Event emphasizes importance of speaking up for safety - Great River Energy

Event emphasizes importance of speaking up for safety

Approximately 200 Great River Energy employees who work in transmission, power supply and business operations recently gathered for Safety Day. The entire day was dedicated to continuing to build and strengthen Great River Energy’s safety culture, particularly among those in safety-sensitive positions. 

This year’s emphasis was on speaking up and stopping work anytime there is a safety concern. Each agenda topic was related to the others and combined to help employees strengthen their safety awareness culture with a focus on staying alive, learning and improving.

Vice President and Chief Transmission Officer Priti Patel kicked off the event and noted the high number of new employees in field, power plant and warehouse positions.

David Flener of Quanta Services speaks about The Capacity Model during Safety Day.

“For those of you who are new, I hope you have quickly learned how important safety is at Great River Energy,” Patel said. “There is nothing more important than doing your job safely. I want you to know that if you ever have a safety concern, we want you to speak up.”

David Flener of Quanta Services spoke about The Capacity Model, which aims to eliminate life-threatening, life-altering and life-ending events by focusing on human performance principles, and planning for failures in systems and equipment. Quanta is a family of companies that tackle the world’s most complex infrastructure challenges.

“Failure happens and we need to be ready when it does,” Flener said. “Failures can occur safely.”

Great River Energy Safety Administrators Dustin Privette and Chelsey Wildman as well as Safety Training Specialist Dave Link shared information about the cooperative’s “Be the One” employee safety campaign and talked about the importance of using stop work authority anytime there is a safety concern. Curt Freudenberg, safety specialist with the Minnesota Rural Electric Association, provided training on the skills to effectively communicate when safety-related concerns arise.

Other presenters included Dr. Jake Mazulewicz of JMA Human Reliability Strategies and Stacey Pasztor of Hydro One. Mazulewicz talked about the importance of holding brief “after action reviews,” especially when a job goes well. This process is a continuous learning tool that helps teams extract practical learnings. Pasztor showed a video reenactment of an injury incident at Hydro One, followed by a discussion of what could have been done differently to prevent the incident from occurring.

This is the first year that transmission, power supply and business operations employees gathered together for Safety Day. 

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