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B.C. Hydro preps for Games

By Philip Quinn

B.C. Hydro will keep the lights on during the 2010 Olympicand Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver by tapping into its clean hydroelectric grid system unlike previous winter Olympics where diesel generators suppliedmost of the power.

During the construction phase of the infrastructure requiredfor the Winter Games, B.C. Hydro workers will continue to treat safety as theirnumber one priority.

“We cannot work on anything unless we consider our safetypractice regulations,” says B.C. Hydro’s Neil Sharpe, general manager,operations, 2010 Olympic Initiative.

B.C. Hydro workers are typically scheduled for seven days ofsafety training each year which includes a review of the safety practiceregulations as well training in areas such as fall arrest.

Staff will undergo technical training for the Games which ismore related to work methods than specifically related to safety. But most ofthe equipment and infrastructure to be installed for the Games is “within thetype of system that we have today so all the training we do—fall arresttraining, working in confined spaces, working in an underground system—that’sall within our training development programs (and will apply),” explainsSharpe.

B.C. Hydro will have approximately 70 trades and fieldworkers on site daily during the Games.

“The events making up the Games run at different times ofthe day and our staff will be working different hours but not anything thatwould compromise their safe work performance,” says Sharpe. “Within ourcollective agreement and within our safe work programs we don’t work ouremployees any longer than a 16-hour shift.”

A major concern of any modern day Olympics is security, andsecurity training for B.C. Hydro staff will focus on how they will interactwith the military, fire and police and with ambulance crews in the event of asituation.

“The integrated security unit that is looking after theOlympics is working with critical infrastructure providers like B.C. Hydro todetermine what the needs are going to be in terms of security training,” saysAnn English, director, 2010 Olympic Initiative. “Potential scenarios andcontingency planning all those kinds of thing (are being considered) but it’sstill early days yet.”

In an emergency, whether security related or as a result ofsome other cause, B.C. Hydro staff will be guided by their safety practiceregulations.

“For example, if there is a fire, we depend on the otheragencies to deem the location safe before we’ll proceed in,” says Sharpe. “Wedo not put our people in harm’s way.”

B.C. Hydro will judge the 2010 Winter Games to be a successif the following condition is met.

“That nothing happens and that our work crews at the variousvenues are going to be twiddling their thumbs,” says Sharpe.

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