David Jones, Field Safety Coordinator, Kansas City Power & Light, explains how, in 2006, the utility attained the lowest OSHA incident rate in its history.
Founded in 1882, Kansas City, Missouri-based Kansas City Power & Light has evolved over the past 125 years into a full-service energy provider. Today, KCP&L services nearly 500,000 customers in 24 western Missouri and eastern Kansas counties, covering a territory of about 4,600 square miles. Delivering that power requires 1,700 miles of transmission lines, more than 10,000 miles of overhead distribution lines, and approximately 3,400 miles of underground distribution lines. The company also operates eight stations with 25 generating units to provide power to its customers and for sale into the wholesale market, and has over 4,000 megawatts of generation assets in operation or under construction.KCP&L operates from five main service centers in the Kansas City metropolitan area as well as two outlying service centers. Safety and training activities at two of the facilities— the Northland center in the metro area with about 20 employees and one in Marshall, Missouri called the East District with about 40 employees—are overseen by David Jones, Field Safety Coordinator. Jones assumed his current position in the KCP&L safety and training department six months ago. An industry veteran with 32 years of experience as a lineman, lead lineman and working foreman, he has been with KCP&L since July 2002.
Who is in the safety and training department and what are their responsibilities?
In our customer operations safety and training department we have a manager, Joe Miller, a customer operations safety manager, Keith Kensinger, and a customer operations training superintendent, Greg Beel. In addition, including me there are five field safety coordinators, four field training coordinators and five technical training consultants. Our team also includes Karen Kono, the manager of the Safety/Medical Department, and her staff of five team members.
What safety and training programs are in place at KCP&L?
About three years ago we started a pre-apprentice program. Currently, we accept approximately 300 applications at a time and then conduct phone interviews. Applicants who successfully pass that part of the process are given a face-to-face interview and, when those are complete, the interview team meets and chooses the best candidates for the position. We also have a program that is called lineman refresher training. We do a survey and ask our linemen what areas they feel we need to cover in refresher training. These training sessions usually last two days.
What process do you follow to determine hazards and develop safety practices and programs?
We do field safety audits conducted by our bargaining safety representatives, managers, supervisors and field safety coordinators. We also have our leadmen conduct job briefings and we use near miss reports to help identify hazards that happen on the job with equipment, materials or housekeeping.
Who is involved in purchasing decisions for vehicles, tools and personal protective equipment for work crews?
We have an equipment committee that researches the needs of the people in the field and works to meet their needs. They look at things like bucket and service trucks, and digger derricks. Then they look at what vendors have to offer to equip the vehicles. Safety plays a big role in how a truck is equipped. We also have tools and standards committees that safety is involved in when making decisions.
How do you measure safety performance?
We have a joint health and safety committee where areas of concern from both bargaining unit members and management are discussed and are prioritized for investigating. In the committee, teams made up of members from both sides work together to resolve any issues. Through this effort we can measure our progress and see how we are making safety a priority.
At KCP&L we have also implemented a safety web page. On it we can track safety reports, log near misses, view safety statistics, read safety rules and procedures, view our safety calendar to see what events are coming up, and many other important safety-related topics. About three years ago, as well, our company asked the Dupont Safety Resources Company to perform annual assessments of our safety progress. This has been an outstanding move because it has shown us what areas we are excelling in and what areas are in need of improvement.
What safety improvement achievements can you point to at KCP&L and to what do you attribute your success?
Our goal is to have zero accidents and be a tier one company in the utility industry. With that said, we are proud to report that in 2006 we attained the lowest OSHA incident rate since KCP&L has been keeping records. This was achieved through the efforts of an engaged and loyal staff, an inspired and disciplined management team and the unwavering support of a great bargaining unit whose safety representatives are instrumental in supporting every aspect of our safety culture.
How would you sum up your philosophy and approach toward utility safety?
With the support of my department team, the management and the bargaining unit, I can help make decisions that will ensure we all work safely every second, every minute and every hour of every day, every month and every year. That way, we are sure that all of our employees can go home safely at the end of the day. ip
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