Nothing is more important to Entergy than the safety of all personnel. If a project can't be performed safely, then the New Orleans, Louisiana-based utility won't allow the activities to commence.
To protect the safety of all personnel, Entergy has implemented several new safety programs and initiatives. This commitment to safety didn't go unnoticed. Three years ago, three benchmarking agencies ranked Entergy's safety performance in the top 10% of companies. Also, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) awarded 50 of Entergy's nuclear, fossil generation, transmission, distribution and corporate sites with the highest-possible safety rating.
As a result of Entergy's safety programs and initiatives, the company has been able to reduce the rate of lost-work-day incidents over the last decade. In fact, last year was the safest year for Entergy employees. The lost-work-day incident rate, which measures the annual lost-work-day cases per 100 employees, was 0.22 compared to 0.25 a year before.
Here are five ways in which Entergy has taken its safety program to the next level.
- Safety training verification
To manage a vast network of distribution lines, high-voltage transmission lines, substations and generation facilities, Entergy relies on its internal workforce as well as external resources. All contract employees must complete training modules and pass exams administered and validated by a third party to verify that they are trained and knowledgeable about the work at hand.
For the last five years, Entergy has participated in the development and implementation of the PowerSafe program from the Safety Council of the Louisiana Capital Area. Entergy uses PowerSafe as an orientation and training aid for all applicable contractors who work on Entergy property.
The training currently consists of five different curriculums: line work, vegetation management, substation work, meter readers and meter services. Contractor employees can complete the modules online at www.powersafetraining.org.
- 100% fall protection program
PowerSafe is just one of the tools that Entergy is adding to its arsenal of safety programs. The utility also has many internal customized safety programs and policies. In many cases, these programs go above and beyond industry requirements and OSHA standards. For example, while OSHA requires fall protection for elevations at or above 6 ft, Entergy requires all personnel who are at elevations 4 ft and above to use 100% fall protection.
To protect personnel out in the field, Entergy equips workers with the necessary fall protection — self-retractable lanyards, vertical lifelines, horizontal lifelines and harnesses. These new harnesses hook to lanyards when personnel are climbing or are in an elevated position. If a fall were to occur, the newly improved equipment and procedures will restrain them to eliminate or minimize any injuries.
- Continuous linemen training
To give its field employees the skills they need to succeed, linemen are required to attend a boot camp at the Knowledge and Skills Training Center as well as annual refresher courses. These classes cover such topics as 100% fall protection, CPR, pole-top rescue, bucket truck rescue, EPZ grounding, Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and first aid. During these sessions, personnel are required to wear all applicable personal protective equipment (PPE) while performing the given tasks.
- Job safety analyses
All personnel start off each day with a JSA, which corresponds to the work being done for the day. If something comes up that changes the scope of work, then personnel will revisit the JSA to address any additional hazards.
In addition to performing JSAs, field crews also complete a tailboard. This document describes what task the personnel are going to perform for the given scope of work, an emergency action plan and the required PPE to be used on the job.
- Chemical plant exposure program
Field personnel also have a special safety program when it comes to chemical plant exposure. When personnel work on any facilities in the vicinity of a chemical plant, they use such devices as a windsock attached to a fiberglass pole. With this device, workers can determine the wind direction, so in the event of a chemical release, they can protect themselves. Also, workers wear gas monitors and have access to 10-minute emergency escape breathing apparatus.
Through PowerSafe and its internal safety programs, Entergy aims to reach target zero on a continued basis by eliminating on- and off-the-job injuries and by helping all personnel come home safely at the end of each work day.
Kenny Chaix is a construction management supervisor for Entergy, where he has worked for 23 years.