The Delaware Valley Safety Council Introduces The PowerSafe Safety Orientation To Utility Company Owners And Utility Contractors In The Northeast Region

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Standardized, verifiable and reciprocal safety training saves lives, lowers cost and increases efficiency.

A reciprocal, standardized safety training and verification program designed specifically for the power industry.

Recognizing the need for a standardized, reciprocal safety training orientation for utility company owners and utility company contractors in the Northeast region, the Delaware Valley Safety Council, in partnership with Alliance Safety Council of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is bringing the PowerSafe safety orientation to the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic area. Currently, no such standardized, reciprocal program exists for the region’s power industry.

Often, during extreme events like heavy snowstorms or hurricanes, power outages can occur for sustained periods for large numbers of power consumers. Affected power companies then quickly move to import utility workers from contractor companies located in other unaffected areas to supplement the normal workforce in order to accelerate return of service. Of course, the level of safety training can vary greatly across this workforce. It becomes a problem when well-trained workers commingle with inadequately trained workers. And, with a lack of standardized, reciprocal training, there currently is not a readily verifiable database to validate training levels.

As an example of the need for this type of safety training for the area’s utility workers, the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently issued citations to a large regional firm in connection with the fatal electrocution of an employee. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, two repeat violations and one serious violation were affirmed, with a large cash penalty, and the proviso that the company will, in the future, provide enhanced electrical safety training and other safeguards to its field technicians who install suspension strand on utility poles that carry power lines.

Similar concerns for contractor safety management were faced by the petrochemical industry with the enactment of Process Safety Management (PSM) regulations in 1991. Refinery managers at that time elected to create a reciprocal, contractor safety orientation and have it administered by an independent, non-profit safety association.

By partnering with a non-profit, overhead was immediately reduced. Streamlined processes and economies of scale cut costs further. The petrochemical industry has thus benefitted since by having access to trans regional workers, all trained to the same verifiable level of safety awareness. PowerSafe now provides an opportunity for the power industry to benefit in like fashion.

PowerSafe was created in 2004 when a large utility company in the Southeast region of the country, recognizing the value that safety orientation plays in an incident-free work environment, subsequently partnered with industry contractors and the non-profit Alliance Safety Council to produce a robust, standardized safety orientation and verification program. One of the key components of the PowerSafe strategy was to develop and deliver this standardized safety orientation while maintaining a searchable centralized training database.

PowerSafe provides value to owner companies and contractors alike:

  •     Contractors arrive at the site ready to work. PowerSafe’s core curriculum can be administered via computer at proctored and non-proctored locations, freeing up safety personnel and minimizing time away from work by all parties.
  •     Standardized testing eliminates redundant training. The PowerSafe safety orientation program is standardized for all participating sites.
  •     Completed orientations are maintained in a centralized database. This allows all parties to know immediately the status of individual contractor safety clearances.
  •     Legal risks are minimized for all parties. Standardized testing, accurate recordkeeping, and the incorporation of the latest OSHA requirements in the curriculum ensure that all parties are providing the best in safety orientation.

The Delaware Valley Safety Council believes that the PowerSafe safety orientation program will benefit all parties-at-interest in terms of increased safety, less time away from the job, and overall cost savings. Few things are as important as assuring that employees and contractors have a fundamental understanding of the hazards that may be present on a worksite. An OSHA-awareness level orientation serves as the building block for all future safety training. It’s about more than just checking a box that you have met an OSHA training standard or the safety guidelines of EPAct 2005 – it’s about protecting the lives and wellbeing of those you have been charged with training.

For further information contact:
Brian McClafferty
Director of Customer Relations
Delaware Valley Safety Council
302-736-1986 (Office)
610-737-0095 (Cell)

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Brian McClafferty

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