Cooperatives and a culture of safety

Baldwin EMC Board of Trustees

There is a children’s book titled Safety 1st, Safety Always. As you can imagine, it encompasses many of the traditional safety lessons parents should teach their children. We drill youngsters about safety from an early age because we know how important it is to protect ourselves and those we care about. In the spirit of May being National Electrical Safety Month, we’d like to take a look at how electric cooperatives have been stepping up to the plate when it comes to safety at the co-op.

Up until 2007, there was an alarming national trend among electric co-ops. The number of “lost time” accidents remained steadily on the rise. Lost time is defined as anything resulting in an employee missing time at work; these accidents could range from a sprained ankle to broken bones or worse.

This is why Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange, which insures the vast majority of electric co-ops nationwide including
Baldwin EMC, initiated a campaign called a “Culture of Safety.” It was designed to raise awareness about safety issues at all electric
co-ops.

Through the use of strategy labs across the country, Federated brought together co-op CEOs and general managers, operations supervisors, safety directors and linemen to better understand how each group viewed safety. In doing so, differences in perceptions regarding safety within cooperatives were identified, allowing for much needed conversations and evaluations of how to raise awareness and improve local safety cultures.

At Baldwin EMC, our crews undergo hundreds of hours of safety training each year, including monthly safety meetings. We’ve also established a safety committee comprised of employees from different departments whose job is to promote safe working conditions and be a sounding board for their coworkers’ safety concerns.

As a member, you also have a role. If you see any potentially dangerous situations involving power lines or any of the equipment that brings electricity to your home or business, don’t hesitate to call Baldwin EMC.

The implementation and success of a culture of safety demonstrates a very important point. If we are intentional about our actions, we can indeed change the culture in our organizations. The same is true for our families, our teams and any groups we may belong to.

We also know that living our cooperative principles and values is equally important. We have the best business model because it puts you, the member-owner, at the center of our efforts.

We look forward to being your safe electricity provider and energy advisor long into the future. For more information about how you can maintain a culture of electrical safety in your own home, go to www.baldwinemc.com.

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