Certified Utility Safety Professional

cusp-logo New Certification for Utility Safety Professionals
Learn about the advantages of becoming a credentialed utility safety professional in today’s transitioning workforce.

Many treacherous elements comprise the typical utility work environment: high voltage, hazardous terrain, extreme weather conditions and human beings performing unsafe tasks. The risk of this work environment can be greatly minimized if managed by competent utility safety professionals. Utility managers, supervisors and safety specialists each have a critical role to play in minimizing risk. Front line supervisors, foremen and operations professionals also play an important part in the safety of their crews. A clear understanding of expectations and roles is required for an effective safety program.

But just how does the utility industry gauge an individual’s competency level? Making its debut in 2010 is a new certification for utility safety leaders. The credential of CUSP, a.k.a. Certified Utility Safety Professional, will be assigned to those who meet specific requirements and pass the exam. The test will cover regulations, competencies and task-directed skills. There are great advantages to becoming a credentialed utility safety professional, especially as the industry faces an unprecedented transitioning workforce.

Professional Recognition
The leading benefit is professional recognition as a utility safety professional. Certified employees have a long history of being known as true professionals in their field. They have been tested by their peers and have been proven to possess broad knowledge, skills and abilities in the utility work environment. As the CUSP designation grows in industry awareness and respect, the accreditation will serve its title holders well. Companies will have the assurance of an individual’s knowledge and commitment when hiring or promoting.

Certifying bodies are organizations that provide regulatory control and certification of professional credentials. Typically, these are peer-regulated organizations. They maintain control of the certification process and the number of professionals admitted to the organization. They also preserve the level or quality of service through a continuing education program that ensures members are aware of industry changes.

After the demise of the National Safety Council’s CUSA program, members of the Incident Prevention advisory board, along with other dedicated utility safety professionals, came together to form a certifying body called the Utility Safety & Ops Leadership Network (USOLN). The initial purpose of this organization is to build a respected certification program serving the utility safety professional. All participants involved in creating the program bring 15+ years of utility safety work experience to the project.

The Utility Safety & Ops Leadership Network is a membership organization that serves as an advocate for a safe, secure and productive utility work environment and as a catalyst for the prevention of incidents. More details on this organization can be found at

The USOLN also provides utility companies and their contractor partners with a reliable Certified Utility Safety Professional (CUSP) certification program, legislative/regulatory updates, and networking resources. The CUSP certification is the only program that offers utility-specific safety credentials to meet the unique requirements of utilities and related contractors.

A Two-Tier Program
A two-tier, color-designated program geared towards individual growth and increased value is offered to employers who elect to become a member of the USOLN and support the certification process. The CUSP-Blue is intended for front-line safety leaders – typically (but not limited to) Supervisors, Foremen and Operations Management. The CUSP-Green certification is intended for Utility Safety Directors and Managers and Field Safety Representatives. Each designation has sole qualifying criteria and its own unique test.

An education committee was organized with the objective of establishing knowledge criteria for the two certification levels. A separate exam committee has been established for test and procedures development. Two unique exams, one serving CUSP-Blue and the other serving CUSP-Green, have been created.

The USOLN highly recommends, although it does not require, a 2-Day Safety Leadership course developed by the USOLN education committee. This comprehensive training is designed to enhance job safety knowledge, leadership skills and will assist in preparedness for taking the CUSP exam.

There is no “grandfather” process to becoming a CUSP. CUSAs or CSPs have the opportunity to become a CUSP – but will be required to take the exam. Founding USOLN members are concentrated on building a credible, highly regarded certification program with requirements.

Safety Management

Utility safety management is no easy job. Managing personnel, staying current on leg/reg issues, understanding record keeping processes and policy enforcement are only a few of the areas Incident Prevention provides in-depth coverage.

Read Safety Management articles

Personal Protective Equipment

OSHA requires the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce employee exposure to hazards. FR Clothing, Gloves, Head Protection, Eyewear and Protective Footwear are all PPE.  The  articles listed below discuss their proper use and maintenance. Attend iP Safety Conference & Expo to learn more about the latest PPE products.

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Tailgate Safety Topics

Tailgate meetings are a critical communication component of any strong utility safety program. Incident Prevention supplies the utility industry with topics for these important meetings. Each article can be printed out for use in the field or emailed to your crews.

Tailgate Safety Topic articles

Worksite Safety

Daily hazards face utility and contractor work crews. Understanding the risks involved, knowing the proper procedures, building a strong culture of open communication and constant awareness will prevent incidents. Our articles on aerial work, underground construction, grounding techniques, high-voltage risks provide utility workers a better understanding of the task at hand.  iP Safety Conferences are another great resource for understanding hazards.

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Reader Profiles

Building an effective safety culture requires strong safety leadership.  The iP reader profiles features utility industry safety managers who know what it takes to overcome obstacles that brings their workers home each and every day.

Reader Profile articles

Leadership Development

As our current utility workforce retires, new utility safety leaders are coming onboard all of the time.  Incident Prevention is here to assist in the development of their leadership skills.  Managing people, understanding generational differences, building strong communications skills, establishing accountability are just a few of the subject areas covered in the magazine and at iP Safety Conferences.

Leadership Development articles


Equipment Operations

Safe equipment operations is required on every jobsite.  Utility work requires the use of cranes, derricks, buckets, trenchers, dozers and more.  Learn about the hazards associated with equipment operations in the articles featured below.

 Equipment Operations articles


Grounding systems are designed so they provide the necessary safety functions. Understanding different grounding methods is critical for utility workers.  Incident Preventions relies upon industry experts to author these much needed articles.  For better insight on grounding methods used in the field you may want to attend iP Safety Conference and hear their in-depth presentations.

Read Grounding articles