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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

Leveraging technology can help utilities face the challenge of having enough trained and qualified workers to meet demand. 
Like nearly all industries that require skilled workers, the electrical utility industry currently faces the challenge of having enough trained and qualified workers to meet demand and changing market conditions. According to a 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (see www.usenergyjobs.org), all energy sectors reported hiring difficulties: “Lack of experience, training, or technical skills were […]

More News…


Wind conditions can create hazards that must be effectively managed to ensure worker safety. 

Understanding Wind Speed Limitations on Utility Equipment

Developing these habits helps to create a safety culture in which it is safe for employees to fail.

The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture


Launched in 2020, the clearinghouse is a centralized database that stores near real-time data about commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol violations.

Closing the Cracks with the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Slipping through the cracks has become much more difficult for drivers with the 2020 implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.  The following scenario paints a picture of how easy it once was for commercial driver’s license (CDL) …

To achieve the next step change in safety, we must ultimately change how employees feel about at-risk behaviors.

Beyond Behavior-Based Safety: Why Traditional Safety Practices are No Longer Enough

Traditional safety management practices are built on the assumption that human behavior is rational and occurs primarily through conscious decision-making. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are, in fact, irrational by nature, creatures of habit and deeply influenced by past experiences. To create the next step change in the practice of occupational safety, we must revisit existing par…
When combined with a field skills training program, online training can speed skill development. 

Using a Learning Management System to Augment Lineworker Training

“You can’t learn how to climb a pole by looking at a computer screen.”  That’s a sentence that has been repeatedly used in our industry to discredit web-based learning. And it’s true; in any skilled trade, neither distance learning nor classroom work alone can replace the skills and confidence gained from practicing tasks and building up muscle memory in the field. But does that mean there’s no…

The Importance of Proper Coverup: Two Real-Life Tales

Very early on in my career as a lineman, I was involved in two events that taught me some important lessons about proper coverup and how critical it is to worker safety. Both events occurred between 1972 and 1973. I was working on a big line crew, and while there were different crew foremen, ther…
Author Ken Sheridan explains what an organization needs to do to get safety right – including the how and the why.

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘No Compromise’ 

Dang you, Ken Sheridan. I had a life and a job that I enjoyed, and I thought I had safety figured out. Then you wrote “No Compromise: The Truth About Workplace Safety & Business Success.” I couldn’t put it down, and worse yet, chapter four is so good I read it three times before I ever got to…
OSHA’s requirements apply when tasks are performed on or near energized overhead power lines and equipment.

OSHA Electric Power Standards – Simplified

Overhead Lines Unique fall and electric shock hazards can occur during the installation and removal of lines and during tower and structure work. OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269(q) and 29 CFR 1926.964, both titled “Overhead lines and live-line barehand work,” address these hazards as well as the required c…

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BECOME A BETTER LEADER

Frontline Leadership – The Hurdle

Utility Business Media, Inc. publisher of Incident Prevention Magazine is excited to announce the publication of Frontline Leadership – The Hurdle and Frontline Incident Prevention – The Hurdle both written by David McPeak, Director of Professional Development for Incident Prevention InstitutE (iPi).

These books are based on iPi’s popular Frontline leadership training program and are a must read for utility industry leaders. Learn More

Frontline Incident Prevention – The Hurdle

This book is your essential how-to guide on recognizing hurdles and developing effective run-ups to soar over them. You’ll learn how to lead and protect people rather than manage robots. You’ll also learn critical lessons about self-reliance and risk tolerance that culminate in proper application of the hierarchy of controls. Reading and applying the insights from this book will make you, your team, and your organization safer.

iPi have taken it a step further.  You can add The Art of Safety course and downloadable workbook to your experience.  Find out more more about this course – The Art of Safety

Learn to understand, lead, develop, and protect people.

That is the Art of Safety!

Launched in 2020, the clearinghouse is a centralized database that stores near real-time data about commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol violations.

