Tag: Leadership Development

Just Like the Real Thing: Training the Next Generation of Lineworkers


The Missouri Valley JATC offers comprehensive training at its new state-of-the-art facility.   “Many people say that a lot of [lineworker] rules are written in blood, and there is literal truth to that. Safety is our value. We don’t have any competing priorities over safety. It’s not number one. It’s on a list of one.” That’s a quote from Tim Vassios, a lead instructor at the Missouri Valley Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC). Both Vassios and his organization – with the support of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association...

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3 Keys to Transforming Safety and Organizational Performance

3 Keys to Transforming Safety and Organizational Performance Engaging in these activities can help companies manage all types of risk holistically. Utility organizations have an opportunity to transform their safety and organizational performance by adopting a proven strategy and approach. This approach – which consists primarily of the following three components – requires leaders to think and manage differently while also challenging industry paradigms and assumptions: Study and learn from success, not just failure. Integrate the organization’s safety and loss prevention system into other...

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A Lineworker’s Three Safety Superpowers

Workplace safety requires each of us to do our part to keep ourselves and our co-workers free from injury and illness. To meet this goal, we must understand the tools we have and know how to use them. Let’s look at a lineman’s life, for example. He can climb poles, float through the air in a bucket, safely touch energized conductors, balance poles and transformers, and construct all of these items into a working system.

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Human Error and Organizational Resilience

From 1980 through 2010, safety performance emphasis was on accident prevention through the application of controls. We learned about the hierarchy of controls (elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment) and the multiple barrier principle (use several controls in case one or two fail so there will always be something to protect you).

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Collaborating for Safety

One of the most vital responsibilities a utility fleet has to its customers – which typically include operators, field management and corporate management – is to provide vehicles and equipment that meet operational and corporate objectives. Those objectives also must be met without compromising the safety of the operators, other workers or the general public. So, how does fleet uphold safety as a core value while managing all of the other objectives that the department and its customers have – particularly when those other objectives appear to, at times, directly conflict with the safety objective? The...

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The Antidote to Complacency and Familiarity

Safety managers know that when an employee has done a particular task many times, that individual can become so familiar with the action that they no longer have to pay close attention while performing the work. As they become complacent in their ability to successfully complete the task, the risk of accident increases. But familiarity is not an emotional state. It’s a physical condition. Familiarity is the byproduct of habit, and a habit is a neural pathway created in the brain through repetition. How Habits are FormedWhen the brain does something for the first time, the prefrontal cortex...

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Is a Better Job Brief Possible?

If you have studied human performance or read Incident Prevention magazine regularly in recent years, you know that human beings are affected by a variety of cognitive biases. And if you’ve been in the electric utility industry for even a short while, you know that the job brief is hailed as a key to a safe workday. Given the variability in the delivery of job briefs around the country, however, it sometimes is difficult to determine how effective they really are. This article will explore issues presented by some current job brief practices as well as identify behaviors to consider that will...

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