
6. Chemical plants
7. Oil rig platforms, or oil field work
9. Commercial boats, i.e. fishing, tug, or transport - No. 2 on your list
10. Natural Gas fracking sites
11. Large operation bridge and road crews - No. 10 on your list, maybe?

Only three on my list correspond with your quoted list of 10. I'm not trying to downplay the work or it's importance. I'm just saying it isn't as hard as some make it out to be. More physically demanding than an accountant? Yes, but that is apples and oranges. Compared to other Industrial Construction jobs nuke plants are the safest which makes it easier work.  [2cents]
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: chuckdhuff on May 27, 2014, 08:50
I agree but disagree at the same time. Yea there are some plants out there that understaff and overwork people and yes the average age of an RP these days are 50+years old, but the problem is that RP techs fail to take care of themselves health wise. They eat alot of junk and processed foods and that in itself worsens their health and puts a damper on their performance. I worked an outage 6 years ago where an RP fell and died instantly but he was also severely overweight. Safety personnel fail miserably in preaching proper nutrition to us RP's and the industry as a whole. You can also factor in the cost of healthcare which is on the rise even with the ACA being implemented, there have been no differences in prices and its all going up and may possibly bankrupt that industry as a whole where we the people will be paying  for the bailout of that industry to come. I personally eat as much organic as i can and exercise faithfully and maintain great health because i think the best person to take care of your health and you is YOU and not some beauracratic govt.

The ACA is the primary reason healthcare costs are on the rise. Who do you think is paying for the "free" health insurance for those individuals that can not pay for their own?
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Rennhack on May 27, 2014, 12:01
Who do you think is paying for the "free" health insurance for those individuals that can not pay for their own?

I am.

By the way, this is getting political, and will have to be moved to the Gold Member area where political topics are discussed, if it does not swing back to the original topic, and away from politics.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: radbrat on May 27, 2014, 02:12
Well here is my list of jobs that I would rate as more strenuous than Nuclear Plants.
1. Residential/Commercial Construction - No. 4 on your list
2. New build fossil plants, i.e. coal, gas, or ethanol
3. Fossil plant outages
4. Pipeline work
5. Process Plants, i.e. paper mills, plastic production, etc.
6. Chemical plants
7. Oil rig platforms, or oil field work
9. Commercial boats, i.e. fishing, tug, or transport - No. 2 on your list
10. Natural Gas fracking sites
11. Large operation bridge and road crews - No. 10 on your list, maybe?

Only three on my list correspond with your quoted list of 10. I'm not trying to downplay the work or it's importance. I'm just saying it isn't as hard as some make it out to be. More physically demanding than an accountant? Yes, but that is apples and oranges. Compared to other Industrial Construction jobs nuke plants are the safest which makes it easier work.  [2cents]

Actually this list is comparing apples to oranges....
These are..IIRC... a list of dangerous occupations and the mortality rates.
Nuke power may be a lot safer...but it doesn't mean it is less strenuous...especially for the older tech's and the obstacles they have to overcome due to the current mandate of shorter outages and fewer tech's.
Here’s my observation and sorta what sticks in my "hmmmm craw" about these ruminations,…

Let’s take a trip back to the 1980’s when most of the techs who are the subject matter of this thread were somewhere between 25 and 35 years of age,…

How many times have I listened to these old war horses tell war stories relating how the contemporary techs have no idea what it was like to pull a six hour stint dressed out in plastics or a bubble suit, breathing stale forced air while pissing in your boot during a mondo generator jump?!?!?!?

It was the time of Randy Savage, Hulksters, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Die Hard, Cyborg, Robocop and mondo macho RP techs if you listen to the tales and the stories,...

And then I read this:

So what is it?!?!?!

Were the current gaggle of greater than half a centuries really spheres to the vertical surface monster techs in their prime?!?!?!

Or were they a bunch of pampered wussies working three in and three out with company sponsored keggers and hundred dollar cheeseburgers getting ‘em through the horror of being dressed out 50% of the time, then running the cribbage board the other 50%?!?!?!

‘circa 1981 IRM school of cool, da luders.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: SloGlo on May 27, 2014, 02:30
having done my first outage in moor than a decade, I can say their where rough moments, the first third of the outage comes two mind. they're normal work frames, like the middle. the last third was a bit stressful, after slugs hit the hi-way four the next lettuce bin.
understaffed? yes. killing anybuddy? no. the weigh aye remember outage work? yes n no, same old work, lots more front line management ala job briefers, a.l.a.r.a. reps, etc. wasn't bad, butt eye am still buying mega millions and power ball tix.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Rad Bimmer on May 27, 2014, 06:13
I am.

By the way, this is getting political, and will have to be moved to the Gold Member area where political topics are discussed, if it does not swing back to the original topic, and away from politics.

