Author: Mike Caro, CUSP

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Field-Level Hazard Recognition Training That Works

As a safety professional or operations leader in your organization, one of your primary responsibilities is to ensure your employees can and do complete their work safely. People don’t want to get hurt and you don’t want them to. With that as a given, the question then becomes, how do you accomplish this? You can’t be everywhere watching everything all the time. You can’t point out every hazard on every job site for every worker. So, how do you rest easy in the belief that your employees are recognizing and mitigating hazards and working as safely as possible when you are not around? I’m going...

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Distribution Switching Safety

Lineworkers face no shortage of hazards during the course of a day, but switching is among those that give me the most pause. Opening and closing circuits, tying circuits together, breaking loads, transferring loads, tying or breaking substations – if any of these procedures go wrong, the results can be catastrophic. And while it always pays to heighten your awareness while switching, it is especially important to do so during the summer. Air conditioners, pool pumps, fans and other appliances add load in hot weather that can make any switching operation more precarious. In addition, the heat...

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Behavior-Based Safety: What’s the Verdict?

From its infancy in the late 1970s and early 1980s until now, behavior-based safety (BBS) has been a source of conflict in the safety profession, among company and union leadership, and even between practitioners. Nonetheless, after 30-plus years of use at companies that run the gamut of industries in dozens of countries around the world, it seems safe to assume that the theory and practice of BBS are here to stay. And since that is the case, this reality begs several questions. What is it about the BBS system that companies, safety professionals and practitioners find appealing? What are the...

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Distributed Generation Safety for Lineworkers

Distributed generation (DG) is also referred to as on-site generation, dispersed generation, embedded generation, decentralized generation, decentralized energy, distributed energy and district energy. Its definition varies slightly from source to source, but for lineworkers, DG is anything that generates power, is connected to the grid and is not part of the normal generating system of whomever we are working for at the time. A personal generator is the most common type of DG you will come into contact with in the field. These types of generators can range from small, portable, gas-powered...

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Traffic Safety for Lineworkers

One of the most dangerous tasks lineworkers perform has nothing to do with heights or electricity. Thousands of people die in the United States each year due to traffic accidents that occur in street and highway work zones, and there are always some lineworkers numbered among those fatalities. These accidents are violent, tragic and almost always preventable. The following Tailgate will provide you with information you need to know to keep yourself and your crew safe in work zones. This may sound counterintuitive, but when you are setting up to work next to or perhaps in a street or highway,...

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Integrity and Respect: Two of Our Most Important Tools

Few things are more difficult to establish or easier to lose than integrity. As safety professionals, if our workers, bosses and peers see us as people of integrity, we can ask things of them with a very real expectation that they will buy in, comply, participate and change. The level to which they will do these things is always a matter of degree, but trust built over time gives us options we otherwise do not have. Because integrity is such a key component of our success, it is worthwhile to spend some time considering how to build it, how to maintain it and what can destroy it. Many of these...

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