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off permanently. In one-shot mode, the breaker will trip only once and not reset until a lineman resets it manually. Other OSHA programs include CPR training, fall protection, minimum approach distances, as well as guidelines for arc flash protection and stan- dards for the manufacturing and testing of electrical protection equipment.


Safety Begins at the Top


Creating a culture of safety is not something that happens overnight, or that starts and ends with the safety coordinator. It’s not limited to safety classes, checklists, or training videos. “Safety can be summed up with one word—‘Attitude.’ The attitude of


safety starts at the top,” Graham says. And at the top of the cooperative are the members, who must value safety.


They elect board members who value safety. The board hires a CEO who must make safety a priority. The CEO consults with the board to fund and maintain specific safety programs. The CEO also must ensure supervisors and employees value and understand safety and make it a priority. From there it filters down to line crews, warehouse operators, office staff and even


maintenance personnel. Creating a culture of safety requires buy-in from the entire organization, including the members. “Safety means looking out for each other,” Graham says. “One day an employee might not be on the top of their game. It could be family prob- lems, illness, or some other worry they have. As a result, they might not be totally focused on their job. “Co-op employees are like family and look out for each other. If they see a fellow worker distracted or not feeling well, they might say, ‘You stay on the ground today and let me work the live powerline.’” Dale sums up the priority of safety at Choctaw Electric this way: “Our primary goal is to ensure our people go home to their families each night.” Safety is an ongoing process. Even though electric linemen work in an inherently dangerous environment, Oklahoma’s electric cooperatives have an envious safety record that continues to improve, thanks to the efforts of everyone involved—co-op members, board members, co-op management and employees, as well as leaders at the statewide and national level. By creating a culture focused on safety, these dedicated individuals provide power to even the smallest rural homeowner in the safest manner possible.


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