Utility safety professionals have the duty to ensure a safe workplace for all employees. If that due diligence pays off, the result is consistently having few or no injuries on OSHA 300 forms year after year.
But no matter how well a safety program functions, incidents never completely stop occurring.
Reports of the incident travel like lightning through the company. There are no real details yet, just a statement that at 10 a.m. today, an employee of The Big City Project was seriously injured on the job. The event soon becomes the subject of coffee break conversations. “We’ve had a lot of serious incidents lately” […]
What do indicators really mean? Occupational safety and health (OSH) professionals continue to debate this issue. Can indicators really measure performance of an OSH program? On one side are lagging indicators, which include common markers such as total recordable incident rate (TRIR); days away, restricted and transfer rate; and experience modification rate.
I have a beautiful and caring better half. She is always there for me. One of the things she does for me is make breakfast. Now, I am an old country boy, so any old breakfast won’t do. I want meat, eggs, potatoes and toast, and she is happy to prepare them for me.
The adverse effects of complacency in the workplace have long been an ongoing source of concern in the safety community. What is not agreed upon is the reason for this problem. In my own experience, I have noticed that safety professionals use the term “complacency” in different ways to refer to different kinds of events.
Why is this happening? It hurts! Don’t let go! These are some of the thoughts that ran through my mind on a day in late 2015 when an induction contact surged through and around my body for roughly 30 seconds.
As we discovered in the first part of this two-part series (see https://incident-prevention.com/ip-articles/leading-change-through-faith-hope-and-tough-love-part-i), people are fallible, sometimes lessons aren’t learned, and improvements aren’t always made. This can leave leaders and team members feeling frustrated or apathetic because they don’t know how to right the ship. The simple truth is that your team should be able […]
The operations director stood before his direct reports, boiling over with anger. “Here we are again!” he said. “Still plagued with the same production, quality and safety issues – problems that we’ve cussed, discussed and created improvement plans for over and over again. I don’t know what’s wrong with you and your people, but we’re […]
Years ago, a rare event happened in the service area of the company I was working for at the time. Sea fog had rolled in and blanketed most of the system along the coastline where the generation was located. It contaminated the insulators and tripped major circuits everywhere. All of the substation and line crews […]
“Back in the day, we put leaking pots in a trash bag, and we were good to go!” For hundreds of Incident Prevention readers, that remark isn’t totally unheard of. And in reality, it’s not far off from what some do when leaking transformers are transported or stored prior to reclamation or disposal. However, that […]
The contractor’s executive team sat across the table from the client’s construction leadership. It was the client’s director who spoke first. “Let’s ensure everyone is on the same page,” he said. “Over the past six months, you’ve had numerous quality, production and schedule issues, an environmental noncompliance, two injuries and a utility contact that caused […]
You just want to do the job right and go home unharmed today, but things don’t always go as planned, incidents happen, and the lessons your team learns don’t always change the way you’ll do the job tomorrow. This can leave you feeling frustrated and helpless to improve the things that keep your team from […]
This article concludes a two-part discussion of protection strategies against arc flash and shock hazards. Here you will read about two topics: (1) arc flash and shock hazard labeling for industrial, commercial and generation facility electrical exposures, and (2) methods used to determine the level of PPE required. The previous article (see https://incident-prevention.com/blog/arc-flash-considerations-for-utility-and-construction-activities) mentioned that […]
Electrical utilities are among the most hazardous industries in which to work. And since the early days of power distribution, utilities have investigated and analyzed fatalities and other incidents in an effort to prevent recurrences. One proven way to help verify and measure the effectiveness of an organization’s safety efforts is to conduct field personnel […]
Electrical safety-related work practices are governed by different OSHA regulations for utilities and construction companies. Utilities follow 29 CFR 1910.269 and construction companies follow either 1926 Subpart K or 1926 Subpart V, depending on the job site. It wasn’t until the 1910.269 revisions in 2014 that OSHA used direct wording mandating arc-rated clothing. And while […]
Utility fleets today have access to a wide variety of valuable data from sources including telematics systems, motor vehicle records and crash statistics, all of which track drivers’ actions behind the wheel. With the vast amount of information available and the efficiency technology offers, it can be tempting to believe instilling safe driving behaviors in […]
“Safety” is a word many of use daily in our line of work. Within our organizations, we have safety manuals, safety procedures, safety meetings and even entire safety departments. But I often wonder how many times workers have truly considered the question, “What does safety mean to me?” Safety is “the condition of being safe […]
Safety personnel are not the only individuals responsible for safety in an organization. Executive management, operations management and workers also have roles to play in establishing and maintaining a safe working environment. However, specific roles and responsibilities for each of these groups are not always understood, and they may never have been introduced. This means […]
When the original version of the OSHA 29 CFR 1910.269 standard was published in the 1990s, flame-resistant (FR) and arc-rated (AR) clothing weren’t even mentioned. The dangers associated with electric arcs were known at the time, but the standard only required that an employer not allow an employee to wear clothing that, when exposed to […]
Recently my teammates and I were given the opportunity to evaluate the safety programs of a cross-section of contractors conducting potentially hazardous work for a large utility. It was our goal to help those contractors identify the vulnerabilities of their safety strategies and to help them become even more reliable partners to the utilities they […]