Sorry Rennhack. Im not a gold member lol but i think i got a very good point across. Yea there are some political points to it but the major point is safety and health of the workers
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: chuckdhuff on Jun 06, 2014, 05:30
Actually this list is comparing apples to oranges....
These are..IIRC... a list of dangerous occupations and the mortality rates.
Nuke power may be a lot safer...but it doesn't mean it is less strenuous...especially for the older tech's and the obstacles they have to overcome due to the current mandate of shorter outages and fewer tech's.

I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this. For me, aside from the rad protection and enhanced quality requirements, work at fossil and process plants isn't any different than work at a nuclear power plant. Pipe is pipe, valves are valves, and breakers are breakers. The ultimate goal at all of them is to get the repairs and modifications done as quickly as possible so you can get back to production. The parameters of the shut down may vary depending on the facility, but the maintenance is the same. It doesn't really matter if you are producing electricity or plastic cups.  [2cents]


Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: BetaAnt on Jun 06, 2014, 11:57
A perception problem between crafts and RP are the hours worked. The crafts are done at the end of shift or when relief shows up. RP is done when and if relief shows up and the survey is at least started (if not done). And in those times when your workers get contaminated, you have to survey to show who, how, and why you failed your job. Then you get reprimanded because of too many hours. It is easy to work those 14-16 hr. shifts.

Then safety becomes lip service. A job scope is to lay out the parameters for worker and equipment safety. But, how many jobs have started w/o all the boxes checked and departments informed (i.e. calling RP after the system breach and several gallons of RCS is in the floor)?

The nature of the nuclear beast has changed and most techs have a lack of 'give a s#!t' attitude.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Skypuppy on May 06, 2015, 03:37
When one gets so-so pay in a high-stress, high-output job, and are treated overall like scum, it is very difficult to retain a good attitude.  It is impossible to maintain a positive attitude after about the second or third week (if you're in your 20's!) of 6 and 7 12-hour days per week.  At that point, you are physically and mentally exhausted and the bank account is not increased by very much.  If you're 50+ you know a bout more about maintaining cash reserves but you must do so because of the parcity of outages per year coupled with the extremely short (compared to the old norm of 3 months) outages of today. 
It just ain't a winning proposition for any age.
My worst ever contract, money-wise, was 9 DAYS, and had a 1,300 mile drive each way to get there.  The staffing vendor failed to tell me their outage was almost over.  I actually lost money on that one.

All in all, rent-a-tech'ing is a hard life.

I don't know why anyone does it.  I only did it for 12 years, and 2 years of that was management, and 3 years was engineering.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on May 07, 2015, 12:41
The problem with the getting older population just have to know when it is time to hang up the rad gloves.  If they don't, and management doesn't speak up, you will have people die at the job.  It can appear unsafe only because the workers aren't what they were in their 20's and 30's like in the Navy.  The problem is it is hard to train senior HP's who aren't also senior citizens with such short outages.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: SloGlo on May 07, 2015, 09:34
The problem is it is hard to train senior HP's who aren't also senior citizens with such short outages.
wotinell? yins training sr hps? this a remedial coarse oar are yew upgrading jrs? is it moor ez two train senior citizens too bee sr HPs than it is to train a jr hp whose yer jr in years?
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on May 07, 2015, 10:27
Many younger Sr. HP's resent senior citizen HP's who can't do what the younger do physically, like the are overpaid if they can't climb up and down the five set of stairs or they can't wear a respirator.  Maybe they have a good argument.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Old HP on May 08, 2015, 09:51
Content you do have a point in regard to some of the "Senior" Techs and their physical limitations.
However I have also experienced a very high number of Junior and younger Senior Techs that cannot climb ladders, wear respirators or work in high heat areas.
So maybe there should be a physical ability test as part of the in processing process at each outage.
What is your time for a 2 mile run ?
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on May 08, 2015, 01:51
Content you do have a point in regard to some of the "Senior" Techs and their physical limitations.
However I have also experienced a very high number of Junior and younger Senior Techs that cannot climb ladders, wear respirators or work in high heat areas.
So maybe there should be a physical ability test as part of the in processing process at each outage.
What is your time for a 2 mile run ?

I don't run.  That is why most techs used to be ex-navy, where the Navy passed them physically and if you hired one, it was a good bet they were in good health.  They may have to reinstitute health checks good for the year from the persons own doctor (Physicals are supposedly free under Obamacare) or by the company when they arrive.  Many who can't perform can't pass the physical; however, there are some who may pass the technical physical but can't climb stairs or be in extreme heat.  I guess it is up to the client who could claim they cannot make reasonable accommodations to some disabled.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Marlin on May 08, 2015, 02:51
That is why most techs used to be ex-navy, where the Navy passed them physically and if you hired one, it was a good bet they were in good health. 

