Valley Electric Association has always been committed to safety. With the growing number of injuries and incidents in our energy and communications industry we believe it is time for a renewed commitment.
Over the past couple months, VEA leadership has talked with employees about the benefits of safety-first culture. As leaders we are responsible for sending employees home at the end of the day with no injuries. After all, that’s how their families sent them to work – no burns, strains, sprains, no cuts or burses, no injuries.
Here’s what safety as a core value means.
The functions performed daily by our highly trained field personnel require skills that take years of study, training and experience to develop and sustain.
Working near energized lines or climbing on rooftops can be extremely dangerous, of course. Crews also face extreme weather, operate complicated equipment like bucket trucks, drive over rough terrain, and wrestle with heavy poles and unwieldy cables. The risk of injury is an everyday challenge. We can’t lose our focus or become complacent in order to quickly complete the task at hand.
When skilled, well-trained technicians are sidelined because of injury, the work does not slow down. The absence of that experience and expertise is felt by all of us, including our members who are accustomed to seeing familiar faces.
That’s why we’re doing more than just placing an emphasis on safety – we’re making “Safety” a core value. As a core value, safety is the foundation on which we perform and conduct ourselves. This value underlies our work, how we interact with each other and the strategies we use to keep employees safe. Commitment to safety at all levels of the Cooperative, starting with the leadership team, is one such strategy.
VEA is not alone in this endeavor. There are a great number of cooperatives around the country that have made the commitment to keep employees safe. A particular movement has been branded as the “Commitment to Zero Contacts” nationwide initiative. This is intended to help eliminate serious injuries and fatalities due to electrical contacts. It is action of this magnitude that will foster a safety-first environment for our employees.
So, when you see our employees working in the field or in the office, let them know that you also count on them to work safe and go home to their families at the end of the day.
Until next month,
Chief Executive Officer
Angela Evans served at the executive level at utilities in New Mexico, Texas, California for more than 20 years before joining Valley Electric Association in 2017.