Closing the Cracks with the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Slipping through the cracks has become much more difficult for drivers with the 2020 implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.  The following scenario paints a picture of how easy it once was for commercial driver’s license (CDL) …
Subject matter experts provide an update on recent changes and emerging research in the thermal protective world. 

Thermal Protection for Electrical Work

Thermal protective apparel for electrical work appears to have reached a point of inflection from “What needs to be done?” to “How can it be improved?” Looking at the safety standards recently approved for publication,
Leveraging technology can help utilities face the challenge of having enough trained and qualified workers to meet demand. 

Advancing Workforce Skills Using Simulation-Based Training

Like nearly all industries that require skilled workers, the electrical utility industry currently faces the challenge of having enough trained and qualified workers to meet demand and changing market conditions. According to a 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (see www.usenergyjobs.org),…
Featured Products

Flex Arc Series

The Neese Flex Arc Series provides durable and dependable multi-hazard protection. Besides offering excellent foul weather protection, this high-visibility rainwear series also provides electrical arc flash and flash fire solutions. All garments in the line meet the ASTM F1891, ASTM F2733 and ANS…

Safety Management


Thermal Protection for Electrical Work

Thermal protective apparel for electrical work appears to have reached a point of inflection from “What needs to be done?” to “How can it be improved?” Looking at the safety standards recently approved for publication,

The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture

I began writing my new book – “The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture” – in 2004 while working as a civilian contractor for Kellogg Brown & Root in Iraq. I was the area HSE manager for a large portion of the Logistical Civilian Augmentation Program #3 Project. Our contract required…

Closing the Cracks with the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Slipping through the cracks has become much more difficult for drivers with the 2020 implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.  The following scenario paints a picture of how easy it once was for commercial driver’s license (CDL) …

Beyond Behavior-Based Safety: Why Traditional Safety Practices are No Longer Enough

Traditional safety management practices are built on the assumption that human behavior is rational and occurs primarily through conscious decision-making. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are, in fact, irrational by nature, creatures of habit and deeply influenced by past experiences….
Developing these habits helps to create a safety culture in which it is safe for employees to fail.

The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture

I began writing my new book – “The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture” – in 2004 while working as a civilian contractor for Kellogg Brown & Root in Iraq. I was the area HSE manager for a large portion of the Logistical Civilian Augmentation Program #3 Project. Our contract required…
Launched in 2020, the clearinghouse is a centralized database that stores near real-time data about commercial drivers’ drug and alcohol violations.

Closing the Cracks with the FMCSA’s Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse

Slipping through the cracks has become much more difficult for drivers with the 2020 implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse.  The following scenario paints a picture of how easy it once was for commercial driver’s license (CDL) …
To achieve the next step change in safety, we must ultimately change how employees feel about at-risk behaviors.

Beyond Behavior-Based Safety: Why Traditional Safety Practices are No Longer Enough

Traditional safety management practices are built on the assumption that human behavior is rational and occurs primarily through conscious decision-making. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are, in fact, irrational by nature, creatures of habit and deeply influenced by past experiences….
To achieve the next step change in safety, we must ultimately change how employees feel about at-risk behaviors.

Beyond Behavior-Based Safety: Why Traditional Safety Practices are No Longer Enough

Traditional safety management practices are built on the assumption that human behavior is rational and occurs primarily through conscious decision-making. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are, in fact, irrational by nature, creatures of habit and deeply influenced by past experiences….
To achieve the next step change in safety, we must ultimately change how employees feel about at-risk behaviors.

Beyond Behavior-Based Safety: Why Traditional Safety Practices are No Longer Enough

Traditional safety management practices are built on the assumption that human behavior is rational and occurs primarily through conscious decision-making. Nothing could be further from the truth. We are, in fact, irrational by nature, creatures of habit and deeply influenced by past experiences. To create the n…
When combined with a field skills training program, online training can speed skill development. 

Using a Learning Management System to Augment Lineworker Training

“You can’t learn how to climb a pole by looking at a computer screen.”  That’s a sentence that has been repeatedly used in our industry to discredit web-based learning. And it’s true; in any skilled trade, neither distance learning nor classroom work alone can replace the skills and confidence g…
Data from one utility company’s recent training initiative indicates that positive feedback helped to improve safety, collaboration and productivity.

