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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

SM 445-2-H CHAPTER 42

Electrofishing Safety

1.  Purpose:  This chapter is modified to specify the minimum Occupational Safety and Health requirements and procedures for U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) electrofishing operations.  This chapter provides guidelines for the safe construction, modification, and operation of electrofishing equipment.

2.  Scope. The provisions of this chapter apply to all USGS activities using electricity to collect samples of animals in aquatic habitats.

3.  Background.

A.  Hazards Training.  All USGS personnel serving as electrofishing Team Leaders will demonstrate knowledge of the principles and techniques of electrofishing by: (1) satisfactory completion of a National Conservation Training Center course; (2) an equivalent course as detailed in the Training and Education Requirements Section (Section 6) of this chapter; or (3) a course approved by the Regional Safety Manager.

B.  Currents and Wave Forms. Different types of electrical current produce different electrical current shapes or wave forms.  Alternating current (AC) produces a wave form that consists of a sequence of positive and negative waves that are equal (usually sinusoidal) and follow each other alternately at regular time intervals. Direct current (DC) produces a unidirectional, constant electrical current.  Pulsed direct current (PDC), a modified direct current, produces a unidirectional electrical current composed of a sequence of cyclic impulses.

C.  Responses of Fish.  The responses of fish to electricity are determined mainly by the type of electrical current in use and its associated wave form.  These responses include avoidance, electrotaxis (forced swimming), electrotetanus (muscle contraction), electronarcosis (muscle relaxation or stunning), or death.  Forced swimming without orientation relative to the electrical current (oscillotaxis) is a typical fish response to alternating current. AC can be damaging to fish, resulting in hemorrhaged tissue, ruptured swim bladders, or fractured vertebrae.  These conditions are due to severe electrotetanus caused by the alternating polarity of AC.  DC forces fish to swim with orientation toward the anode (galvanotaxis).  The modified PDC can sustain galvanotaxis longer than unmodified DC, and with less likelihood of damage to the fish than unmodified DC or AC.  Water conductivity also influences the response of the fish to the electrical field and is the single most important limiting factor in the effectiveness of electrofishing.

4.  Authorities and References.

A.  29 CFR 1910, General Industry Standards.

B.  Federal Boat Safety Act of 1971, as amended (46 U.S.C. 1451-89).

C.  National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 70-2004, National Electric Code (NEC).

D.  DOI DM 485, Chapter 22, Watercraft Safety.

E.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Occupational Safety and Health, Part 241 FW 3, 6, and 8, Release No. 442, March 19, 2004.

5.  Definitions.

A.  Alternating Current (AC).  Typically, a sinusoidal waveform with reversing electrode polarity.  The electrodes alternate between acting as an anode or cathode at a waveform frequency in hertz or cycles per second.  The direction of flow is reversed at frequent intervals, usually 120 times per second (60 cycles per second or 60 Hertz).

B.  Anode.  The positive electrode for direct current (DC) or pulsed DC system.

C.  Bonding.  The permanent joining of metallic parts to form an electrical conductive path that assures electrical continuity, with the capacity to safely conduct current.

D.  Branch Circuit.  The circuit conductors between the final overcurrent device protecting the circuit and the electrical load(s).

E.  Case Neutral.  An electrical connection between the generator windings and the generator case (generator exterior).

F.  Cathode.  The negative electrode for DC or pulsed DC systems.

G.  Circuit Breaker.  A device that monitors the current and automatically opens the circuit when an overcurrent occurs.

H.  Conductor.  A device (wire, SO cable, SJ cable, etc.) that transmits an electric charge. A conductor is also a wire or combination of wires not insulated from one another, suitable for carrying electric current.

I.  Deadman Switch.  A switch that is “normally open” and requires constant pressure to supply electrical current to the circuit.

J.  Direct Current (DC).  An electrical waveform that exhibits relatively constant or continuous current with no reversing electrode polarity.  DC is the unidirectional flow or movement of electric charge carriers (usually electrons).

