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SEC achieves safety milestone

Southside Electric Cooperative (SEC) marked two years of no lost time due to an on-the-job incident on May 1.

The accomplishment is the result of a team commitment to a strong culture of safety, a value held in the utmost regard at the member-owned energy cooperative.

“Working safely is our topmost priority at SEC,” President and CEO Jeff Edwards said. “I believe that each of our employees understands that every action counts when it comes to safety. I am proud of the time and commitment our employees give to safety training and effective practices in order to safely deliver their best to each other and the members we serve.”

“This is a tremendous achievement, not only for the electric utility industry, but for any occupational setting,” Director of Safety Ian Hix said. “Over the course of the past two years, we have intentionally given tremendous attention to employee safety training, and it is paying off. When our power line workers head out day and night, they do so armed with a thorough understanding that safety is not only in their best interest, but also in the interest of the members we serve.”

The emphasis on safety at SEC includes an employee safety committee, monthly safety meetings and an annual day of activities devoted to being safe at work, home and on the road. Also, before starting any job in the field, line workers and supervisors hold tailgate meetings to discuss the day’s work and safety measures that must be followed.

“Safety training and engagement at SEC is paramount,” Hix said. “Not only do we train regularly on safety updates and procedures, but we are open and honest when discussing near misses in order to gain better practices. By its nature, electric utility work is hazardous, such as exposure to high voltage, storm challenges, extreme temperatures, great heights, etc., but we are relentless in our focus on best safety practice measures to control those hazards, and our employees respect that.

“I am very proud of everyone, especially with the performance over the last month and a half, as we all have undergone drastic changes to our everyday lives. As we continue to work hard, I am confident we will also work safely.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the cooperative has maintained its focus on safety. Line workers meet outside for their daily assignments, instead of inside, and when practical, travel separately to job locations. All employees are regularly encouraged to follow good hygiene practices and keep a safe distance from others. SEC offices have been closed to members and the general public to further safeguard employees, members and the community.