Utility Safety Leadership Development

Michael S. Haro, Ph.D., CBSS

Mind Control: Distractions, Stress and Your Ability to Work Safely

Are you easily distracted? If yes, your stress levels likely rise with these distractions and your potential human error risk increases. Sociologist William Helmreich, professor at the City University of New York, states: “The gift of intelligence is critical to survival in everyday situations.” He goes on to say, “This basic intelligence enables people quickly to size up situations, break down and analyze problems, and make good decisions.” (Sherwood, Ben. The Survivors Club. Grand Central Publishing, 2010, page 175.)

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Shawn Galloway

Heard It Through the Grapevine

When searching for ways to improve safety and safety culture, many companies administer safety perception surveys to identify areas for improvement. A common category that is probed is management’s support for safety. When positive perceptions are identified, many organizations will move on to other categories. However, it is important to understand what is influencing a positive perception within a culture if you would like it to persist.

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John Boyle

Error-Free Performance: Part II

This month we continue with the remaining tools that will help you with error-free performance. First, a quick recap:
• Human error is normal, but can be provoked by practices found in the workplace and by traps in organizational processes, procedures and culture.
• When applied in the moment, a series of techniques called “tools” will catch errors or help avoid error traps.
• A tool can be used alone or multiple tools can be used depending on the complexity of the task.
• The challenge is developing the habit to routinely use tools. They are used every day by emergency room personnel, 911 center operators, pilots and air traffic controllers, nuclear plant personnel and employees of other businesses where errors create unwanted consequences. These tools are used around the world because they work.

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John Boyle

Error-Free Performance

Have you ever:
• Driven through a stop sign without realizing it because you were deep in thought?
• Lost your place while reading a book?
• Gotten distracted while performing a task and ended up having to do it again?
• Found yourself writing the wrong year on a check in January?
• Taken direction over the phone only to realize you’re lost when you attempt to follow what you wrote down?
• Built or assembled something only to find out you have to rebuild it because there are leftover parts?

Human error is natural, but can be provoked by workplace practices and traps in organizational processes, procedures and culture. Understanding human error helps us realize that we, as human beings, possess a wide range of capabilities, yet we also have many limitations.

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John Boyle

Analyzing Safety and Hazards on the Job

Analyzing Safety and Hazards on the Job

Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) are often talked about as separate activities, but are actually very much the same. The basic idea is that they both involve the careful study of each job step to identify potential or existing job hazards generated by equipment, environments or employee actions. The most efficient way to reduce or eliminate hazards is then determined.

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Parrish Taylor

Maturity Matters

As a safety professional, immaturity matters because you are forced to deal with it daily. In spite of the challenges, your task remains the same – to navigate through the immaturity and do your job well.

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John Boyle

How Good Are Your Tailgates?

Job brief, pre-task brief, pre-job brief or tailgate conference – no matter the name, each item has the same purpose. The question is, how well do you brief to ensure your crew is prepared? This Tailgate Topic will cover the basics and maybe even raise a few questions.

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Jessica Athey

Seamless and Compliant

Training gas and electric utility personnel for over 100 years, the not-for-profit Midwest ENERGY Association (MEA), established in 1905, has seen firsthand how the highest level of safety, operations, and leadership training for employees has become not only more important, but also increasingly challenging. Today, MEA continues to deliver to its members and other subscribers the best possible training in natural gas, liquids, OSHA, electric, and leadership subject areas. The organization also works in concert with its members to collaborate on the development of effective training programs.

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Parrish Taylor

Succession Syndrome

Why both technical and soft skills training are vital for first-time managers

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Pam Tompkins, CSP, CUSA, CUSP

Distribution Dispatcher or System Operator?

Distribution Dispatcher or System Operator?

Information technology has profoundly transformed the electric distribution dispatching center. Historically, a dispatching center’s primary responsibility was to receive outage calls, assign daily work and communicate to field crews via the company radio.