K.  Electrofishing.  The use of electricity in water to capture or control fish or other aquatic organisms.

L.  Electrofishing Team Leader.  The onsite individual in charge of the electrofishing operation.

M.  Emergency Stop Switch.  A switch that shuts off system power when pressure is applied.  Activating an emergency stop switch is facilitated by "mushroom" or "slap-switch" style configurations.

N.  Ground.  A conducting connection, whether intentional or accidental, between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth, or to some conducting body that serves in place of the earth.

O.  Isolation Transformer.  A transformer inserted into a system to separate one section of the system from undesired influences from other sections.

P.  Netter.  The individual who nets the fish or other aquatic organisms during electrofishing operations.

Q.  Power Control Circuit.  The circuit that interconnects and adjusts the power from the pulsator or generator to the electrodes.

R.  Pulsator (control box).  The device used to modify the pulsed electric current delivered from the power source.

S.  Pulsed Direct Current.  An electrical waveform created by making regular interruptions in a continuous DC waveform.

T.  Watertight.  Constructed so that moisture will not enter the enclosure.

U.  Weatherproof.  Constructed or protected so that exposure to the weather will not interfere with safe operation.

6.  Training and Education Requirements.

A.  The Team Leader in each electrofishing field crew must initially complete the National Conservation Training Center Electrofishing Course (FIS2201) or the Electrofishing by Correspondence Course (FIS2C01) to satisfy certification competency for factors (1-5) below:

(1)  Basic principles of electricity and the generation of electrical fields in water.

(2)  Basic concept and design guidelines for electrofishing equipment.

(3)  Capabilities, limitations, and safety features of electrofishing equipment.

(4)  Safety precautions to employ while using electrofishing equipment.

(5)  Awareness of methods to reduce fish trauma due to electrofishing.

B.  Team Leader refresher training is required every 5 years and can be met via completion of any one of the courses listed below:

(1)  The National Conservation Training Center Electrofishing Course (FIS2201).

(2)  The National Conservation Training Center Electrofishing by Correspondence Course (FIS2C01).

(3)  A course, approved by the respective Regional Safety Manager, that covers the principles and techniques of electrofishing that is at minimum of 16 hours in length and covers items 6A (1-5).

C.  In addition to the training listed in Parts A and B above, all Team Leaders shall maintain current certification in First Aid and Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

D.  Since a minimum of two members of an electrofishing team must hold current certification in CPR and First Aid, the Team Leader shall validate that at least one other crew member has current certification in First Aid and CPR, prior to every electrofishing operation.  Refer to USGS Occupational Safety and Health Program Requirements Handbook, 445-2-H, Chapter 14, “Safety and Health Training,” for a description of field hazard safety training that applies to sampling locations more than 15 minutes from professional medical services.

E.  The Team Leader will train or verify all electrofishing crew members have been trained on the following:

(1)  Overview and safe operation of electrofishing equipment components and procedures.

(2)  Hazards involved in electrofishing.  All persons must be aware of the hazards involved in using portable electro shockers in running waters.  These hazards include slippery surfaces, swiftly running currents, areas of deep water, and obstacles such as logs or similar objects.  Additional hazards (depending on the region) include snakes and wasps in tree branches overhanging the water.

(3)  Basic emergency procedures for incidents involving drowning, unconsciousness, and electrical shock.

(4)  Defensive driving techniques, including towing and backing of boat trailers and safe boating operations if an electrofishing boat is used.

(5)  Additional information specific to the local operation.

F.  Operators of electrofishing boats must have successfully completed the DOI Motorboat Operator Certification Course certification and maintain current certification.  Refer to USGS Occupational Safety and Health Program Requirements Handbook, 445-2-H, Chapter 31, “Watercraft Safety,” for subject training requirements.  Under no circumstances will an employee perform electrofishing operations while alone in a stream.

G.  Training requirements as detailed in 6A, 6B, and 6C above can be satisfied by a Team Leader or crew member that is performing these duties as an employee of another Bureau, state agency, or scientific institution.

