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iPi Monthly Forum for Utility Professionals

The iPi monthly forum is where you can get answers to questions you have from subject matter experts like David McPeak, Jim Vaughn, Danny Raines and other utility safety and ops professionals like yourself. Forums will include industry specific topics, challenges, trends, and solutions along with best practices in leadership, operations, and safety.

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KNOWLEDGE, INSIGHT AND STRATEGY FOR UTILITY SAFETY & OPS PROFESSIONALS

This educational technique is ideally suited as a resource for those wanting to improve the effectiveness of safety training.
In a recent workshop with a client in southeast Louisiana, a breakout session reached a tipping point. The rhythmic flow of dialogue among the seven supervisors in the group found an unscripted but purposeful path of its own. The task given to the group involved identifying at-risk behaviors or shortcuts likely to occur in their […]

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Few utility businesses currently meet all of the transformational ESG requirements, placing them at odds with the future of work.

ESG: Health and Safety Obstacle or Opportunity?

A simple change in language can lead to more productive incident investigations – and fewer incidents overall.

Pattern Disruption: Don’t Start with ‘Why’



Beginning each day with a focus on safety will help to protect the people, places and things we hold dearest.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’: Acknowledging and Safeguarding Our Blessings

In the classic 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Jimmy Stewart plays the role of George Bailey. Due to a series of unfortunate events, George makes a desperate attempt to right the things that have turned his world upside down. He even says that maybe things would be better if he had never been born. George then gets to witness what the world would be like if he had never been born. He sees ma…
Chew on this recipe for crafting or recrafting an organization’s safety culture.

‘Avocado Hand’ and Scaling the Safety Message

Avocado toast has become all the rage at restaurants and on social media posts over the past several years. I eat it; it is delectable. You make it by toasting some bread, adding some ripe avocado and maybe some salt, and then maybe some tomatoes or sprouts. Easy, right? Now, I want you to think of making this dish, but consider it from a safety angle. Avocado toast can be a hazardous dish to p…

What’s Missing in Your Training?

Author’s note to readers: Be careful not to judge this article before you finish reading it. Even some members of Incident Prevention’s editorial advisory board were concerned the wrong message might be sent. I don’t think so. We have a great history of training and a lot of good trainers in the …

Determining Reasonable Energy Estimates

During a recent audit at a utility, it was discovered that the method used to determine incident heat energy was not appropriate for the utility’s application. Discussions with other utilities and subject matter experts indicate that the methods to determine the amount of exposure are challenging…

February – March 2024 Q&A

Q: We were driving ground rods with a hammer drill for a switch pad on a construction site when OSHA inspected the site. OSHA was there to see the general contractor, but they cited our crew for not using a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) where we were plugged into the site’s construction…
Combine pre-job briefings, two-minute drills and post-job briefings to make job briefings an ongoing process.

Game-Planning for Safety

Given a relatively equal amount of talent on both sides, the sports TEAM (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) with the best game plan will likely win. Examining what champions – especially those that create dynasties – do well provides us with insight into achieving excellence in safety. …

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In November, iP Utility Safety Conference attendees had the opportunity to get an insider’s look at SDG&E’s Skills Training Center.

Safety and Innovation Lead the Way at San Diego Gas & Electric

“Safety and innovation are one and the same.” That was among the opening remarks delivered by San Diego Gas & Electric personnel during the recent Safety Innovation Tour held at the utility’s Skills Training Center in the Serra Mesa neighborhood of the city. And certainly, SDG&E con…
Here are five topics to consider integrating into your team’s protective garment training.

FR/AR Apparel Use: Are Your Workers Properly Trained?

Many workers in the utilities space bravely put their personal safety at risk every day on the job. Facing potential hazards such as arc flashes, flash fires and unpredictable elements of nature, these workers’ personal protective equipment – particularly their garments – is their last line of de…
This educational technique is ideally suited as a resource for those wanting to improve the effectiveness of safety training.