Does Positive Feedback Improve Safety?

Our client is an international utility company with more than 10,000 employees that provides electric and natural gas to 20 million U.S. customers. Their vision is to achieve a generative safety culture in which both employees and leaders are actively engaged. Characteristics of a generative safe…
Once you’ve identified why workers aren’t following the safety rules, use these strategies to help them comply.

‘But I Don’t Wanna’: 6 Sources of Employee Resistance

“I forgot.” “I don’t want to.” “It’s not that serious.” “It won’t happen to me.” If your employees are forgetting, ignoring, pushing back against or actively resisting the protections you’ve put in place to ensure their safety, then you know how frustrating it can be to get them to follow the …

Worksite Safety


Advancing Workforce Skills Using Simulation-Based Training

Like nearly all industries that require skilled workers, the electrical utility industry currently faces the challenge of having enough trained and qualified workers to meet demand and changing market conditions. According to a 2020 U.S. Energy and Employment Report (see www.usenergyjobs.org),…

Understanding Wind Speed Limitations on Utility Equipment

The question about what’s permitted for operating aerial devices and digger derricks in high winds is one that comes up frequently with users. Utility crews often must deal with working in wind. Trouble trucks responding during storm recovery, transmission operations to place visibility balls on …

The Case for Enhanced First-Aid Training for Lineworkers

Imagine you are working in a remote wilderness area on difficult terrain. The job involves setting poles, running wires, trimming trees, operating heavy machinery and working at elevation in track bucket trucks or hooks on a pole. The potential for serious injury is present, and extrication will …

June – July 2022 Q&A

Q: Why does grounding alone not prevent static discharges, and why don’t we have to ground all flammable dispensing drums and stations? A: “Flammable” is a relative term, and some of the written standards are detailed to the point that they can be confusing. The best thing any facility can do …
Wind conditions can create hazards that must be effectively managed to ensure worker safety. 

Understanding Wind Speed Limitations on Utility Equipment

The question about what’s permitted for operating aerial devices and digger derricks in high winds is one that comes up frequently with users. Utility crews often must deal with working in wind. Trouble trucks responding during storm recovery, transmission operations to place visibility balls on …
Practicing rescue scenarios helps to identify areas of weakness and improves worker response when the real thing occurs.

The Case for Enhanced First-Aid Training for Lineworkers

Imagine you are working in a remote wilderness area on difficult terrain. The job involves setting poles, running wires, trimming trees, operating heavy machinery and working at elevation in track bucket trucks or hooks on a pole. The potential for serious injury is present, and extrication will …

June – July 2022 Q&A

Q: Why does grounding alone not prevent static discharges, and why don’t we have to ground all flammable dispensing drums and stations? A: “Flammable” is a relative term, and some of the written standards are detailed to the point that they can be confusing. The best thing any facility can do …

Control High-Energy Hazards to Help Reduce Serious Injuries and Fatalities

Reducing and eliminating serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) remains a challenge throughout the utility industry. The work required to generate, transmit and distribute electricity and gas often places workers near hazards that cannot be completely eliminated. Workers must be able to safely perform essential work without contacting or exposing themselves to sources of high energy.
Brian Sambuco, M.S., CSP, CUSP
Brian Sambuco, M.S., CSP, CUSP

Working Safely from Elevated Heights

Each year, OSHA reveals which of its regulations are most violated by employers across the U.S., based on the number of citations given. Violations of fall protection regulations are routinely in the top 10. Given that this is a widespread issue, I’m going to use this month’s Tailgate Topic to pr…
Charles Keeling, CUSP
Charles Keeling, CUSP

5 Safety Factors to Consider in Unfamiliar Territory

On a routine workday, it’s likely that you are in a familiar place. The people and the system around you? They’re probably familiar, too. But when we as lineworkers are asked to respond to storms or other emergencies via mutual aid or a storm call, all that can change quickly. Suddenly, we may fi…
Bob Dunderdale, CUSP
Bob Dunderdale, CUSP

Getting Safety Communications Right with SBAR

Nathan Boutwell, M.Eng., CSP, SMS, CIT, CUSP; Robert J. Cornet, Ph.D.; and Michelle Mannering, Ph.D.
Nathan Boutwell, M.Eng., CSP, SMS, CIT, CUSP; Robert J. Cornet, Ph.D.; and Michelle Mannering, Ph.D.

