Broadside

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Back in 2009, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) did an internal review of their company and the results were not by any means positive. The investigation revealed that 25% of the PG&E ground workforce was untrained or under-trained, as well as numerous employees were poorly informed about proper safety procedure, such as proper grounding. In several regions in which PG&E operates, untrained Supervisors lead untrained workers without actually supervising the workers, in many regions as many as 50% of supervisors actually supervised their ground crew less than an average of once a week. Communication between employees and supervisors is minimal at best. To top it off, workers that are unfit isn't properly addressed because their supervisors are usually unfit as well.

Due to the lack of supervision, ground workers are developing their own policies and procedures for how to do their jobs improperly because they never received adequate training in the first place. To top it all off, lack of safety training makes the likelihood of lower level employees being injured at their job a very common reality.

Why the fuck do I care?

There are several reasons you should care:

  1. This is already delicious drama due to the fact it is incredibly embarrassing for a company with nearly fifty billion dollars in assets, these documents expose that corruption and incompetence play a large part of business as usual for PG&E.
  2. This is only the tip of the iceberg. There will be subsequent leaks that are much more embarrassing and, more delicious.
  3. Considering the level of corruption and incompetence demonstrated as being a part of business as usual, it makes one think twice about what happened in the San Bruno Pipeline explosion. Was the explosion due to massive criminal negligence widespread throughout the corporation? Given the timing of this report (2009), the CEOs were clearly aware of the incompetence of 25% of their workforce. Did PG&E know ahead of time that the San Bruno Pipeline would blow up weeks beforehand, but couldn’t fix it due to their inabilities of their employees, and just kept their mouth shut? After all, they could always deny it and suppress any independent investigations through political pressure. For those who did complain, PG&E compensated victims of this unexpected tragedy.

Oh my, this is quite serious

The further leaks will be more relevant to the apathetic as the revelations in subsequent documents are more personal. However, for those who care about unreasonable exploitation of the employees and corrupt incompetence among public utilities corporations, these documents demonstrate that a general level of apathy towards employees by higher management because they can. Due to PG&E's average annual net income of 858 billion in 2011 and "Too-Big-to-Fail" status of being a public utilities company, this is serious "fuck you money". This combined level of money and power allows PG&E CEOs to not be concerned about the safety of their employees because if they no longer can work or die on the job, the employee can be quickly replaced, after all it is a recession, there is plenty of unskilled labor to be hired and quickly trained.

Choice Quotes of The Documents

   
 
Almost half of supervisors spend 25 percent or less of their time in the field. Complying with paperwork requirements, they say, inhibits their ability to properly facilitate safety on the jobsite.
 

 
 

—Supervisors are prevented from doing their properly job because of their workload. PDF Page 8

   
 
No formal leadership development exists for crew foremen. Additionally, the supervisor training currently available doesn’t effectively provide real-life decision making scenarios. A total of 34 percent of supervisors and 25 percent of foremen claim not have had the adequate training to perform their job. Some foremen don’t understand expectations surrounding making decisions in the field and/or their performance management of crew members.
 

 
 

—meritocratic capitalism at its finest: privatized utilities. PDF Page 8

   
 
The Safety Day at Cupertino was an interesting highlight during our project… This event provided insight about employee understanding of PG&E policy and procedure. For example, many of the employees had questions around protective grounding.
 

 
 

—Company wide improvements are easy to accomplish if your employees don't know how to not accidentally an hero. PDF Page 9

   
 
Almost 1 in 4 employees do not believe that there is an expectation to follow the ergonomics program even though Sprains/Strains is the most common type of OSHA recordable since 2007 accounting for more than 55% of all OSHAs.
 

 
 

—25% of people think that stretching is bad for you. PDF Page 17

   
 
Many locations have developed their own local practices with unwritten rules and, in some cases, even procedures and manuals. One employee commented that “if we follow all the rules, then the jobs will never be completed on time within schedule.” While this may be untrue, we need establish a consistent way to hold employees accountable to the same expectations throughout the system.”
 

 
 

how to justify not doing one’s job due to the job, even though you make up the rules yourself due to lack of supervision. PDF Page 55

   
 
Supervisors do not visit crews and jobsites as frequently as the 50% requirement in their job description. Some supervisors become consumed with administrative burdens affecting their ability to spend quality and adequate time with their crews. Compliance tracking, daily conference calls, ad hoc committees, meetings, and large geographic areas increase the difficulty for leadership to visit their crews.