 :o Really  :o

Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Mike McFarlin on May 08, 2015, 05:07
Experience can't be bought!
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: SloGlo on May 08, 2015, 06:32
yew used two be able to free climb to get to a valve sew the scaffologists could build and maintenance could start they're work, butt know more. at won time, running stairs was a desirable attribute for a rover to have. their were many tex who wood climb down into the cavity with a 6112b over one shoulder, an ro2a over the other, and carry the hi vol with one hand wile doing it. watts the cents in physical fitness if their isn't an application four it anymore?
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Rerun on May 08, 2015, 08:11
My favorite part is the physically fit Navy guys
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on May 08, 2015, 10:10
yew used two be able to free climb to get to a valve sew the scaffologists could build and maintenance could start they're work, butt know more. at won time, running stairs was a desirable attribute for a rover to have. their were many tex who wood climb down into the cavity with a 6112b over one shoulder, an ro2a over the other, and carry the hi vol with one hand wile doing it. watts the cents in physical fitness if their isn't an application four it anymore?
When I first went to McGuire some younger HP tried to wear me out during a tour of their strange containment.  He went as fast as he could and back then I could follow.  He did carry a high vol in one hand while climbing a 30 foot ladder, along with the other instruments on a strap.  I told him you should not climb a ladder that way and used a rope to lift my high vol..  I was like an old guy even back in 2006.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: OldHP on May 09, 2015, 01:22
That is why most techs used to be ex-navy,

Wrong!  Even today less than 30% are 'former navy nuke (ELT)'

When I first went to McGuire some younger HP tried to wear me out during a tour of their strange containment.

It is an 'Ice Condenser" Plant, tight containment, tighter after TMI!  You should have been there when we started it up!  The only 30 foot ladder went to the polar crane, the rest were max 15 foot!
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: SpringChinook on Jun 20, 2015, 06:51
And where are these plants you are referring to? I like to think we do things a little different here at Columbia.

I agree with the fatigue rule being a "joke"...........for the most part.

I don't believe Columbia is like that...
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Bonds 25 on Jun 20, 2015, 04:12
While I'm not sure if we "overworked" any Techs from a technical standpoint, but I'm certainly not happy about how incredibly understaffed we were this outage. The main issue was the constant taking of Techs from one undermanned control point and sending them to another control point that was even more undermanned. We were at least 20 Techs short of what I would consider an adequate amount of RP's. This has been documented almost daily and with a bit of luck will be addressed next outage (2017) via increased RP staffing budget.

We are also day 42 into our 42 (or 37 depending on who you ask) day outage.......and we have not even gone critical yet  >:(

I want to say thanks to all the Bartlett Techs for helping us out this outage. Your assistance was vital.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on Jun 20, 2015, 07:05
When I worked at Limerick in the turbine building the had 3 groups, who rotated with breaks, of specialty techs such electricians, welders, pipefitters etc. to me.  So I would work supporting cutting into contaminated equipment and did my own surveys solo, counting smears etc.  They would rotate with fresh people while I was constantly working.  I literally had to sneak out for a 20 minute lunch break including travel time.

Another time while working at North Anna I spent 11 out of 12 hours in containment because they  were short of people.

This was years ago, I see little changing as it is cheaper to overwork the HP's knowing most are a dedicated bunch than to hire enough to do the job safely.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: loki on Jun 22, 2015, 09:42
Sounds like you were deliberately working in an unsafe manor thus slapping bhi in the face. BAD TECH give back your bonus.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on Jun 23, 2015, 01:03
Sounds like you were deliberately working in an unsafe manor thus slapping bhi in the face. BAD TECH give back your bonus.

I mentioned it and I was told there was nothing they could do.  My choice then would have been to quit and lose unemployment and the get on Bartlett's double secret black list, then go beg for money to get home on a freeway off ramp.  You tell how you would have handled it better.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: chesnee on Jun 23, 2015, 01:45
It is real and I have seen it in action. Plants are understaffing more and more each year. I have seen it in the west and in the south. STP I spent an average of 10-11 hours in containment. There simply wasn't anyone else.... I like the people there but it is true. Saint Lucie you go there be prepared!!! That plant broke me down physically and mentally. Good people there though. And when I wasn't killing myself I enjoyed it there. Working at primarily those two plants for a few years because I liked the people, I forgot what 3 in and 3 out was like. UNTIL I went to Surry. I felt guilty because I actually was given breaks and cool down times. Other than having to follow lame dress policies.... that place was great. 
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: chesnee on Jun 23, 2015, 01:48
Forgot to mention because of understaffing and not being able to line up outages anymore.... I find myself working full time in a air conditioned lab.  ;) I might not make as much as outage work. But, this freaking rules compared to roadteching. Road tech for 12 years.
Title: Re: Are understaffed outages injuring techs?
Post by: Content1 on Jun 23, 2015, 03:43
Forgot to mention because of understaffing and not being able to line up outages anymore.... I find myself working full time in a air conditioned lab.  ;) I might not make as much as outage work. But, this freaking rules compared to roadteching. Road tech for 12 years.
A lot of macho guys like to almost brag how long they can work with no breaks, getting leads and supervisors used to overworking people who aren't so macho and making it hard for any to complain.  As long as the work gets done, like in the movies, "Gone with the Wind," the supervisors need a "Free hand" to use the people as they see fit.  As usual, if they can overwork you for 2 weeks then lay you off early, look at the money they are saving the client.  That is the new money-saving mindset.