Editor's Letter: Reduce Work Errors, Injuries and Deaths

Utility field workers are exposed to high voltages, extreme temperatures and other dangers. Linemen are in one of the most dangerous professions there is, and too many die every year from job-related injuries.

Utility field workers are exposed to high voltages, extreme temperatures and other dangers. Linemen are in one of the most dangerous professions there is, and too many die every year from job-related injuries. This issue of Utility Products brings you a great article from Duncan Kerr and Milan Trpin, “Building Safe Work Habits, an Effective Error Reduction Strategy,” that presents how developing safe work habits can help you stay focused. While we had many good habits engrained in us when we were young, in industry, however, there is sometimes uncertainly about how to coach employees to establish and maintain safety habits. The authors discuss how companies sometimes focus more on cardinal rules and writing procedures that cover every possible situation—which can add to the complexity and increase the chance for mistakes. Most people develop safety habits over time through re-enforcement, coaching and feedback—extending beyond most companies’ initial training programs. Kerr and Trpin address what front-line supervisors must do to make safety behavior a realistic, tangible goal.

Another informative article, “Drilling Dynamics: Ground Conditions Affect Auger Equipment and Tool Selection” by Dale Putman, outlines how electrical utilities and utility contractors can choose the best equipment and tools for the job. Putman discusses how, when it comes to production drilling and setting poles, utility crews often rely on two pieces of equipment—digger derricks and auger drills. And while they perform similar jobs, they are best used in combination. “Auger drills deliver more than double the torque over digger derricks, making it possible for them to achieve more downforce on auger drills,” it’s reported. Putman reviews auger tool selection factors to consider: auger style tools or barrel tools, various types of teeth, and multiple tool sizes.

And Bradley Williams’ article, “Repair vs. Replace: Flipping Your Asset Maintenance Program from Reactive to Proactive,” discusses how, as assets continue to age, all asset managers must decide whether to repair or replace their equipment. Williams’ article outlines a three-step approach to help make that decision and considers things to do in the near future while building a strategy for moving forward.

If you are planning to attend The International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition (ICUEE), held October 3-5, 2017, in Louisville, Kentucky, there will be plenty to see and do. With more than 950 leading manufacturers, you will be able to explore the latest Utility Products and innovations, and visit specialized pavilions for fleet management, safety and green utility. You can also operate construction and utility equipment in job-like conditions, attend sessions to learn about the latest technologies and issues that impact your business, and ask technical experts and equipment designers specific questions.

Another important upcoming event is the International Lineman’s Rodeo & Expo 2017. With events held October 11-14, it attracts the best linemen from around the world to compete in events based on traditional lineman tasks and skills. In addition, attendees will be given the opportunity to hear from industry experts about safety issues and hot topics evolving in the industry.

John Tabor
Associate Editor
johnt@pennwell.com

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