Safety can be flexible, if done correctly

Set of four safety icons. Features a person wearing a hard hat with a blue background, a glove with an orange background, a fire extinguisher with a red background, and safety glasses with a green background.When it comes to safety, flexibility is key. Now this may sound odd, as strict safety rules understood by all keep everyone safe. Bear with us. Safety is important at Dawson PPD, and adding flexibility into the employee safety training program ensures that new ideas can be easily accommodated.

“Public power is unique when it comes to safety requirements. Some organizations legally define our safety standards, and others we voluntarily comply with,” said Dean Kunkee, Safety and Loss Prevention Coordinator. “For example, Dawson PPD is a political subdivision of the state and we are not directly regulated by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). However, we still follow their rules, because they are sound and a good model to follow.”

Dawson PPD is mandated by its insurance provider, Federated Insurance, and participates in annual risk management on-site evaluations. It also follows standards set by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association’s Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program. The District is a member of the NRECA, a national service organization that represents America’s electric cooperatives.

Some of Dawson PPD’s employee training is specialized for certain positions, but most of the program applies to all. Provided training is determined by a combination of standards set by law, through membership organizations or voluntarily by the District.

All Dawson PPD employees participate in the following training:

  • First-aid
  • CPR (cardio pulmonary resuscitation) and AED (automated external defibrillator)
  • Portable fire extinguishers
  • Hazard recognition
  • Emergency Action Plan (fire, inclement weather, bomb threat, etc.)
  • Hazard communications and the use of safety data sheets
  • Accident investigation

“Our employees are a team, and we expect everyone to be able to respond appropriately in an emergency situation,” Kunkee said. “Regardless if the employee is working mainly indoors or outdoors, there are hazards everywhere.”

The training has proved to be useful beyond the standard workplace. According to Kunkee, years ago employees witnessed a citizen’s vehicle become engulfed in flames while traveling to a job site.

They immediately stopped and used a fire extinguisher to quickly smother the fire. The citizen walked away unharmed.

All employees have access to the following safety equipment:

  • First aid kit
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Bloodbourne pathogen kits
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Safety data sheets

Kunkee keeps the safety training program flexible to accommodate new ideas, such as proper workplace ergonomics, nutrition, prescription drug misuse and online financial security.

“We want our employees to be able to use the safety training they’ve learned and apply it not only at work, but at home,” Kunkee said. “Our main goal is for everyone to come to work healthy and leave their shift healthy.”

That’s a safety goal we can all be flexible with.


September 2017

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