MUSCATINE, Iowa–Whether repairing downed lines or fixing faulty equipment, utility workers must deal with many hazards and risks in their line of work. To honor municipal utility companies of all sizes that have an exceptional safety record, the American Public Power Association names Safety Award of Excellence winners annually. For their safety record in 2020, Muscatine Power and Water earned the second place Safety Award of Excellence in their size category, the highest ranking they have ever received.
When selecting award recipients, the Association looks at number of work related injuries a power provider reports in comparison to the number of worker hours the company logged. In 2020, Muscatine Power and Water had only one work related incident. Muscatine Power and Water Safety and Training Manager Jim Garrison says this low number of incidents represents a trend of improving safety since 1972 that has accelerated in the past 10 years.
Garrison considers the award a testament to the conscientiousness of Muscatine Power and Waters workers. “I’m proud of receiving it, but I’m proud of our staff,” he stated. “I provide them the tools to keep themselves safe, whether at home or at work, but they’re the ones that have to use them, and they do.”
To promote safe workplace habits, Muscatine Power and Water provides Occupational Safety and Health Administration required trainings specifically tailored to the work done by each of their departments. They also train employees using the SafeStart program to identify when they feel complacent, rushed, frustrated, or fatigued, states that make a person more likely to make a mistake, and to respond in a way that keeps them from making critical errors.
Garrison also shared that Muscatine Power and Water promotes employee engagement through the see it, own it, report it model, which encourages employees to stay alert and report any safety concerns or make any safety suggestions they have. According to Garrison, employee engagement reached an all time high in 2020, with workers making more safety suggestions than in any previous year. “It’s all our employees and staff–they look out for each other and are their brothers and sisters’ keepers.”
In addition to their robust worker training programs, Garrison said Muscatine Power and Water investigates all incidents and close calls thoroughly so they can prevent them from happening again. Through these ongoing protocols, Garrison hopes to maintain Muscatine Power and Water’s strong track record of keeping employees safe.