7.  Electrofishing Specifications.

A.  Electrofishing Boat Specifications.

(1)  Design

(a)  Boat design and equipment must be in compliance with U. S. Coast Guard, State, and DOI regulations.

(b)  The boat bow deck will be painted with a nonslip or skid-resistant coating or roughened in some manner to lower the possibility of slipping.

(c)  Anodes will be mounted in a fixed position during operation.

(2)  Clear Working Space.  General boat housekeeping must provide adequate working space to conduct safe operations.  Care will be exercised to prevent clutter that may result in safety hazards.

(3)  Boat Inspection.  The boat and equipment will be visually inspected for safety by the supervisor or operator in charge prior to each use.  Significant deficiencies, which could result in employee injury, will be corrected prior to operation or use of the equipment.

(4)  Controls for Electrical Equipment.

(a)  The boat operator must have ready access to an on/off switch, emergency stop, or deadman switch to cut the power in case of an accident.

(b)  A minimum of one netter on the bow work deck will have a deadman switch connected to the power control circuit.

(5)  Grounding/Bonding.  All metal surfaces within a boat will be electrically connected, grounded, and bonded to the boat hull to eliminate differences in electrical potential that may result in electric shock.  The metal boat hull may also be used as a cathode.  Zinc strips should be attached to the hull as "sacrificial anodes" to avoid possible electrolysis problems when the metal hull is being used as a cathode.  The electrolysis will occur on the zinc strips to preserve the integrity of the hull.

(6)  Battery Enclosure.  An acid proof, nonmetallic enclosure and holder will be provided for wet cell batteries.

(7)  Conductor Protection.  All conductors will be enclosed in watertight, flexible or rigid conduits.  Appropriately rated, heavy-duty insulated cables can be used where external connections are necessary, e.g., to the booms, pulsator, or deadman switch.  All conductors installed in a common raceway (conduit) must be continuous (without connectors, breaks, or splicing) and independently and correctly insulated.  All low voltage (24 volts or less) circuit conductors will be in 300 VRMS minimum cable if contained in the same conduit as the high voltage conductors.

(8)  Lighting.

(a)  Lighting and other auxiliary circuits should not exceed 24 volts.  However, 110 volt lamps may be used if the lamp is shielded with a protective housing.

(b)  When the boat is operated at night, adequate onboard lighting (12-24 volts) will be provided for working areas.

(c)  Adequate lighting will be provided during electrofishing operations to avoid safety hazards such as striking logs, rocks, and overhead tree branches.

(9)  Safety Rails.  Safety rails will be provided around the outside of the netting area and will be at least 105 centimeters (42 inches) high, and constructed of at least 1.8 centimeters (3/4-inch) heavy-wall steel pipe or 3.75 centimeters (1-1/2-inch) heavy-wall aluminum pipe.  Rails will be designed to withstand a 90 kilogram (200-pound) side thrust.  The work deck will be covered with nonskid material and sloped to allow drainage.  The high gunnels of wooden draft boats are satisfactory as safety rails.

(10)  Fire Extinguishers.  Each boat will be equipped with at least one 2.25 kilogram (5-pound) ABC fire extinguisher mounted in a holder for easy boat operator access and away from gas cans, generators, or other fire sources.

(11)  Refueling.  Portable fuel tanks must be removed from the boat for refilling.

(12)  Standard Safety Equipment.

(a)  As a minimum, all crew members aboard electrofishing boats will wear boots that are at least knee-high, with non-skid type soles, and constructed of a material that will insulate the wearer from electrical shock.  Chest or hip waders are recommended and can offer an extra margin of safety in case the boat is not properly grounded.

(b)  All field personnel engaged in electrofishing who are not aboard a boat will wear chest or hip waders to insulate the wearer from electrical shock.  Suitable waders are generally constructed of neoprene, PVC, silicon, etc.  Breathable, lightweight waders may not have adequate electrical insulating properties.  All footwear will be equipped with non-slip soles.

