Safety Energizing to Moose Lake Water and Light
Moose Lake Water and Light distributes electricity to the city of Moose Lake and the immediate surrounding area.
The utility faces a broad range of safety issues, including:
"It's a small company, just seven of us," said David Furey, superintendent. "We haven't
had a lost time injury here since the mid-60s when a lineman stepped off the back of a
truck, hit a rock and broke his foot."
- working on energized lines
- working in elevated positions, such as on a pole of from a bucket
- working with heavy equipment
- working with hydraulic equipment
- working in noisy environments because of diesel-generating equipment
- working in streets with traffic
- working with chainsaws for cutting trees and clearing lines.
"Even before we hire people we make sure they are people who can work safely and think
safety. It's brought in right up front—at the job interviews—so they know it's a high priority."
If something comes up it's brought to everyone's attention right away. If somebody
thinks something isn't right it's brought up as well.
"Everything we need is gone over before we do a job. Any equipment we need is
ordered right away. This is easier to do with a smaller organization," said Randy
Boedigheimer, lineman and union steward.
Permanent Membership on the Safety Committee
"Our safety committee is all of us," said Furey. "One manager, two office people,
two operators and two lineman. We sit down every month to discuss any needed improvements
or any safety issues that may arise during the month."
"We don't document near misses yet. But we usually end up discussing them at the safety
meeting, so they're in the minutes. If something contributed to a near miss we decide as
a group what should be done and change the procedure. Everyone has a say in it and
everyone knows about it."
The committee started off just documenting what goes on and what needed to happen. But it's more then that now. The MMUA (Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association) will soon come around with safety programs.
"We joined an OSHA compliance group offered by MMUA," added Furey. "It starts this spring
and will help keep us up to date on the OSHA
rules and regulations. There are eight member companies in the group, and a compliance
person goes from place to place."
"Since 1992 we have gotten a Minnesota Safety Council Award ( Governor's Safety Award).
We display the plaques on the wall so everybody knows that safety is a big deal here at the plant."