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Safety at Western

Classroom trainingWestern strives to achieve a level of safety for both its employees and the communities that surround us. That is why Western trains its employees and maintains high standards when it comes to safety. From monthly employee education and safety training sessions, to annual hearing tests, cholesterol and blood pressure tests, updates on blood-borne pathogens, hepatitis B vaccinations, to Drug and Alcohol Testing, to CPR and First Aid Training for employees, Western offers an array of opportunities for its employees to make sure that they can go home safely each and every night.

Western has once again received a “Certificate of Safety Accreditation” from the Rural Electric Safety Accreditation Program (RESAP) administered by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) of Arlington, Virginia. This is Western’s sixth accreditation since the inception of the program.

Certificate of Safety AccreditationThis unique program began in 1967, and has developed over the years into a tool to assist electric utility management in its role and commitment to achieve and maintain high safety standards for the protection of its employees and the community served.

Accreditation is valid for three years. The accreditation process consists of:

  • The applicant preparing an application that represents a collaborative record of the applicant electric system's safety policies and procedures over the past three calendar years;
  • The appropriate RESAP area administrator coordinating an onsite field observation of the applicant’s system for the purpose of evaluating the physical aspects of the system; and,
  • The applicant submitting the application and observation forms to the Rural Electric Safety Accreditation Committee for review.

In order to become accredited, a system must have an average score (observation and application) of at least 70. Each scoring element is graded between 0 and 5, with 3 being average. There are 161 scoring elements in the on-site observation and 83 elements in the application. A system that scores average on everything will not be accredited. Accreditation is for the above average system; however, most of the items in the guidelines are just good practice. For example:

Does the system have a written safety or loss control policy?
Is the responsibility for the program assigned to the general manager?
Poletop Rescue How often is pole-top rescue training conducted?
What percentage of employees has had first aid and CPR training? CPR Training
Are job briefings conducted prior to start of work?
Hot stick testing Are employees trained in hazard recognition?
Does the system distribute printed safety material or conduct community education programs? Classroom Safety Demonstration
Truck testing Are the vehicles properly maintained?

As you can see, safety isn't easy to come by. It takes a lot of hard work on both the part of the employee and the management staff. However, foremost is management's role and commitment to achieve and maintain high safety standards for the protection of its employees and the community served.

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