(c)  All persons will wear U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (Type III minimum) when working near, on, in, or over water, except in those cases where an approved site-specific job hazard analysis defines the conditions for an exemption. (See USGS Occupational Safety and Health Program Requirements Handbook, 445-2-H, Chapter 15, “Job Hazard Analyses,": http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/handbook/hb/445-2-h/ch15.html.)  This requirement applies to all types of electrofishing equipment [see 7.S.(1)].

B.  Electrical Equipment Specifications and Operation (General).  Only commercially built electrofishing equipment that has been approved by a nationally recognized testing laboratory may be used.  Homemade electrofishing gear should never be used to collect fish.

(1)  Case Neutral Removal.  Alternating current (AC) voltage from the generator will be isolated from the ground either by removing the neutral connection from within the generator or by incorporating an isolation transformer.  (Warning: A generator with the case neutral removed cannot be used for land-based, nonelectrofishing operations unless the case neutral is reconnected.)

(2)  Conductor Voltage.  Insulation of the conductors within an electrofishing system must accommodate RMS voltages generated by the power source and pulsator without breakdown.  For equipment that generates a maximum of 1,000 VRMS, conductor insulation rated at 600 VRMS is sufficient.  For systems that generate a maximum of 300 VRMS, conductors with insulation rated at 300 VRMS may be used.

(3)  Conductor Size.  Conductor size (current-carrying wire) will be approved for rated RMS amperage of equipment as follows:

Maximum Amperage

Minimum Conductor Size

10

16 AWG

15

14 AWG

20

12 AWG

30

10 AWG

AWG = American Wire Gauge

(4)  Conductor Placement.  All conductors will be enclosed in watertight, rigid or flexible conduits or appropriate heavy-duty rubber insulated cables.

(5)  Connections.  All equipment must be turned off before making any connections, replacing parts, or performing repairs.

(6)  When using conduit, splices in wiring are only permitted in condulets or junction boxes.  If connections are necessary, the rating of the connector must be the same or greater than the wire.

(7)  Connectors used in association with flexible cables will be of the locking, watertight type.  The connection to the generator should be protected by a splash cover, e.g., a rubber hood.

(8)  All conduit and junction boxes must be weatherproof.

C.  Circuit Breakers.

(1)  The electrofishing system, e.g., generator, pulsator, or console, will include circuit breakers or fuses to provide circuit protection.

(2)  If external to the generator or pulsator, circuit breakers or fuses used for providing branch circuit protection should be labeled as to purpose.

 (3)  An on/off switch must be readily available on the generator power source and pulsator.  It is recommended that either the pulsator or generator be equipped with a mushroom, push-button, or slap style emergency stop switch to speed system shutdown.

(4) It is recommended that amperage and voltage meters be installed to monitor power delivered to the electrodes.

(5)  Power control (safety) circuits will be low voltage and not exceed 24 volts.

(6)  The netter will have a deadman switch connected to the power control circuit from the pulsator or generator source.  This allows the current between the electrodes to be broken in case of an accident.

(7)  An audible or visual signal is recommended to alert a worker when the equipment is in operation.

(8)  An immersion switch is recommended to turn the unit off in case the backpack is submerged in water, regardless of whether entry is vertical or tilted.

(9)  An emersion switch is recommended to inactivate the probe when it is removed from the water.  This reduces the chance of shocking a co-worker with the wand.

(10)  The operator will have a switch to the pulsator or power control unit so that the electricity can be turned off quickly in case of an emergency.

(11)  All purchased equipment must have a tilt switch to break the circuit in case the operator falls.  The switch must be a type that has to be manually reset after the operator has regained his/her footing.

D.  Batteries.  Batteries should be non-spillable, gel-cell batteries.  Terminals should be clean with no visible cracks or holes in the casing or wiring insulation

E.  Gloves.

(1)  All team members will wear rubber gloves of sufficient length to isolate hands from external surfaces.  Never touch both electrodes simultaneously while power source is running.  The following are dielectric strengths (volts per mil thickness) of four materials per ASTM method D-14975:

Neoprene

600 volts/mil

Polyurethane

330 volts/mil

PVC

250 volts/mil

Silicone

100 volts/mil

(2)  Note that when a range of voltages was listed by ASTM, the lowest voltage per millimeter (mil) thickness was used.  In addition, without periodic testing with specialized equipment, you cannot be sure of the dielectric strength of your gloves.

