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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

Lower SIF rates and fewer unexpected outages are among the outcomes possible with a strong underground integrity management program.
The utility sector is at a higher risk of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) when compared to construction, manufacturing and mining, according to a 2018 study by DEKRA Organizational Safety & Reliability (see www.dekra.us/en/higher-serious-injuries-and-fatalities-sif-exposure-rate-in-utilities-sector-than-other-industries/). The study found that 30% of the SIFs in the utility industry are the result of motor vehicle incidents and another […]

More News…


Gap analysis is an effective tool that can help improve the reliability of an organization’s safety system.

A Targeted Approach to Safety Gap Analysis

Creating an environment of trust and open communication helps workers connect to one another to improve safety on the crew. 

Influencing Crew Safety


Crash Analysis: A Personal Story

I started the analysis almost right away out of habit. Actually, “right away” means later that day. First, we had to escape the burning truck. That was easier said than done because we were all unconscious from the impact.

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), all energy sectors reported hiring difficulties: “Lack of experience, training, or technical skills we…
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,
These items must be appropriately used and cared for to maintain their insulating capabilities.

Electrical Protective Equipment and Live-Line Tools

This article will address two unique areas of electric power regulatory standards: electrical protective equipment and live-line tools. As with all articles in this series, let’s start with the hazard. Electric power workers have exposure to electric shock hazards with extremely high risk of seri…
Change is the only constant. How will you respond to it?

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’

Not long ago, Utility Business Media Inc. published a book I wrote: “Frontline Leadership – The Hurdle.” During the research and writing process, I read a lot of books and want to share highlights from some of my favorites. This article will focus on the bestselling book “Who Moved My Cheese?: An…

Ground Gradient Step Potential and PPE

For various reasons, ground gradient step potential hazards are not always considered or thought to be important. I recently received a call from a large investor-owned utility whose employees had differing opinions about using super dielectric overshoes or work boots when setting a pole in an en…

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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!

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),…
These inspections aren’t an inconvenience or a formality – they’re a literal matter of life and death.

6-Step Method for Safety Harness Inspections

Your PPE can protect you if it’s in good working order and used properly, and this is especially true of fall protection gear. All gear should be inspected before use because a deficiency can be dangerous. Damaged or defective equipment should be immediately removed from service, as should equipm…
Lower SIF rates and fewer unexpected outages are among the outcomes possible with a strong underground integrity management program.

Increasing Safety Through Underground Integrity Management

The utility sector is at a higher risk of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) when compared to construction, manufacturing and mining, according to a 2018 study by DEKRA Organizational Safety & Reliability (see www.dekra.us/en/higher-serious-injuries-and-fatalities-sif-exposure-rate-in-uti…
Featured Products

RoboReels

Aircraft Dynamics Triplex or Service Wire RoboReels are designed for lineworkers to provide an easy and safe means to unwind and re-wind cumbersome wire and cable. These are extremely rugged, all-weather, heavy-duty reels made of steel and E-coated to ensure long life.  Triplex RoboReels have …

Safety Management


Increasing Safety Through Underground Integrity Management

The utility sector is at a higher risk of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) when compared to construction, manufacturing and mining, according to a 2018 study by DEKRA Organizational Safety & Reliability (see www.dekra.us/en/higher-serious-injuries-and-fatalities-sif-exposure-rate-in-uti…

A Targeted Approach to Safety Gap Analysis

Does a gap exist between lagging indicator performance and the reliability of industry companies’ safety systems? The bad news is that our work in the industry has led us to believe the short answer to that question is yes. The good news is that our work in the industry has led us to develop an a…

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…
Gap analysis is an effective tool that can help improve the reliability of an organization’s safety system.

A Targeted Approach to Safety Gap Analysis

Does a gap exist between lagging indicator performance and the reliability of industry companies’ safety systems? The bad news is that our work in the industry has led us to believe the short answer to that question is yes. The good news is that our work in the industry has led us to develop an a…
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,
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…
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


6-Step Method for Safety Harness Inspections

Your PPE can protect you if it’s in good working order and used properly, and this is especially true of fall protection gear. All gear should be inspected before use because a deficiency can be dangerous. Damaged or defective equipment should be immediately removed from service, as should equipm…

Influencing Crew Safety

Influence sways our beliefs and our direction in life. We are swayed by the news, public opinion, social media, our family and friends, and by some things we don’t even know are influencing us. In the utility industry, this begs the question: How do we as leaders go about influencing those aro…

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 …
Creating an environment of trust and open communication helps workers connect to one another to improve safety on the crew. 

Influencing Crew Safety

Influence sways our beliefs and our direction in life. We are swayed by the news, public opinion, social media, our family and friends, and by some things we don’t even know are influencing us. In the utility industry, this begs the question: How do we as leaders go about influencing those aro…
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),…
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 …

The Significance of Critical Steps at the Work Site

A “critical step” is an action that can trigger immediate, irreversible harm to people and assets if it is improperly performed. Such a step occurs in our industry whenever an action involves a substantial transfer of energy, movement of weight, or transference of something else that could cause or result in harm to a person or asset.
R. Neal Gracey
R. Neal Gracey

Safety Considerations for Matted Surfaces

Have you ever worked a job that involved matting? If so, were the hazards and risks of matting discussed during the pre-job briefing? We often focus on the electrical hazards of our work sites – and we should – but we fall short if we don’t also pay attention to other types of hazards. The remain…
Nathan Boutwell, M.Eng., CSP, SMS, CIT, CUSP; Nick Powers; and Bill Hinrichs, CUSP
Nathan Boutwell, M.Eng., CSP, SMS, CIT, CUSP; Nick Powers; and Bill Hinrichs, CUSP

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 pe…
Brian Sambuco, M.S., CSP, CUSP
Brian Sambuco, M.S., CSP, CUSP

Working Safely from Elevated Heights

Charles Keeling, CUSP
Charles Keeling, 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.
Change is the only constant. How will you respond to it?

From My Bookshelf to Yours: ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’

Not long ago, Utility Business Media Inc. published a book I wrote: “Frontline Leadership – The Hurdle.” During the research and writing process, I read a lot of books and want to share highlights from some of my favorites. This article will focus on the bestselling book “Who Moved My Cheese?: An…
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….

Ground Gradient Step Potential and PPE

For various reasons, ground gradient step potential hazards are not always considered or thought to be important. I recently received a call from a large investor-owned utility whose employees had differing opinions about using super dielectric overshoes or work boots when setting a pole in an en…

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…

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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