Getting to the Heart of At-Risk Behaviors with Facilitative Learning

In a recent workshop with a client in southeast Louisiana, a breakout session reached a tipping point. The rhythmic flow of dialogue among the seven supervisors in the group found an unscripted but purposeful path of its own. The task given to the group involved identifying at-risk behaviors or s…
Featured Products

Utility Pole Stand

Bigfoot Construction Equipment offers a new pole stand that allows for the secure and elevated placement of utility poles, making it seamless to place, pick or store the poles. The stand is made of the same custom composite material as the rest of Bigfoot’s quality outrigger pads. That material i…

Safety Management


Getting to the Heart of At-Risk Behaviors with Facilitative Learning

In a recent workshop with a client in southeast Louisiana, a breakout session reached a tipping point. The rhythmic flow of dialogue among the seven supervisors in the group found an unscripted but purposeful path of its own. The task given to the group involved identifying at-risk behaviors or s…

ESG: Health and Safety Obstacle or Opportunity?

Over the past few years, much has been written and discussed about the role of environmental, social and governance, commonly referred to as ESG. Investors and customers are increasingly applying these nonfinancial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth op…

Pattern Disruption: Don’t Start with ‘Why’

In the northern latitudes, Mother Nature is deeply vested in a cycle of pattern disruption. The four seasons change the ecosystems and habitats. As the seasons shift in New York, the lake that I live on moves from a warm thermocline with colder layers on the bottom and warmer water on top to the …

Safety and Innovation Lead the Way at San Diego Gas & Electric

“Safety and innovation are one and the same.” That was among the opening remarks delivered by San Diego Gas & Electric personnel during the recent Safety Innovation Tour held at the utility’s Skills Training Center in the Serra Mesa neighborhood of the city. And certainly, SDG&E con…
Few utility businesses currently meet all of the transformational ESG requirements, placing them at odds with the future of work.

ESG: Health and Safety Obstacle or Opportunity?

Over the past few years, much has been written and discussed about the role of environmental, social and governance, commonly referred to as ESG. Investors and customers are increasingly applying these nonfinancial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth op…
A simple change in language can lead to more productive incident investigations – and fewer incidents overall.

Pattern Disruption: Don’t Start with ‘Why’

In the northern latitudes, Mother Nature is deeply vested in a cycle of pattern disruption. The four seasons change the ecosystems and habitats. As the seasons shift in New York, the lake that I live on moves from a warm thermocline with colder layers on the bottom and warmer water on top to the …
In November, iP Utility Safety Conference attendees had the opportunity to get an insider’s look at SDG&E’s Skills Training Center.

Safety and Innovation Lead the Way at San Diego Gas & Electric

“Safety and innovation are one and the same.” That was among the opening remarks delivered by San Diego Gas & Electric personnel during the recent Safety Innovation Tour held at the utility’s Skills Training Center in the Serra Mesa neighborhood of the city. And certainly, SDG&E con…
This educational technique is ideally suited as a resource for those wanting to improve the effectiveness of safety training.

Getting to the Heart of At-Risk Behaviors with Facilitative Learning

In a recent workshop with a client in southeast Louisiana, a breakout session reached a tipping point. The rhythmic flow of dialogue among the seven supervisors in the group found an unscripted but purposeful path of its own. The task given to the group involved identifying at-risk behaviors or s…
This educational technique is ideally suited as a resource for those wanting to improve the effectiveness of safety training.

Getting to the Heart of At-Risk Behaviors with Facilitative Learning

In a recent workshop with a client in southeast Louisiana, a breakout session reached a tipping point. The rhythmic flow of dialogue among the seven supervisors in the group found an unscripted but purposeful path of its own. The task given to the group involved identifying at-risk behaviors or shortcuts likely …
Few utility businesses currently meet all of the transformational ESG requirements, placing them at odds with the future of work.

ESG: Health and Safety Obstacle or Opportunity?