(3)  Electrical protective equipment must be capable of withstanding the AC proof-test voltage specified in 29 CFR 1910.137 Table I-2 or the DC proof-test voltage specified in Table I-3 of the same standard.

(4)  Insulating gloves and boots will be visually inspected before each use and will be replaced if any of the following defects are evident: a hole, tear, puncture, or cut; ozone cutting or ozone checking (the cutting action produced by ozone on rubber under mechanical stress into a series of interlacing cracks); an embedded foreign object; any of the following texture changes: swelling, softening, hardening, or becoming sticky or inelastic; any other defect that damages the insulating properties.

F.  Polarized Sunglasses.  Plastic polarized sunglasses should be worn when there is glare.

G.  Net Handles.   Net handles will be constructed of a nonconductive material (fiberglass, polyvinyl chloride tubing, or nylon) and will be of sufficient length to avoid hand contact with the water.  Metal or aluminum dip nets will not be used.

H.  Noise.

(1)  When crew members are subjected to sound levels exceeding those listed in the following table, the crew members must be included in a Hearing Conservation Program. This program is required by OSHA's Occupational Noise Exposure Standard, 29 CFR 1910.95.  The program includes topics such as hearing protection, annual training, and annual audiograms.

Duration Per
Day (Hours)

Sound Level dBA
Slow Response

8

85

6

87

4

90

3

92

2

95

  1.5

97

1

100

        0.5110

105

              0.25 or less

110

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(2)  The Hearing Protection Program is detailed further in USGS Occupational Safety and Health Program Requirements Handbook, 445-2-H, Chapter 19, “Industrial Hygiene – Hearing Conservation Program.”   The purchase of nonmetallic two-way communication headphones is authorized.  To be effective, this type of headphone will reduce generator and motor noise significantly and provide clear communication between the netter and the equipment operator.   The use of earplugs and hand signals, agreed upon by the entire crew, are also available for work in noisy environments.

I.  Exhaust from Power Source.  The exhaust from gasoline powered engines will be directed away from the equipment operator.  Exposed hot pipes will be enclosed in protective screening to reduce the potential of burn exposure to crew members.  The use of galvanized pipe for exhaust is discouraged due to the potential release of toxic gases produced under extreme heating conditions.

J.  Gasoline and Refueling.

(1)  Gasoline will be stored and transported in approved containers designed for fuel storage. The container must be approval by Underwriters' Laboratories, Inc., the Factory Mutual Engineering Corporation, or another nationally recognized testing laboratory.  Plastic containers (rather than metal) are recommended for use.

(2)  All equipment will be turned off during refueling.  Hot surfaces will be allowed to cool before refueling.  It is recommended that all tanks be filled prior to each operation to avoid the potential for explosion or fire during refueling.  Flames and/or smoking are not allowed during refueling.
 
(3)  Gasoline refueling will not take place on a plastic surface, e.g., a plastic lined pick-up truck bed.

(4)  Portable gas tanks will be placed on the ground for refueling.

K.  Equipment Inspection.   All external wiring, cables, and connectors will be visually inspected for physical damage or corrosion before each use.  Any equipment deficiency representing a potential safety hazard will be corrected before each field operation or during actual use when the damage occurs.

L.  Electrical specifications for Portable Electro Shockers (backpack, tow barge, shore-based, pre-positioned, etc.).

(1)  Electrode handles will be constructed of a nonconductive material and be long enough to avoid hand contact with the water.

(2)  The positive electrode (anode) used with portable electro shockers will be equipped with a manually-operated, normally open pressure switch that breaks the electric current upon release.  Do not bypass the manual switches with hold-down mechanisms such as tape.