Powered Industrial Truck Safety

Charles Keeling, CUSP
Charles Keeling, CUSP

4 Questions for Continuous Improvement

Jesse Hardy, CSP, CIT, CUSP
Jesse Hardy, CSP, CIT, CUSP
Author Ken Sheridan explains what an organization needs to do to get safety right – including the how and the why.

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘No Compromise’ 

Dang you, Ken Sheridan. I had a life and a job that I enjoyed, and I thought I had safety figured out. Then you wrote “No Compromise: The Truth About Workplace Safety & Business Success.” I couldn’t put it down, and worse yet, chapter four is so good I read it three times before I ever got to…
The book offers significant insight into what a successful safety program looks like.

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘The 8 Habits of a Highly Effective Safety Culture’

Not long ago, Utility Business Media Inc. published my book, “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle.” Researching and writing the book helped me learn to appreciate and apply knowledge and wisdom from other writers. In this article, I want to share some highlights from “The 8 Habits of a Highly Effect…

The book teaches leaders to see the ship through the eyes of the crew, communicate purpose and meaning, and listen aggressively.

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘It’s Your Ship’

During the research and writing process for my new book – “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle,” published by Utility Business Media Inc. – I read a lot of books, and I want to share some highlights from a few of my favorites. This article will focus on the bestselling “It’s Your Ship” by Captain D….
Jack Canfield’s book offers 64 principles used by successful people throughout history

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘The Success Principles’

During the research and writing process for my new book – “Frontline Leadership: The Hurdle,” published by Utility Business Media Inc. – I read a lot of books, and I want to share some highlights from a few of my favorites. This article will focus on “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where…

The Importance of Proper Coverup: Two Real-Life Tales

Very early on in my career as a lineman, I was involved in two events that taught me some important lessons about proper coverup and how critical it is to worker safety. Both events occurred between 1972 and 1973. I was working on a big line crew, and while there were different crew foremen, ther…

The End of a Career

I have been working in the electric utility business as a lineman, supervisor and safety training consultant for a very long time. I am at the point where I am ready to fade away like a light fog on an early summer morning. I dearly love the work, and I have the greatest respect for the utility e…

Installing Fiber-Optic Cable in Electric Supply Spaces

Based on recent social media comments I’ve seen, questions submitted to Incident Prevention magazine and inquiries I’ve personally received, this installment of “Voice of Experience” is going to focus on OSHA and National Electrical Safety Code issues regarding the installation of fiber-optic cab…

System Grounding for Worker Protection Against Induced Voltages

In the last installment of “Voice of Experience,” we reviewed OSHA’s rules for transmission and distribution (T&D) equipment grounding. This time around, we are going to discuss where and how induced voltages occur and, more importantly, how to protect employees from hazards associated wit…

Q&A

August – September 2022 Q&A

Q: Is it ever OK to put a man basket on a crane? My understanding is that OSHA 1926.1400, “Cranes and Derricks in Construction,” states doing so is prohibited.   A: For our readers, the rule you are referring to is 29 CFR 1926.1431(a), which begins, “The use of equipment to hoist employees is prohibited …” The rule goes on to list the basis for exceptions. For line construction, an exception c…

June – July 2022 Q&A

Q: Why does grounding alone not prevent static discharges, and why don’t we have to ground all flammable dispensing drums and stations? A: “Flammable” is a relative term, and some of the written standards are detailed to the point that they can be confusing. The best thing any facility can do is to consult a chemist, chemical engineer or fire science specialist to survey and equip your flamm…
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