102°F
weather icon Clear

VEA reports clean safety record for past 18 months

Despite very challenging and potentially hazardous work environments, crews at Valley Electric Association ended the 2019 calendar year with an impeccable safety record, according to Joe Fieldsted, manager of Safety, Health, Environmental and Efficiency.

As noted in a news release, since July 2018, more than 400,000 hours have been worked without a reportable on-the-job injury.

Safety first

A reportable injury is one that involves medical care beyond minor first aid.

Considered as a high-risk occupation, VEA crew members, including linemen, installers, groundskeepers, and warehouse workers, face precarious situations as they go about their duties, both day and night.

As such, safety is strongly emphasized by way of daily job briefings to help with focus and awareness.

Additionally, prior to each shift, line crews and broadband installers review each job, the risks workers might encounter and how to mitigate them.

All in

“Everyone is involved,” Fieldsted said. “You can’t do this without everyone buying in.”

Fieldsted also noted that several different factors contributed to the safety milestone. “We’ve improved in several areas, including training, hiring practices, the expectations we set and our reporting processes,” he said. “We have a lot of momentum right now. It’s like we’re on a winning streak.”

For many years, VEA was strictly an electric co-op, serving more than 40,000 consumers across its 6,800-square-mile footprint, but things changed several years ago when the association also began offering high-speed internet.

Treacherous conditions

The sheer complexity of that element of the business added to the daily safety challenges, as broadband installations often require multiple trips up and down ladders, walking on slick tile roofs or crawling in cramped, sweltering attics.

The approach stays the same, however.

“In the morning, we review the jobs for the day and what we might face,” says Matt King, manager of Broadband Installation and Repair.

At present, it has been roughly 18 months since the co-op experienced a reportable injury.

“VEA has had long periods without injuries before now, but it has been a decade since VEA workers went longer than a year,” Fieldsted noted. “Safety is something that must be top of mind all the time. We want our workers going home to their families each day in the same condition that they arrived.”

How long can it go?

Fieldsted says he knows of co-ops that have gone more than five years without any reported on-the-job injuries.

“So we have a ways to go,” he declared.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com, on Twitter: @pvtimes

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Proposed health insurance rates available for review

The Nevada Division of Insurance has received and made public rate information from health insurance companies interested in participating in the individual health insurance market for Plan Year 2021.

Nevada sees gains in COVID-19 data

The number of new COVID-19 cases in Nevada has been trending downward, with the number of new deaths on Thursday hitting a single-day record of 34 across the state. The number of deaths in the state now stands at 1,030.

Pahrump student/artist takes fifth in national contest

Patriotism. It’s having devotion to and vigorous support for one’s country; and for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, inspiring patriotism is imperative, particularly among the youth who will one day become the future leaders of the U.S.

Free seminar teaches businesses how to utilize REAP program

Running a business can be hard, and the financial burden associated with keeping a business up and operating leaves business owners constantly on the lookout for ways to make smart investments and cut some of their expenses.

Pahrump observes Purple Heart Day

National Purple Heart Day was first observed in America in 2014 and three years later, August 7 was officially recognized as Purple Heart Day in Pahrump and Nye County, marking the beginning of what has now become a yearly tradition.

Pahrump Relay for Life goes ‘virtual’

The COVID-19 outbreak forced officials with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life to alter its regular event schedule this year in Pahrump.

Nursing homes will receive $2.5 billion from CARES Act

The Department of Health and Human Services, through the Health Resources and Services Administration, is announcing $5 billion in funding from the next CARES Act-authorized nursing home Provider Relief Fund distribution.

NDOT awards $17 million contract for U.S. 95 work

The Nevada Department of Transportation on Tuesday awarded a $17.1 million construction contract to Road and Highway Builders LLC to improve a 32-mile stretch of U.S. Highway 95 in Nye County.