M.  Backpack Electrofishing Units.

(1)  Batteries used as an electrical power source will be of the gel type that will not leak when tipped or overturned.

(2)  Backpacks will be equipped with a quick release belt (hip) and shoulder straps.

(3)  All equipment must be equipped with a tilt switch that opens the circuit in case the operator falls.  Switches that are manually reset are preferred over automatic resets.  New equipment requests should come with manually reset switches when available.

(4)  No netting will be used on the hand-held electrodes except when sampling for lamprey ammocoetes, or when the unit is equipped with an automatic shut-off switch that opens the circuit when an electrode is out of the water.

N.  Shore-based Electrofishing Units.

(1)  Each electrode operator must have an individual activation switch.

(2)  The generator must be manned to provide immediate shutdown in case of an emergency.

O.  Tow-Barge Electrofishing Units.

(1)  Each electrode operator must have an individual dead man switch.

(2)  The barge hull must be made of nonconductive material with the cathode attached to the hull bottom.

(3)  The generator must be manned to provide immediate shutdown in case of an emergency.

(4)  The tow barge operator must have a deadman switch that stops the electrical power in case the operator falls away from the barge.

P.  Electric Seine Electrofishing Units.

(1)  Each brail (seine pole) must have an individual activation switch wired in series to control the power applied to the electrodes.

(2)  The generator must be manned to provide immediate shutdown in case of an emergency.

Q.  Prepositioned Area Electrofishing Units.   The generator must be manned to provide immediate shutdown in case of an emergency.

R.  Color Coding/Labeling of Significant Hazards.  To ensure visibility, the color red will be used to identify fire extinguishers, safety cans, and stop buttons for electrical equipment.  The color fluorescent orange will be used to identify all other safety switches.

S.  Safe Work Practices.

(1)  All persons will wear U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (Type III minimum) when working near, on, in, or over water, except in those cases where an approved site-specific job hazard analysis defines the conditions for an exemption (See USGS Occupational Safety and Health Program Requirements Handbook, 445-2-H, Chapter 15, “Job Hazard Analyses,": http://www.usgs.gov/usgs-manual/handbook/hb/445-2-h/ch15.html.)

(2)  Leave the water immediately if waders or gloves develop leaks.

(3)  Avoid operating electrofishing equipment near people, pets, livestock, or wildlife that are in or near the water.

(4)  Cease operations in inclement weather (moderate to heavy rain, lightning, or thunderstorms).

(5)  Rest often to avoid fatigue, and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration and heatstroke.

(6)  Do not wear conductive jewelry or clothing (such a watchbands, bracelets, rings, key chains, necklaces, metalized aprons, cloth with conductive thread, or metal headgear).

(7)  The anode should never touch the cathode or any other metal equipment.

(8)  The electrofishing operation must be shut down and repaired if anyone feels an electric shock, however minor.  An incident report will be provided to the Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator and the immediate supervisor.

T.  Automated External Defibrillators (AED).  It is highly recommended that every electrofishing boat be equipped with an AED.  If AEDs are provided, then a minimum of two crew members will be AED certified and a formal written program established at the local level, inclusive of medical director oversight.

U.  Immunization Program.  It is recommended that field personnel working on an electrofishing crew be offered a booster tetanus vaccination every 10 years.  Personnel should consult a physician to determine if hepatitis A and/or hepatitis B vaccinations are recommended based on their personal health and the areas where they are working.

V.  A formal bloodborne pathogens program, inclusive of offering employee immunizations, shall be established for those trained in First Aid/CPR-AED operations.  See USGS Occupational Safety and Health Program Requirements Handbook, 445-2-H, Chapter 25, for boodborne pathogen requirements.

8.  Responsibilities.

A.  Bureau Safety Manager.

(1)  Assists Regional Safety Managers in identifying appropriate electrofishing safety training programs.

(2)  Conducts assessments of Bureau and regional science programs during formal reviews and inspections, when possible.

(3)  Provides Bureau oversight and direction for electrofishing activities.

