PG&E Holds Bilingual 811, Safety Workshop at Graton Day Labor Center

¿Cómo funciona el 811?¿Cuánto tiempo se tarda en localizar y marcar las líneas? ¿Cuesta dinero llamar al 811? These questions on how 811 works, how long it takes, and whether it costs money, were some of many posed by day workers at the Graton Day Labor Center during a safety workshop held by PG&E this summer.

On July 13, a North Coast PG&E team spent the morning in Graton, a small town 10 miles west of Santa Rosa, to speak with a group of day workers on the importance of calling 811 before any digging project, as well as the safety clearance around overhead electric powerlines. The safety workshop was conducted in both English and Spanish.

“When it comes to community safety, we all have a role to play. This means homeowners, contractors, dayworkers – essentially anyone conducting a home improvement project that involves digging. The goal of this workshop was to get the word out on the importance of calling 811, clear up any misunderstandings about how the system works and giving workers the information they need to stay safe on the job. I think we accomplished all those things,” said Ron Richardson, vice president for PG&E’s North Coast Region.

One of the participants was Juan Cuandon, who visits the Graton Day Labor Center almost every weekday morning to look for work.

“PG&E is saving lives. I appreciate that PG&E cares about us and reminds us of the potential dangers while working around gas and electricity. The information we receive teaches us where to dig safely and what to do before and during an excavation project. Thank you, PG&E, for coming to present to Centro Laboral de Graton (Graton Day Labor Center) about calling 811,” said Cuandon.

The mission of Centro Laboral de Graton (Graton Day Labor Center) is to advance and protect the human, labor, and civil rights of immigrant day laborers, domestic workers, and their families by promoting participatory democratic leadership and worker solidarity to develop greater opportunities for employment, health, education, and civic participation.

Thalia Becerril, the labor center’s deputy director, said she was pleased to partner with PG&E to educate the day labor community on the importance of calling 811.

“We look forward to more opportunities to increase awareness about gas and electricity among our members and also the homeowners who seek help for their residential projects,” Becerril said.

Also present at the workshop was Ted Honey, who provided a demonstration on PG&E’s public safety demo board — a large interactive table — that illustrates the safety challenges of working around gas and electricity. Honey is a retired PG&E lineman who conducts safety presentations in many communities; he worked with the labor center’s Becerril to translate and deliver the demonstration in Graton.

About 40,000 people are either employed as day laborers or looking for day labor jobs on any given day in California, according to a study by the Public Policy Institute of California before the pandemic. To increase the awareness of gas and electric safety among the day worker community, PG&E’s Integrated Multicultural Communications (IMC) team has partnered with various day worker centers in Northern and Central California since 2014 to share important safety information with day workers, majority of them can only speak Spanish.

Besides reaching out to the Spanish-speaking day workers, PG&E’s IMC team also partnered with Spanish radio stations throughout the service area to bring safety workshop in the field to the farmworkers. Since 2014, the program has conducted safety outreach to over 2,500 Spanish-speaking day workers and farmworkers.