Over the past few years, much has been written and discussed about the role of environmental, social and governance, commonly referred to as ESG. Investors and customers are increasingly applying these nonfinancial factors as part of their analysis process to identify material risks and growth op…
A simple change in language can lead to more productive incident investigations – and fewer incidents overall.

Pattern Disruption: Don’t Start with ‘Why’

In the northern latitudes, Mother Nature is deeply vested in a cycle of pattern disruption. The four seasons change the ecosystems and habitats. As the seasons shift in New York, the lake that I live on moves from a warm thermocline with colder layers on the bottom and warmer water on top to the …
boutwell starner article
The need for professional development is crucial for workers who will assume leadership roles.

Nurturing Strong Leadership: An Approach to Professional Development in Skilled Trades

Strong leadership is essential for the success and well-being of a company. Effective leaders play a vital role in setting the course, motivating employees, fostering a positive work culture and making critical decisions that steer the organization toward its goals. In our industry, leaders fa…

Worksite Safety


FR/AR Apparel Use: Are Your Workers Properly Trained?

Many workers in the utilities space bravely put their personal safety at risk every day on the job. Facing potential hazards such as arc flashes, flash fires and unpredictable elements of nature, these workers’ personal protective equipment – particularly their garments – is their last line of de…
Father-and-Son-MTodd

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’: Acknowledging and Safeguarding Our Blessings

In the classic 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Jimmy Stewart plays the role of George Bailey. Due to a series of unfortunate events, George makes a desperate attempt to right the things that have turned his world upside down. He even says that maybe things would be better if he had never been …
Jeffrey Sullivan article

‘Avocado Hand’ and Scaling the Safety Message

Avocado toast has become all the rage at restaurants and on social media posts over the past several years. I eat it; it is delectable. You make it by toasting some bread, adding some ripe avocado and maybe some salt, and then maybe some tomatoes or sprouts. Easy, right? Now, I want you to thi…
BULWARK_LQ_LineWork_0614

Using Flame-Resistant and Arc-Rated Clothing to Mitigate Cold Stress

Workers in the electric utility industry face various hazards, and in cooler climates, this includes potential cold stress. Cold stress occurs when the skin’s temperature drops, lowering internal body temperature and inhibiting the body’s ability to warm itself. If unchecked, exposure to cold can…
Father-and-Son-MTodd
Beginning each day with a focus on safety will help to protect the people, places and things we hold dearest.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life’: Acknowledging and Safeguarding Our Blessings

In the classic 1946 film “It’s a Wonderful Life,” Jimmy Stewart plays the role of George Bailey. Due to a series of unfortunate events, George makes a desperate attempt to right the things that have turned his world upside down. He even says that maybe things would be better if he had never been …
Jeffrey Sullivan article
Chew on this recipe for crafting or recrafting an organization’s safety culture.

‘Avocado Hand’ and Scaling the Safety Message

Avocado toast has become all the rage at restaurants and on social media posts over the past several years. I eat it; it is delectable. You make it by toasting some bread, adding some ripe avocado and maybe some salt, and then maybe some tomatoes or sprouts. Easy, right? Now, I want you to thi…
BULWARK_LQ_LineWork_0614
A comprehensive PPE system that incorporates layered FR/AR garments provides insulation, hazard protection and flexibility.

Using Flame-Resistant and Arc-Rated Clothing to Mitigate Cold Stress

Workers in the electric utility industry face various hazards, and in cooler climates, this includes potential cold stress. Cold stress occurs when the skin’s temperature drops, lowering internal body temperature and inhibiting the body’s ability to warm itself. If unchecked, exposure to cold can…

Am I My Brother’s Keeper – Or Not?

