Closed Circuit

By Jamie Withers

The new year marks a time to make resolutions and set goals. Safety and Occupational Health has done this as well, setting goals and objectives for 2021 dedicated to protecting WAPA’s employees from injury and illness.

One of our goals is to review and enhance safety programs and policies through these objectives: updating the Power System Safety Manual and finalizing, publishing and distributing the newly revised WAPA Order 440.1 — Safety and Occupational Health Program.

Power System Safety Manual
The new year has begun on a positive note with the completion of our first objective, the newly updated PSSM, which has been distributed WAPA-wide.

The revised PSSM includes more than 50 updates suggested by WAPA employees, management and engi­neering. The policies outlined in the PSSM provide guidance and direction to prevent incidents resulting in per­sonal injury, illness, property damage and work interruption.

WAPA Order 440.1
WAPA Order 440.1 has gone through an extensive review and update process that has included input from Safety, the Department of Energy and the Office of General Counsel.

The order establishes policy for implementation and administration of a safety program consistent with best industry practices and applicable rules and regulations. WAPA Order 440.1 and the PSSM are cornerstones of safety at WAPA that will set guidelines to help protect employees long into the future.

Another goal
Another goal we have this year is to improve Safety Program visibility, management awareness and employee involvement.

To this end, Safety will support WAPA’s focus on Human Performance, as stated in Strategic Roadmap 2024, to “Improve the design, operation and maintenance of WAPA’s system by preventing, detecting and correcting human errors and organizational weak­nesses that can impact safety, reliabil­ity and organizational effectiveness.”

To advance this effort and promote a learning organization related to safety culture, Safety has developed a tiered approach to investigations based on the potential impact of a safety event or near miss.

In addition, Safety will prepare a Learning Summary for 90% of Occupational Safety and Health Administration recordable events and other incidents identified by the regions that may have led to injury or property damage. All Learning Summaries will be announced and posted on myWAPA to raise awareness and help prevent similar events in the future through information sharing and education.

Safety will also partner with Maintenance, union representatives and management to evaluate WAPA facilities and programs on an an­nual basis. These inspections and assessments give us the opportunity to proactively address hazards and ensure safe and healthy work condi­tions for all employees.

Upcoming developments
Have you ever had a safety concern and not known what to do about it? Safety, in partnership with Information Technology, is in the process of de­veloping a “Report a Safety Concern” site, which will enable employees to report concerns and get direct safety manager follow-up.

When complete, employees will be able to fill out a simple electronic form and submit it to the Safety and Occupational Health Council. The ap­propriate regional Safety manager will then respond to the concern, follow up with the employee and address correc­tive actions.

Safety will also develop a Corrective Action Program to monitor and manage Judgements of Need, corrective action timelines and effectiveness of correc­tive actions related to incidents and employee concerns WAPA-wide.

Join Safety and Occupational Health in promoting safety as a core value at WAPA by participating in program goals, objectives and improvements. We look forward to your input and ideas.

Most importantly, we ask you to be alert, safe and watch out for others. Our main goal is that everyone goes home safe at the end of the day.

Note: Withers is the director of Safety and Occupational Health.

Last modified on March 5th, 2024