Power Lines Blog

Electrical Safety, Why Our Grades Are Improving

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Regardless of the safety statistic employed, over the last few decades, the number of accidents at electric utilities has decreased every year. Why? Because of a culture of safety, better understanding of costs, and improved manufacturing. So let’s celebrate safety, in May and every day. But, until we collectively reduce the overall death rate to zero, we still have to roll up our sleeves and admit we have a whole lotta work to do.

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Protecting the code: a decade of safety leadership

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In 2006, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers asked that I throw my hat into the ring to become chair of the National Electrical Safety Code. I was flattered to be considered for this lofty position to chair both the main and executive committees of “The Code,” but I wondered how I could ever handle chairing this utility-focused, industry consensus code for two full five-year cycles. Ten years as chair seemed at the time to be more of a prison sentence than an opportunity. However, I jumped in willingly, because they believed in me.

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Watch out: OSHA on injury and illness reporting

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On May 12, OSHA released its final rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. This final rule becomes effective on August 10, 2016 — so start preparing now. Utilities may need to make changes to long-standing practices around post-accident drug testing and safety incentives. Only discipline employees when they break a “legitimate” workplace safety or health rule.

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How to avoid holiday hazards

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While the holiday season is considered the most “wonderful time of the year,” it’s important to keep in mind that it’s also the most dangerous time of the year for home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, U.S. fire departments respond to an annual average of 210 home fires that begin with Christmas trees and an additional 860 home fires per year that begin with holiday decorations.

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