How Electric Cooperatives are Keeping Workers Safe Across the U.S.

By GoCanvas Team on February 28, 2023

Electric cooperatives are increasing safety for workers and contractors across the United States. These initiatives include a commitment to zero contacts, the Rural Electric Safety Program, and other key safety education programs. They aim to help improve safety for workers and contractors for electrical companies across the country. Taking part in those initiatives can help many electrical companies across the United States create a greater overall level of safety for their individual workers and mitigate risk for the company as a whole.

Commitment to Zero Contacts

The Commitment to Zero Contacts begins with Phase 1: a re-commitment to lifesaving tools. Most electrical companies are aware of those lifesaving measures and how they can best ensure the safety of their workers. However, over time, those workers grow increasingly complacent. In addition, new workers may not receive the information they need to make the safest decisions on the job site.

In order to increase safety for electrical workers, the Commitment to Zero Contacts initiative has created a toolkit to help increase awareness of those lifesaving tools and critical safety regulations. The toolkit has a variety of resources designed to help improve overall safety on work sites, including:

  • An emergency information placard that allows for a place to note emergency contact information for every job briefing. These emergency information placards make it easier for workers to get in touch with emergency personnel in the event of an emergency.
  • Videos to help start the discussion about procedures designed to minimize contact. These include clearance procedures, cover-up procedures, and examples of how other companies have initiated those key changes.
  • Rules and procedures to help senior leadership make key decisions about operations and implement new programs. 

In addition, the toolkit contains logos, posters, stickers, and other materials designed to serve as a reminder of that zero contact commitment. As a result, workers are exposed to those reminders more often. This helps increase the odds that they will take needed safety precautions. 

Phase 2

As the initiative moves toward Phase 2, the electric cooperative will partner with operational department leaders. They review current workplace procedures, including those that could increase the risk of electrical contact. These hands-on meetings will broaden opportunities and provide more chances for discussion. In turn, they can help electrical companies across the country create more effective procedures. These assessments help provide more insight into actual work practices and create more buy-in across local electrical companies. 

The Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program

The Rural Electric  Achievement Program issues key performance measurement guidelines. This help lay out standardized reporting guidelines and safety initiatives that help increase awareness of potential vehicle accidents in rural electric companies. This safety program aims to improve the reporting of accidents in rural electric companies. As a result, we gain a better understanding of how and when accidents most likely occur. It recommends:

  • Regular tracking of vehicle accidents and vehicle mileage, which can help determine where and when accidents occur.
  • Updating performance measurement data when injury rates are finalized.
  • Tracking the demographics of potential accidents.

Track Accidents To Prevent Others

The Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program tracks the types of accidents that cause any type of fatalities. These include vehicle accidents, falls, electrical contacts, electrical flashes, “struck by object” injuries, non-electrical fatalities, or crushing damage. In addition, the program looks at the likely cause or causes of fatalities. These often include inadequate cover, minimum approach violation, failure to wear safety equipment, failure to ground, and failure to lock out/tag out. In short, the program takes a close look at the causes of fatalities. As a result, it can identify what safety violations are most common across rural electric companies and their workers. 

The initiative also aims to track injuries, including injuries that resulted in days away from work, and the causes of those injuries. By carefully tracking all those key details, the RESAP aims to increase awareness of potentially damaging injuries, their causes, and how workers can improve overall safety on the job site. 

Automating Safety Compliance Paperwork: How It Benefits Electric Companies

The recent rise in safety initiatives across electric companies has created a number of challenges. One of the main ones is the need to ensure that paperwork gets caught up in a timely manner. By automating safety and compliance paperwork, electric companies can experience a number of benefits. We’ve outlined three.

Mitigate Risk

Failing to comply with vital safety initiatives poses a danger to all electrical workers. Unfortunately, in many cases, the company may not realize that individual workers or groups of workers are failing to take those safety requirements into consideration. By automating the completion of that paperwork, companies can identify potential risks and mitigate them quickly, rather than exposing future workers to those risks. 

Automated safety and compliance paperwork completion also help ensure that the company is keeping all of its paperwork ready to go and all safety compliance standards in place. As a result, they reduce the overall risk that the company may face fines and fees from regulatory agencies.

Save Money

Safety and compliance can prove very expensive for some electrical companies. Furthermore, failure to keep up with vital safety regulations further increases overall costs. This is because the company may face liability for any accident that occurs due to a lack of appropriate safety measures. By automating safety and compliance paperwork, on the other hand, companies can often save money by streamlining the process and avoiding unnecessary accidents and the associated fees. 

Ensure a Safer Workplace

Electrical workers know the risks they face on the job. Unfortunately, over the years, those workers may grow complacent. New workers on the job may also be unaware of potential risks, especially if they do not receive the right briefings and support. By automating safety and compliance paperwork, the company can take those requirements out of the hands of individual workers, increasing the odds of successful completion and compliance. 

Safety and compliance in the electrical field are essential. By working with electrical cooperatives across the United States, companies can see higher overall safety levels. As a result, they can reduce injuries, protect workers, and decrease the cost of those vital safety requirements.