B.  Regional Safety Manager.

(1)  Reviews and approves non-National Conservation Training Center electrofishing safety training programs upon request.

(2)  Conducts assessments of regional science programs during formal reviews and inspections.

(3)  Provides regional oversight and direction for the program.

C.  Regional Safety Officer.  Conducts assessments of field programs during formal reviews and inspections.

D.  Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator.  Maintains current list of personnel possessing an electrofishing certificate of competency within their organizations, and provides the RSO or field managers with a copy of the list upon request.

E.  Managers/Supervisors.  Ensure that all persons serving as electrofishing Team Leaders have received the appropriate training and certification and forward documentation to the Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator. 

F.  Project Chiefs.  Ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter and the following requirements:

(1)  Provide personnel assigned to work on an electrofishing crew with proper boots, gloves, and any other personal protective equipment required to ensure their safety while electrofishing.

(2)  Instruct other crew members on the safety procedures and potential hazards in electrofishing before the electrofishing field effort is undertaken.

(3)  Advise the project office of the location, start time, and end time of the scheduled electrofishing event.

(4)  Provide the personnel who are performing electrofishing operations with the required training and immunizations.

G.  Electrofishing Team Leaders.  Only individuals demonstrating knowledge of electrofishing techniques are eligible to serve as electrofishing Team Leaders.  Team Leaders will be considered knowledgeable of the principles and techniques of electrofishing upon satisfactory completion of an initial U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, e.g., National Conservation Training Center course, “Principles and Techniques of Electrofishing,” and, subsequently, a Regional Safety Manager-approved refresher course, as detailed in paragraph 6B of this chapter.  Team Leaders are responsible for the following:

(1)  Identifying hazardous conditions associated with proposed electrofishing operations, determining measures to protect electrofishing team members, and briefing team members appropriately.

(2)  Maintaining all electrofishing equipment in a safe condition.  Visually inspect all external wiring, cables, and connectors for physical damage before each use.  Any equipment deficiency that may present a safety hazard will be corrected before each field operation or when equipment damage occurs during actual use.

(3)  Verifying that personnel follow proper safety procedures and use the proper safety equipment.

(4)  Ensuring that adequate warning is provided to the public so that public exposure to the potential hazards of electrofishing operations is avoided.  Boats should be clearly marked with “Danger Electricity” signs.

(5)  Shutting down electrical power should the public approach closer than 100 feet to electrofishing operations.

(6)  Ensuring precautions are taken to avoid harm to domestic animals or wildlife.

(7)  Ceasing all electrofishing operations and relocating all crew members ashore during inclement weather.

(8)  Ensuring that only those persons necessary to conduct a safe and efficient operation engage in each electrofishing activity and verifying their training to ensure that electrofishing operations are conducted in a safe and efficient manner.

(9)  Ensuring that at least one other member of the team is certified in CPR and First Aid.

(10)  Making available a well-equipped, watertight First Aid kit. Questions concerning the contents of the First Aid kit may be directed to the Collateral Duty Safety Program Coordinator, the Regional Safety Officer, or the Regional Safety Manager, as appropriate.

(11)  Reviewing the “USGS Electrofishing Considerations Checklist” found in Appendix 42-1, adding specialized items that pertain to each individual operation, as appropriate.

(12)  Ensure that the job hazard analysis for each site contains emergency instructions and documented routes to medical facilities and is made available to all team members.

H.  Personnel (Electrofishing Crew Members).

(1)  The Team Leader and at least one electrofishing crew member must complete training and maintain a current certification in First Aid and CPR.

(2)  If operating an electrofishing boat, complete the DOI Motorboat Operator Certification Course and maintain certification.

(3)  Wear appropriate protective equipment as required.

(4)  Report all potential work hazards, accidents, incidents, and job-related illnesses and injuries to their supervisors immediately.

 

/s/ Karen D. Baker                                                                       10/8/09                  

_________________________________                              __________________
Karen D. Baker                                                                             Date
Associate Director for Administrative Policy and Services
Designated Agency Safety and Health Official


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