Striving for Zero: When it comes to safety, scoring a zero is the goal

Baldwin EMC Board of Trustees

The number zero isn’t really a popular one. After all, zero is defined as the very absence of value, right? If you’re playing sports, you don’t want to be on the team that scores zero points. If you’re selling a product, you’d hate for your profits to equal zero. If you’re studying for a test, the last thing you want is to receive a zero for a grade.

But can scoring a zero actually be a good thing? It can be when you’re calculating the number of unsafe acts carried out by your team.

At Baldwin EMC, we actually commit to zero every day. Being at zero at the end of a work day means every employee got to go home safely to their families. This is our number one priority.

So how does an 83-year-old company with close to 200 full-time employees of different backgrounds, ages and job descriptions maintain a commitment to safety? We do it by making it a part of our cooperative’s culture.

For many years, we’ve established and followed safety protocols based on leading national safety practices for the utility industry. As importantly, we encourage all employees to speak up and hold each other accountable for safety. By cultivating a culture of openness and transparency, we promote problem-solving with regard to safety, rather than defaulting to a blame game. We examine the information and data gleaned from near-misses and accident reports to discern patterns and use safety metrics to improve in those areas where we have fallen short.

These efforts, along with the unwavering commitment of our employees, helped us usher in a major milestone on April 2. We celebrated two years with no accidents resulting in lost work time for the cooperative.

We’re also dedicated to helping our members and community commit to zero when it comes to safety as well. It’s not uncommon to find us in a classroom conducting easy-to-understand safety demonstrations for local students. We also present our high-voltage safety demo, Live Wire on Wheels, to community groups, first responders and even the families of our own employees.

Our website and social media channels are great resources for electrical safety information that our members can tap into anytime, anywhere.

If you ever see something that you’re concerned might be an electrical hazard involving Baldwin EMC’s equipment, please don’t hesitate to speak up. You can call us at (251) 989-6247, and we’ll investigate the issue.

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