I am sure that the safety leaders reading this Tailgate Topic have heard some or all of the following phases: “I’m my brother’s keeper,” “Don’t get hurt,” “Work in a manner that prevents injury,” and “Keep your head in the game.” These phrases are well-intended; they serve as a reminder to keep safety top of mind. But using them will not prevent incidents. I recently reviewed an incident that resulted in an injury for a client. That client has a very good safety program and culture. The incident report included feedback from co-workers of the injured party (we’ll call him “John”), who sa…
Mack Turner, CUSP
Mack Turner, CUSP

Incidents Require an Immediate Response

Incidents on job sites can cause pain and mental anguish, disrupt project timelines, escalate costs and have lasting repercussions on an employer’s safety performance record. When an incident occurs, company management and safety professionals must respond in a timely manner. Typically, the …
Charles Keeling, CUSP
Charles Keeling, CUSP

Cleaning Up the Ointment

Earlier this year I wrote a Tailgate Topic titled “The Fly in the Ointment” (see https://incident- prevention.com/blog/the-fly-in-the-ointment) – but I probably should have written this Tailgate first. Why? Because sometimes, the fly becomes a problem because of the ointment. By that I me…
Steve Martin, CUSP
Steve Martin, CUSP

Combine pre-job briefings, two-minute drills and post-job briefings to make job briefings an ongoing process.

Game-Planning for Safety

Given a relatively equal amount of talent on both sides, the sports TEAM (Together Everyone Accomplishes More) with the best game plan will likely win. Examining what champions – especially those that create dynasties – do well provides us with insight into achieving excellence in safety. …
Personal protective equipment should always be used and never be needed.

The Art of Safety – A New Hierarchy

Given the predictable nature of hazards, how and why do incidents occur? Think about this: If I know the winning numbers ahead of a lottery drawing, it’s simple for me to be 100% successful at winning the lottery money. So, if we know how hazards are going to act and how they cause harm, why aren…

We must value safety and make protecting ourselves and others our primary goal for every task we perform.

The Art of Safety – Unnormalizing Deviation

Given the predictable nature of hazards, how and why do incidents occur? Think about this: If I know the winning numbers ahead of a lottery drawing, it’s simple for me to be 100% successful at winning the lottery money. So, if we know how hazards are going to act and how they cause harm, why aren…
Self-reliance starts with being fit for duty and prepared for every task you perform.

The Art of Safety: Self-Reliance

Given the predictable nature of hazards, how and why do incidents occur? Think about this: If I know the winning numbers ahead of a lottery drawing, it’s simple for me to be 100% successful at winning the lottery money. So, if we know how hazards are going to act and how they cause harm, why …

Determining Reasonable Energy Estimates

During a recent audit at a utility, it was discovered that the method used to determine incident heat energy was not appropriate for the utility’s application. Discussions with other utilities and subject matter experts indicate that the methods to determine the amount of exposure are challenging…

Understanding and Preventing Ferroresonance

Ferroresonance is a term and condition not often heard about in electric utility work. Nonetheless, it’s important to know about ferroresonance because it is an immensely hazardous condition that can result in arc flash injuries and damaged equipment. The Electrical Engineering Portal offers t…

Understanding Task-Specific Training

If an employer must defend their company in the event of an incident or accident, training records are a critical tool. There is nothing better to present during an OSHA investigation or a civil tort liability case than documented training records and annual reviews of the proficiency demonstrati…

Equipotential or Total Isolation?

System grounding is one of the topics that people ask me about most, which is great because I have always found temporary system grounding for employee protection to be a fascinating subject. I performed bracket grounding all throughout my years spent working on line crews in the 1970s and ’80…

Q&A

February – March 2024 Q&A

Q: We were driving ground rods with a hammer drill for a switch pad on a construction site when OSHA inspected the site. OSHA was there to see the general contractor, but they cited our crew for not using a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) where we were plugged into the site’s construction temporary. That brought up these questions: Why GFCI? What does GFCI do and how does it work? A:…

December 2023-January 2024 Q&A

Q: Our network group employees don’t work anything over 600 volts without working clearance. When working 480 volts, can they wear Class 2 sleeves with Class 0 gloves? We’ve looked through OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 and are unable to find where it says they can’t. A: We applaud you for attempting the research. OSHA’s perspective on the standards is to tell employers what they must accomplish (not …