Welcome to the September edition of Utility Products magazine. Our feature story this month focuses on perhaps the most important topic we cover: safety. All too often, safety is regarded as an inconvenience, and doing things “the safe way” as a time-waster. But the critical importance of safety can’t be understated: it very literally saves lives.
The safest companies in the world know that building a high-participation safety culture is the secret to instilling safety-minded values in their employees. In the article on page 4, author Josh LeBrun shares data from an eCompliance study illustrating how top companies have been able to successfully galvanize their employees around making safety a priority — and it begins with getting buy-in from more tenured and experienced staff.
On page 8, author Brian Trager discusses advances in the field of connector technology used with covered conductor systems. Although stripping a conductor covering is a relatively simple process with the right tools, it’s not uncommon for those tools to be unavailable or in poor working condition — leaving utility workers to use whatever they have on hand. This can lead to damaging the cable or — worst case — a safety hazard. Insulation piercing connectors offer an alternative that eliminates the need for stripping altogether.
Finding the right fleet tracking system for your business can be a challenge. All offer the ability to locate and track mobile assets from a computer-based dashboard, but many offer additional features that may or may not be beneficial depending on your industry and tracking needs. On page 14, Cheyenne Sears-Althen outlines key features to look for when evaluating a fleet tracking solution.
The implementation of T4F engine regulations has resulted in significant changes for owners and operators of diesel engine work trucks, and finding ways to reduce engine idle time can go a long way toward lowering fuel costs, extending truck life, and reducing maintenance requirements. On page 16, Travis Purgett discusses the benefits of all-in-one work trucks, which let technicians turn their trucks off — and still run the tools needed to tackle any job efficiently.
For utility workers, being dressed appropriately isn’t about fashion, it’s about safety. Rubber insulating products are critical pieces of PPE, but wearing them isn’t enough. They must also be regularly inspected and tested to maintain compliance and ensure safety. On page 20, Richard Rivkin discusses the regulatory guidelines related to rubber insulating products, problems to watch for, and the benefits of a professionally managed change-out program to ensure compliance doesn’t fall through the cracks.
To communicate vital safety information, should you use a label or a sign? OSHA doesn’t specify when to use one medium over the other, but Kelsey Rzepecki offers a helpful breakdown of important factors to consider when deciding the best signage for your work environment. Turn to page 24 to learn more.
Industrial Ethernet is the network infrastructure of choice for mission-critical operations. While the base technology is the same as enterprise Ethernet, there is a difference between the design and durability of components. On page 30, Brian Shuman discusses key considerations when selecting components for your industrial network to ensure optimal performance, ease of maintenance, and long-term reliability.
We thank you for reading and hope you enjoy this edition of Utility Products!
– Angela Godwin, Chief Editor