In addition, employees and/or supervisors do not address or do not address correctly an employee that is unfit for duty. This is compounded with supervisors not having the training to properly address situations or being present to address situations and coach their foreman and employees to address and deal with situations where an employee may not be fit for duty.
 


 
 

—Now that is thinking with portals. PDF Page 58

   
 
Policies and procedures, purposes, and benefits are not clear nor communicated consistently. Employees often do not understand the WHY or the actual purpose of the communication because it is not clear nor documented in a simple, easy to comprehend manner. Employees also believe that many improvements are fads and will not last.
 

 
 

—"Oh yeah, streamlining industry by improving communication? That will never catch on.". PDF Page 60

   
 
With a high concentration of high profile customers, many facilities, and traffic in confined urban areas, Area 3 faces challenges unlike other Areas in PG&E’s service territory. Parts of Area 3 left a nostalgic sense of PG&E from 5-10 years ago when the bar for policy adherence was lower than it is today. We noticed a general sense of leadership not vigilantly ensuring policy adherence and often violating these policies. With respect to leadership, we did notice differences where some Supervisors had been in a position for years and provided stability where other yards had a high turnover with leadership creating a fragile state of stability.
 

 
 

Not even in areas of high visibility and supervision is discipline maintained “PDF Page 64”

   
 
(With respect to Area 3)

With respect to procedures, we observed a crew performing Rubber Glove work who needed more rubber on exposed energized conductors and second points of contact. While not a violation, we did perceive there was a lack of fundamental knowledge needed to perform their work. The crew visibly displayed angst and confusion while they struggled to execute their job.
 


 
 

—This is like Ayn Rand’s nightmare coming true, but with way less awkwardly written adultery. “PDF Page 65”

   
 
With 78% of Area 3 Supervisors spending 25% or less of their time in the field visiting crews, the Supervisors can not have the desired positive impact provided by crew visits.
 

 
 

ಠ_ಠ “PDF Page 65”

   
 
Area 4 presents a unique challenge as it represents the best and most challenged elements of PG&E’s safety culture. The coastal headquarters epitomize the essence of an optimal safety culture with stable leadership and an adherence to policies and procedures and their safety record supports these observations. On the other hand, the valley headquarters continue to face daily challenges maintaining a focus on safety and holding themselves personally accountable for safety among their crews.
 

 
 

— “PDF Page 66”

   
 
(With respect to Area 4)

During our visit, we observed several instances where PG&E policies were violated. These policies varied from wearing the wrong vest to not having eye protection to improper Protective Grounding. In addition, driving and parking policies were not always followed. For example, crews were observed driving without headlights and not using chocks on regulated vehicles. One of the more egregious violations observed were several instances where the “How’s my Driving” sticker had been removed. There was a general sense that some supervisors seemed reluctant to enforce basic PPE requirements. While standing with a Supervisor who had just finished sharing the PPE policy, we observed several employees passing by us who were clearly violating PPE policies and the Supervisor did not address the situation.
 


 
 

— Excellent behavior to display in front of Safety Regulators “PDF Page 66”

   
 
(With respect to Area 6)

During our visit, we observed several instances where PG&E policies and procedures were violated. These policies varied from wearing the wrong vest to using a cutting tool without gloves, vehicle chocking, cones, and vest policies not being followed. A stretch and flex program does not exist in most workgroups with the majority of fire extinguishers and first aid kits being expired. All of the employees have yet to receive grounding training and there is a lack of clarity and guidance on the scope of work for two man crews with some appearing to contradict safety policies…

Crews expressed a level of discomfort working for non traditional supervisors with communication between the supervisor and their crew differing with temporary supervisors compared with permanent supervisor. About half of supervisors do not visit field employees weekly, and lack of consistent leadership / revolving door means less direction, development and harder to build morale.
 


 
 

—PDF Page 67

   
 
(With respect to Area 6)

Inconsistent leadership remained a central theme during our visit in Area 6. Almost 70% of the Supervisors spend 25% or less of their time in the field and visit each crew once a week almost 60% of the time. Additionally, employees expressed a level of discomfort working for non traditional supervisors.
 