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Jacob Phelps

Training Second Point of Contact

The second point of contact is common terminology that is utilized industry wide when discussing energized work methods, such as rubber gloving or hot sticking. Ignoring the hazards of the second point of contact is the primary contributor to electrical contacts while working with rubber gloves or hot sticks.

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Jeff Clark, CUSP

Human Performance

The Generic Error Modeling System (GEMS) has developed a framework for understanding error types and designing error prevention strategies.

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George R. Popovici, CUSA, CUSP

Safety Information Superhighway

Designing an integrated safety information system creates a platform for safety predictive modeling

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Max Fuentes

How to Bulletproof Your Training

Utilities, like other industries, are facing a new training challenge. Businesses that require a hands-on approach to training their employees are soon to feel the effects of an anticipated “knowledge transfer” due to the pending retirement of large numbers of baby boomers.

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Bob McCall

Embracing Change: Think Human Performance

If knowledge of concepts that would prevent all accidents, events, injuries or fatalities caused by a person were available, would you accept that information? Clearly, the answer is you should want to do all you can to prevent bad things from happening to your fellow employees and the company you serve, especially if you hold a leadership position.

I first learned about Human Performance (HP) in 1997 when I was the Mechanical Maintenance Supervisor at the Duane Arnold Energy Center and had the pleasure of serving 30 of the finest mechanics in the business. I cared about each person on my crew and didn’t want bad things to happen to them or their families.

During my tenure at the plant, I had the pleasure of attending a supervisor-development seminar held by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO). During one of our leadership sessions, we had a presentation on HP. The information fascinated me so much that when the instructor ran out of time for the class, I begged our facilitator to allow the instructor to come back and finish. I was turned on to some information that changed my life. I heard information that gave me the ability to prevent first aid cases, injuries, OSHA recordable events and fatalities caused by people.

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Seth Skydel

Focusing on a Safety Culture at Consumers Energy

As Safety & Health Director for CMS/Consumers Energy, Tom Taylor
discusses his role in developing, maintaining and auditing all safety
and health programs.

Headquartered in Jackson, Michigan, Consumers Energy is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy Corporation, an integrated energy company that also includes CMS Enterprises, whose primary businesses are independent power production and natural gas transmission. Consumers Energy, Michigan's second-largest electric and natural gas utility, is the 13th-largest investor-owned electric company in the U.S. The company provides service to more than six million residents in all 68 of the state's Lower Peninsula counties. As the 5th-largest investor-owned natural gas utility in the country, it delivers more than 360 billion cubic feet of gas through a system of 26,400 miles of pipelines.

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Tyrone Tonkinson, Ph.D., P.E.

Tips for Improving Incident Investigation Interviews- Part 2: Contact Time

Tips for Improving Incident Investigation Interviews, Part 2: Contact TimeAssuming you have adequately prepared for conducting incident investigation interviews (see "The Art of Interviewing, Part 1: Preparation" in the January/ February 2007 issue of Incident Prevention), a primary objective for live interviews is to help interviewees reveal the deeper reasons why the incident occurred. The evidence you collect will tell you what happened. In other words, you don't just ask what happened, you interview the people involved to find out why things happened.The following tips can help successful incident investigation interviews:PUT THE PERSON AT EASE This is the most important tip...
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Tyrone Tonkinson, Ph.D., P.E.

Tips for Improving Incident Investigation Interviews - Part 1: Preparation

Part 1 of a 2-part article.
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George R. Popovici, CUSA, CUSP

Learning Curve

The OSHA Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR 1910.269 Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution) requires employers to ensure that qualified personnel who perform work on equipment 50 volts or greater verify their knowledge of the regulations on an ongoing basis. To meet this important requirement, NSTAR Electric and Gas Corporation has implemented a highly successful self-service, computer-based learning program.
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Ronald J. Schenk, CUSP

When is a Lineman a Lineman?

This feature's title is not a rhetorical question. There really should be an answer-a definitive, widely accepted answer we could all give quickly and consistently. There isn't and we can't, though we try with great confidence. When one of us comes up with something that sounds pretty good, another one of us disagrees.
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