Utility Safety Management Articles

John Howard

Soil Resistivity Testing & Grounding System Design: Part I of II

For utilities designing site-specific grounding systems, soil resistivity testing is an absolutely necessary step. Soil resistivity data is required for the ground system to meet a specific performance requirement. With resistivity data, the design becomes predictable so that you know the final ground resistance to expect after installation.

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Donald F. Fritz, CSP, CSHM

Incident Analysis

The essence of safety is preventing incidents from having the opportunity to occur. When they do occur, it is usually the result of one or more safety systems failures. Failures, however, are the seeds of opportunity. Incidents provide us with opportunities, albeit unfortunate, to improve our safety systems and prevent future incidents. The process used to identify what improvements are needed is called Incident Analysis.

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Bart Castle

Moving from Operations into Safety or Training

Moving from Operations into Safety or Training

Over the past 50-plus years in production settings of all types, training has been largely made up of new employees spending either specified or unspecified periods of time with more experienced employees. At the end of that period, the experienced employee was responsible for pronouncing the new employee “trained.”

Sometimes, these practices produce an effective safety or training professional. It has been our experience in over more than 20 years of observing and discussing moves from operations to safety or training with several hundred organizations in a number of production industries, including electric utilities, that the move is not automatically successful. Furthermore, it is far less than automatic for some of the individuals that for years have been assumed to be perfect fits for these positions.

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Donald Brignac

What's in a Number?

Does it really mean anything if the RAI (Recordable Accident Incident Rate) for your non-payroll workers (hereafter referred to as “contractors”) is 6.2? At Entergy, where our most important value is to “Create and Sustain a Safe Working Environment,” numbers like those can be very important.

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Kate Wade

Strategies for Safety in the Wind Industry

For the wind power industry, practicing safety has always been more than a mission—it’s required. After all, a wind technician may be working in a space the size of a bathroom located on a tower 80 meters tall, surrounded by massive mechanical and high voltage electrical equipment, in a harsh climate, far from medical services.

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John Boyle

Keeping Things Safe in the Field and the Office

Keeping Things Safe in the Field and the Office

All employers should ensure that there are programs in place with written instructions to provide guidelines for the inspection, testing and maintenance of safety equipment located on the premises or supplied to employees.

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Kate Wade

Safety Culture Success

Organizations rely on numerous metrics—from incident rates to absenteeism—to help quantify and evaluate safety performance. But as lagging indicators, such metrics tell us little about the root causes of safety. Do employees truly buy into the organization’s safety policies and procedures?� Do workers get actively involved in the safety reporting process?� These are questions that are critical to understanding why a culture succeeds or fails in meeting its safety goals.

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Carl Griffith

Managing Safety

There's no magic to safety; it's management. Just as you manage productivity, quality or any other part of your company, safety management takes planning, organizing, leading, controlling and evaluating. You or your managers will be inspecting, investigating, recording, analyzing and reporting. How you make all this happen is through a safety program that gives you the policies, procedures and monitoring systems to make safety happen. With time and resources in short supply, a safety program has to be approached in a practical and effective manner. How do you assure its successful implementation? Start with some basic questions:

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Steve Owen

Passion for Safety

We have a responsibility to care for ourselves. In the utility business, for example, safety is about using proper personal protective equipment and approved safe work methods in a controlled environment. When we have a true passion for safety, we not only care for ourselves, but also take responsibility for influencing others in the use of safe practices.

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Ken Flechler, CUSA

Comcast Cable and CUSA

How Comcast Cable strongly encourages its employees with
responsibility for safety to obtain Certified Utility Safety Administrator (CUSA) certification. Should your utility do the same?
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Tyrone Tonkinson, Ph.D., P.E.

Managing Safety Rule Violations

This is the question I am asked most frequently at conferences and when delivering training. The short, direct answer is "Yes." So, if an individual violates a safety rule, should he or she be punished? It depends.
I know that sounds like a consultant's answer, so let's discuss what I mean. We can start by considering human nature. We all choose our behaviors based on expected consequences. What are the consequences of taking shortcuts on the job? While there are possible negative consequences, like rework or an injury, these problems are few and far between. One definite result is that the job takes less time. Getting done faster is usually considered a good thing. But what if the shortcut involves violating a safety rule? If there are no consequences for violating safety rules, can they be ignored? Will this  affect your safety record?
For the most part, people do not deliberately violate policies and safety rules. Our workers, however, are responding to many influences on their actions, including company goals, a sense of urgency to restore customer service, personal issues at home, and so on. When shortcuts get results and they are not corrected, the decision becomes a bad habit. And while bad habits will not lead to an injury every time, they will eventually catch up to the worker.
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Hugh Hoagland

NESC 2007 FLAME RESISTANT CLOTHING

The NESC 2007 standard sets forth quite a challenge to electric and communication utilities in the area of clothing. The new standard, which becomes law in several states, says, "The employer shall require employees to wear clothing or a clothing system that has an effective arc rating not less than the anticipated level of arc energy." This compliance is required by January 1, 2009.
The following challenges will require strategies and decisions by utilities to comply with the NESC standard.
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Parrish Taylor

Bridging Communication Gaps

As a safety professional, it's your responsibility to protect your firm's human capital.
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Seth Skydel

Dreams Can Become Reality: SDG&E Flex Center

Just as classroom training helps people acquire necessary knowledge, SDG&E's FLEX Center prepares them for the physical aspects of their jobs.
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Rick Tobey, CUSP

Making Safe Choices

In the high-risk world of utility operations, safety depends greatly on the choices that are made at all levels of an organization. The decisions that are made as to how we will handle a particular situation determine how safe everyone involved will be.
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Pam Tompkins, CSP, CUSA, CUSP

NESC-2007 Update

The 2007 edition of the National Electrical Safety Code may pose significant work rule changes for electric utilities. The updated code, which is detailed in the NESC-2007 handbook, covers the following areas.

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Michael Beckel

Dissecting an OSHA Inspection

While catastrophes and fatal accidents are obvious inspection triggers, almost half of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Admini- stration) visitations are complaint-driven. Therefore, the best way to avoid an inspection-and potential fines and penalties-is to eliminate complaints by employing preventive measures, including: . Participate in an OSHA voluntary compliance program. . Ensure that potentially serious or willful regulatory violations are identified and aggressively eliminated. Regular safety and compliance inspections by knowledgeable personnel provide a mechanism for hazard identification and demonstrate a company's commitment to safety. Employee involvement in inspections, safety committees and safety program development can enhance effectiveness exponentially and provide...
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Seth Skydel

Dramatic Results

By employing an advanced project monitoring and analysis solution, Oregon Electric Group is achieving significant safety improvement success.
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Jeff "Odie" Espenship

Keeping the 'Fighter Pilots' of Your Company Safe

A consistent, clear safety message backed by unwavering actions is what is takes to keep your employees flying straight.

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Nancy St. Hilaire, MS

Taking Safety to the Next Level

A look at the common denominator in companies that have successful safety programs.

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