 
 

—PDF Page 68

   
 
(With respect to Area 7)

Observations during our visits identified a broad spectrum of non compliance of company policies and procedures. Some of the violations bordered on insubordination and illustrate a fundamental breakdown of leadership towards safety. There were multiple violations of PPE policy, and in one instance, a crew foreman who also happens to be a safety lead was addressed while working without gloves and having his sleeves rolled up. Within ten minutes, the same person was discovered using a knife without gloves and his sleeves were still rolled up. There is an inconsistency in regards to the following of vest, cone, and chocking of vehicles policies. During a discussion with one of the Supervisors, he was adamant that all of his crew wear the FR3 vest and wanted to ensure that we would wear that vest during our visits the following day. The next day when we arrived at the crew site, the crew foreman wore a long sleeve orange shirt and knew nothing of the FR3 requirement when we addressed the vest policy.
 


 
 

—PDF Page 68

   
 
(With respect to Area 7)

Site leadership still remains absent void in many cases. Supervisors still face difficulties when it comes to visiting crews in the field with almost half spending 25% or less of their time in the field. Many feel the emphasis put into complying with paperwork requirements inhibits their ability to properly facilitate safety on the jobsite. Additionally, the current scheduling process combined with non traditional Work Resource Coordinators hamper the effectiveness of job preparation with many instances of the hazards not being properly addressed. For instance, job site safety and compliance with ADA still needs attention. During several field visits, the team observed pedestrians walking through the job site and a lack of readiness for the volume of traffic at the worksite.
 


 
 

—PDF Page 69

   
 
Section: Gas Transmission

While we didn’t observe any major safety violations, some risks did present themselves during our visit. Specifically, contractors performing work near the compressor building did not use cones when they parked their vehicles. In addition, employees face the challenge of finding enough time to execute their work while transferring knowledge to new employees as evidenced with 1 in 3 employees feeling pressure to compromise safety for productivity. While not a direct factor, many employees did mention that the workforce had been reduced by 65% further reducing the opportunity for on the job training.
 


 
 

—PDF Page 69


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So why is Encyclopedia Dramatica hosting this?

As stated in the headliner for the Encyclopedia Dramatica article, our organization is a central catalog for organized reference pages about drama, memes, e-pals, and other interesting happenings on the internets. Given that the internet has manifested into the IRL, for better or for worse and vice versa, it is our duty to document drama wherever it emerges. Given that IRL drama is becoming so dramatic lately and with the timing that a large vacuum in media will be made as the corruption throughout Rupert Murdoch's media empire is exposed to be completely systemic, we feel that Encyclopedia Dramatica can rise up to claim a portion of that vacuum to deliver truly objective news and punditry: by being biased from all angles. These leaks are to prove that we are serious about this, now are you ready to be a "citizen journalist?"

What can I do?

Even if you have no motivation or desire to contribute to ED but want to support it as an organization, the best thing to do is utilize social networking. Twitter is a powerful tool, it allows thoughts to be shared in real-time, completely open to the world, as well as short and to the point. Think of it as a pool of floating ideas where the masses deem what is fit to be shared with the entire pool (for better or for worse). It also takes all of ten seconds to share a link to this on your Facebook/Twitter/whateverthehellelse account, so you have no real excuse not to you lazy fucker.

Despite independent objectives, does Broadside have anything to do with Project Mayhem?

Yes it does! We believe the current plan of dumping a large number of leaked documents within the time frame of a week (around December 21st) is going to drown out the individuality of each story and simply overload the media, much like what happened with Wikileaks. Such a massive infodump will be the news itself, not the content of each infodump. The only way for this to succeed as planned is if each story creeps out slowly between now and December 21st. There are two objectives of each infodump: First, is to embarrass, shame, and potentially arrest criminals and their cronies exposed through these leaks. Second, have so many infodumps, that the 2012 Presidential Debate is changed to discuss all these infodumps and see which American Presidential Candidate (and other politicians) are really about transparency. Encyclopedia Dramatica is willing to be a host for receiving infodumps, deciphering, and highlighting key points as infodumps are generally tl;dr for mass consumption and for those whom want their drama served directly in their faces.

The Leaks (PDF) itself!

More examples of PG&E covering things up and murdering whistleblowers

Are these just "conspiracies" or will there be leaks that go further into the corruption of PG&E? Only time will tell ;)

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Featured article August 7 & 8, 2012
Preceded by
Fae
Broadside Succeeded by
R. Lee Ermey