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DHR - SAFETY ALERT MEMO 04-02

DATE: May 3, 2004

INCIDENT TYPE: Suspicious Object

LOCATION: District 3, Sacramento

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Electrical Repairs

THE ACCIDENT: On April 28, 2004, crewmembers of the District 3 Sunrise Electric & Sunrise Bridge crew boated out to the center of the river pier of the Pioneer Bridge. They had climbed to the catwalk of the fender system around the pier. As they were in the process of repairing the navigation lights on the fenders, they noticed a suspicious looking object in the debris on the catwalk at the North end of the fender system. The object was a piece of approximately 6 inch long X 2-1/2 inch wide PVC pipe with caps on both ends. It was wrapped with 2 wires (one black and one brown) and the wires were attached to two small 2 inch square black rubber watertight connectors that were partially buried in the debris. The suspicious looking object looked like a pipe bomb so they contacted their supervisor who in turn contacted 911and the CHP. The CHP responded and inspected the object and determined there was something in it. They wrapped it in a bomb blanket and removed it to a remote location where they X-rayed it and determined that it contained a small amount of flash powder. They then detonated it.

CONCLUSIONS: The CHP bomb squad said that it was basically a poor attempt by a unknowledgeable person to make a bomb but a very good call on the part of the Caltrans crews.

RECOMMENDATIONS: Don't ever hesitate to call on a suspicious object. It is better to be safe than sorry. All employees should be reminded of the proper procedures for handling suspicious items discovered during their work. Properly identify any material or object before handling, it may be hazardous. Also review your local list of people to contact when a suspicious item is discovered. The discovery of an explosive device (or any other potentially injurious item) should be treated in much the same manner as a hazardous materials spill. For the basics of hazardous materials response always remember the acronym SIN from first responder training:

S - Think Safety (first, last and always)
I - Safely attempt to Isolate and deny entry
N - Make proper Notifications and request resources

 

HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICES (916) 227-2640

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