4-County reaches safety milestone

From press reports

Employees of 4-County Electric Power Association are celebrating a safety milestone.

The local rural electric cooperative has worked 1 million hours without a lost-time accident, a monumental accomplishment based on national industry standards. 4-County reached the milestone Feb. 11.

“This is an extremely impressive distinction to reach because our work is often difficult and dangerous,” said 4-County CEO Joe Cade. “To reach a milestone like this takes a day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute approach to safety.”

Cade said safety is an integral part of the cooperative’s operations. “We are proud of the safe working record achieved by our employees. It takes a clear understanding of safe work practices, the development of good work habits, and focus by employees to reach this milestone. We applaud their efforts and know they will continue to make safety a priority,” he added.

Joe Miller, 4-County’s safety, training and loss prevention coordinator, said crews and other employees participate in frequent training sessions throughout the year. “These meetings and courses ensure that our employees are constantly reminded of the safety aspects of the job and the importance of using equipment in the safest manner possible,” Miller said.

4-County’s safety milestone is one that most electric power providers never attain, according to Micheal Weltzheimer, vice president of safety and loss control for Electric Power Associations of Mississippi. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, he said, there were 4,609 work-related fatalities last year. This makes for a rate of 3.5 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. In the electric power industry, there were 27 fatalities last year – making for a rate of 21.5 fatalities per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. These statistics make the electric power industry the sixth most dangerous job in the United States.

“The board of directors, management and employees of 4-County should be proud of their accomplishment. They have done an outstanding job of making safety their number one goal. Reaching 1 million man hours with no lost time is great in any industry, but it is especially impressive in the electric power industry,” Weltzheimer said.

In addition to safety training for employees, 4-County is continuously raising awareness of electrical safety in the communities it serves by performing demonstrations at local schools, for emergency response teams and at community events. “There, we show members just how easy it is for an accident to occur when working with electricity and how to prevent these dangerous and, sometimes, deadly mishaps. These programs keep service men and women, as well as members of the community, safe,” Cade said.

4-County Crews to aid in winter storm restoration

In the wake of severe winter weather moving through the South, 4-County sent crews to North Mississippi to aid in power restoration ;ast week.

The group included two heavy construction crews and several vehicles including digger and bucket trucks. The crews worked with Tishomingo County Electric Power Association and Tippah Electric Power Association to restore electric service to members of both Associations left without electricity thanks to the effects of the ice and cold from Winter Storm Octavia.

According to 4-County Manager of Operations Anthony Miller, the crews were gone over the past weekend.

“They are still assessing the total damage from the ice. Our guys will stay there and help until they finish the job.” Miller said. According to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, thousands of North Mississippians were left without power Monday afternoon.

Among the 4-County employees making the trip are Heavy Construction Foremen Rob Giles and Eric Yarbrough, Crew Leader Fred Harris,  Journeyman Linemen Tim Adkins, Jaron Andrews, Byron Benson, Chris Benson, Abe Finley, Brian Glusenkamp, Wyatt Pumphrey, Tommy Reed and Jonathan Tuggle, Apprentice Lineman 1 Derek Dawkins, Chance Ingram and Justin Murphy, Apprentice Lineman 2 Kyle Elam and Hayden Nickels and Senior Equipment Operator Jimmy Stewart.

The Electric Power Associations of Mississippi have a reciprocal agreement that allows members to send help to other Associations in times of need.

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