Incident Prevention Magazine

Marcia L. Eblen and Rick Kennerly

Are Your Temporary Protective Grounds Really Protecting You?

Are Your Temporary Protective Grounds Really Protecting You?

National equipment standards constantly evolve due to near misses and incidents that occur in the field. This evolution results in electric utilities adopting different work methods and procedures, equipment, education and training to keep utility workers and the public safe as every electric utility company builds and maintains the national electric grid.

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Steve Hedden, CUSP

Ergonomics for Lineworkers

Ergonomics for Lineworkers

I am not an ergonomics expert. I am, however, a former lineman now in my 50s, experiencing aches and pains from many years of working in the field. I became interested in how ergonomics – the field of study that fits the job to the worker rather than the worker to the job – could improve line work after reading an article that explained how We Energies, an electric service provider headquartered in Milwaukee, had conducted a study in conjunction with the Electric Power Research Institute and Marquette University to determine why their employees were suffering so many hand, shoulder, knee and back injuries. It was like a light bulb came on. I thought back to co-workers who struggled with chronic pain resulting from their work as lineworkers and realized it didn’t have to be that way. I started the trade knowing it was a hard job, but I was young and strong. I wanted to impress co-workers and gain their acceptance on the crew, so I worked hard and didn’t concern myself with what I was doing to my body. The veterans who started this same way, and were now suffering the consequences, respected others who were willing to put in the hard work and sacrifice themselves just like they did.

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Parrish Taylor

Learning Leadership: Leadership Skill Set 4: Social Awareness

You’ve surely heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Truth be told, it’s not up to you to lead the horse to water or get him to drink. If you are wise in your ways of understanding others, all you must do is make the horse thirsty. A thirsty horse will find its way to water and drink all on its own.

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Passing the CUSP Exam

Passing the CUSP Exam

The Utility Safety & Ops Leadership Network's Certified Utility Safety Professional exam is like no other in the safety industry. There is strict criteria an individual must meet to sit for the exam, and the exam itself is challenging, but for good reason. From the beginning, members of the USOLN exam development team challenged ourselves to create a valid process to identify the skills a utility safety professional should have, and then to establish a process to validate those skills. The culmination of these processes is the CUSP credential – a reliable means for employers to identify safety professionals with the skills required to be capable safety leaders and reliable workplace safety resources.

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Jim Vaughn, CUSP

Train the Trainer 101: Live-Line Tool Maintenance Program

Around 2009, a hot-line crew working in the Southwest had a transmission phase suspended under a hot stick while replacing a suspension string. The observer on the ground was the first to spot it. The crew was warned and looked up to see their rated hot stick smoking, all the more urgent because at the time they had no safe place to land the phase. The day was freezing and windy, not uncommon for that part of the Southwest. The wind was picking up dust and then mixing with sleet. The sleet started to adhere to the stick, creating a path to the steel crane line. Thinking quickly, the crew knocked the ice off the stick, lowering the chance of flashover. They also took that stick out of service.

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Danny Raines, CUSP

Voice of Experience: Incidents and the Failure to Control Work

Flashes and contacts continue to happen throughout the electric utility industry. All sectors, from the smallest contractor to the largest investor-owned utility, report incidents every day. I have seen reports that one contractor working a 23-kV circuit locked out the breaker twice in one day. Other reports now indicate that 2013 is trending even higher than last year for the first four months of the year. The industry is on course to meet the average of 24 to 28 fatalities documented in the utility and contractor North American Industry Classification System codes reported to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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