Power System Safety Manual notebook

Safety Corner: revising the Power System Safety Manual

Every August, WAPA begins a five-month process to revise the Power System Safety Manual, an effort made successful by employee participation. 

The PSSM details a broad range of safety rules at WAPA and is revised annually to address changing safety regulations and practices. The success of the revision process hinges directly on employee participation as detailed below. 

Employee input

Safety and Occupational Health cannot monitor and track every change in practice at WAPA that may affect employee safety. Instead, SOH relies on input from employees who communicate changes in work practices, new tools being used, hazards in the workplace and other regulatory issues.  

SOH starts this process by sending out a WAPA-wide email requesting PSSM revision suggestions from employees using WAPA Form 470.2 – Proposed PSSM Revision, included with the email. The deadline for suggestions is August 31. 

Review committee

SOH is also currently recruiting employee volunteers for a PSSM Revision Review Committee that will evaluate all suggested changes to the PSSM. All employees are welcome to be a part of this process. To volunteer, contact safetyhq@wapa.gov. 

The PSSM Revision Review Committee is made up of a cross-section of employees that include craft, management, labor relations, Operations and Maintenance, and union representatives. Their different backgrounds and areas of expertise offer diversity of thought and opinion to the revision process.  


During September, SOH will combine all WAPA Form 470.2 employee submittals into a PSSM Revision Booklet that will be sent to all PSSM Revision Review Committee members. During a monthlong evaluation period, committee members will review suggested changes and make note of any questions, comments, discrepancies or concerns about the revisions that will be brought to the committee for further discussion. 

Committee meeting

In October, the PSSM Revision Review Committee meets for two days to review, evaluate, discuss and accept or reject revision suggestions. The meeting will be held at the Electric Power Training Center in Lakewood, Colorado. A teleconference option will be available for those who cannot attend in person. 

Vetting process

During the meeting, the committee vets all suggested PSSM revisions. Some revisions are basic and easily decided. Others require intense discussion and evaluation to better understand their impact. This discussion and insight from employees outside of WAPA’s Safety community improves a product that impacts everyone within the agency.  

After the committee vets and accepts a suggestion, it is later added to the new PSSM document. If they reject an idea, then the justification is noted and the revision is retired. The formal process ends after all revisions have been vetted. 

Final production

During November, SOH works closely with WAPA electrical engineers to incorporate more than 200 pages of updated tables for PSSM Appendices H-K. These include Ground Cable Requirements and Arc Flash Parameters for all regions. 

SOH then finalizes the PSSM and sends it to the printer by the first week of December. When complete, the printer delivers more than 1,000 copies of the new PSSM to WAPA Headquarters by the end of the month. SOH then works closely with the HQ mailroom to coordinate delivery of PSSMs to regional points of contact.  

Help be a part of change that makes progress possible. If you see a need for a change to the PSSM, take part in the process and contribute to WAPA’s safety progress. 

Note: Robbins is a technical writer who works under the Cherokee Nation Strategic Programs contract. 

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Last modified on March 12th, 2024