Tag: Leadership Development

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Oh, No! Changes in the Workplace

Change is rapidly becoming a common denominator for many utility safety programs for a variety of reasons. New equipment and automation bring changes to traditional work practices. Generational differences are changing the demographics of the workforce. Safety programs no longer focus just on OSHA compliance and lagging indicators. Certifications, such as the Certified Utility Safety Professional credential, are focusing on leadership, human performance, standards, hazard identification, operations and incident prevention techniques to achieve safety excellence. Introducing change into the...

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That’s What I Meant to Say: Safety Leadership in Communication

Individually, the disciplines of safety, leadership and communication each encompass a broad range of specialized experience. Yet, if we look at the relationship between the three disciplines, we can create a general understanding of how safety and leadership are directly impacted by communication in a specific work environment. Defining leadership can be a difficult task; everyone has his or her own definition of a leader. According to John C. Maxwell in his book “Developing the Leader Within You,” leadership is synonymous with influence. This definition applies to a safety culture in that...

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Apprenticeship Training

Apprentice training has been around as long as man has worked. I retired after a nearly 50-year career that began with an apprenticeship, and I currently act as a safety and training director, working with power line and electrical apprentices. My personal training was all on the job with almost no bookwork. A lineman I worked with gave me his copy of the “Lineman’s Handbook” and told me to read it. This book was perhaps the first version of a distance learning program. Fortunately, our crew leader was a very conscientious man and the linemen were exceptionally good. Several years later, with...

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Behavior Safety Training for Safety Committee Members

Industries concerned about bottom-line expenses tend to place behavior safety training low on the priority list. However, consider the direct costs your company paid for incidents, accidents, injuries, lost time, lost productivity, and damage to equipment or facilities during the past year. This article will outline a training program that can create significant safety advances as well as immeasurable returns on safe work practices. The Role of Safety CommitteesIn the United States, most companies have safety committees comprised of employee volunteers. These individuals play a significant...

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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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The Value of Safety Certification

Certified. Qualified. Competent. What do these words mean and how are they interrelated? A customer of a utility contractor recently rejected an application from a safety professional who wanted to work on their project, stating he was unqualified. The safety professional had CSP certification and more than 20 years of relevant experience. He is obviously certified, and his experience arguably makes him competent, raising the question: Is it possible to be certified, competent and unqualified? During the same week, this contractor bid on another job that required a CSP on staff. So what, exactly,...

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Effective Customer Relationships for Crew Leaders

In iP’s earlier installments of the Supervisory Series (April 2011, June 2011, August 2011, October 2011 and December 2011), we discussed the importance of career development for lineworkers targeted for supervisory responsibilities. We also discussed the supervisory skills required to be effective as a crew leader or foreman, including a full article on human behavior and communication skills. Installments 4 and 5 dealt with crew best practices and safety management, respectively. In this installment, we will discuss the foreman’s role in customer relationships. The Operations Department has...

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T&D Safety Management for Crew Leaders

In iP’s earlier installments of the Supervisory Series (April 2011, June 2011, August 2011 and October 2011), we discussed the importance of career development for lineworkers targeted for supervisory responsibilities. We also considered the supervisory skills required to be effective as a crew leader or foreman, including a full article on human behavior and communication skills. In the last issue we dealt with the concept of crew best practices. In this installment, we will focus more on crew practices, specifically those concerning crew safety management. Safety Attitudes and the Corporate...

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CUSP Basics: Introduction to Human Performance Principles

Have you been involved in an accident investigation? It’s very sad when we find out after the fact that some very simple actions or decisions led to a tragic outcome. Wouldn’t we be better off if we could anticipate incidents and prevent them? In 1990, human performance emerged as a new area of study that uses our knowledge of human nature to prevent events. This article provides some of the principles to start your journey on the road to prevention. These principles are also the basis for the human performance section of the Certified Utility Safety Professional (CUSP) program....

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