Describe your current role and your responsibilities.
Safety-wise, it's putting together our safety training curriculum. Every month we have a minimum of one safety training per month. It's overseeing those safety meetings and conducting those trainings. I
oversee the safety committee, put those agendas together, and work with the safety committee meetings. The biggest part of it is making sure we’re in compliance with all the different regulations out there, OSHA regulations. I take care of our DOT, making sure we're in compliance with DOT regulations. We're a little bit different as far as a lot of the other co-ops in the state because all our guys are also MSHA which is the Mine Safety and Health Administration. We're MSHA certified because we have so many quarries and mine sites within our territory; that our guys are on all the time. So, we have to be MSHA certified also. One of my other responsibilities, since I've been in this position, has been building our safety culture and getting everyone to buy into working safely.
How has the program, the CLCP, how has it helped you grow or gain more skills or strengthen your skills?
I had been with the co-op in two different positions previous prior to being the safety director and I'm the first full-time safety director that our coop has. Going to the CLCP, the first thing that I feel like it gave me was some direction in what I needed to do as a safety director. The first week that we went, one of the presenters, his name was Troy little and he touched on negligence and liability and accident investigation. It was very eye-opening to me that’s one area that we really need to step our game upon.
There were different presenters that were just very knowledgeable in the OSHA regulations. They put the regulations in a way that it really connected with the co-ops, with the utility world. So that we could understand so that we could come back, and we could put them into practice. Because reading the regulations and the OSHA regulations and having somebody put it to you in a that relates to your specific industry, it's totally different. That's what they do; to me that helped tremendously. The training I had some background in doing training and public speaking before, but the information that they gave about putting training programs together I thought was just outstanding. It helped me because, you know, once a month I'm going up in front of our people and they're looking at me to be the expert on a lot of different topics or they're looking at me to keep them engaged in the training.
In general, how has the CLCP helped you in your work and in your career?
What’s one thing from CLCP that has made a difference for you?
The big thing that I was probably doing on is this what I said when it came to PowerPoint, I would put the words on the PowerPoint up on the screen that I was saying. Versus now I will take a picture from out in the field and I just put the picture up there and then I use the picture to help back the words that I'm saying.
I do that all the time now and that's what I learned there. Using flip charts; that's huge. Never did that before. I get participants from within the class to fill out the flip charts for me, so it engages them and gets them involved in the training. One thing that I do is use props within the training. We add a work zone training cause our guys are there, they're setting up on highways all the time. Our polls are right on the highway. Work zones are very unsafe because there are distracted drivers and so forth. The state of Missouri is very proactive about making sure that our work zones are set up correctly. If they are not, they will shut our job sites down. I went out and I found they're basically like toy trucks and toy signs. And Toy cones And I bought numerous sets of those. I went through, these are the work zones, how we need to set them up. I broke the classes up into different groups, gave them the scenarios and I said, okay, use that and show me how you're going to set those work zones up? it worked great. something like that I probably wouldn't have thought about doing before.
What is something you’ve approached differently or had greater success with because of what you learned from CLCP?
Oh boy. That's a tough one. I went back and because I knew that, you know, we were going to be talking. I looked at the notebooks that we get from each session and tried to think about that. The one thing that got me right off the bat was the high level of expertise that each presenter had in their field. Knowing that what they were telling you was good information and that they were able to relate it to you. The quality of information that I got that I was able to bring back and that I was able to put into place because everything they talked about was relating to the utility industry.
It built confidence in myself because I was relatively new to the safety aspect of the electric utility. I was new to this position. Gaining that knowledge and knowing that it was its good information and, and they're giving me things that I can bring back. It gave me confidence in myself to come back and do my job. Even with Perron, he becomes a good resource. He becomes basically a friend of yours just because you're with him so much. he also does a number of the sessions. he does some sessions on, on your safety and really touches on basically what type of, I'm trying to think of the word for that, where your committee is, uh, basically, you know, is it, is it, is it being effective more than anything and what you need to do to analyze its effectiveness and then how to make it an effective committee out of it. He, he does a really good job on that.
What advice would you give someone who's considering CLCP?
Number one, if you're thinking about doing it and safety is any part of your daily routine or daily tasks: do it! it's worth your time. the people who are doing the training, they are experts. There wasn't a single, that I thought “oh my gosh, when's this going to be over with?” They draw you in and they understand that the days can be long, but they do a really good job. The information is so good that they present. It's all stuff that you can bring back and put into practice, back into your job.
The accommodations up there are awesome. They take such good care of you while you're on-site and it's a very good learning environment. It goes into that whole networking because you almost learn as much outside of the sessions because you're with other safety people from other co-ops all the time. You're with people all the time and you're just constantly, you're talking about your jobs, what you do, how you handle this, how you handle that. You get to know each other's families cause you're talking about families. The environment is perfect for the program.