FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 17, 2012
CONTACT: Jen Neville, 720-962-7054, firstname.lastname@example.org
WESTERN HONORED WITH NATIONAL AWARD
FOR OUTSTANDING SAFETY PRACTICES
LAKEWOOD, Colo.—Western Area Power Administration earned the American Public Power Association’s Electric Utility Safety Award of Excellence for safe operating practices in 2011.
“A lot of work goes into building a strong safety record,” said Tony Montoya, Western’s Chief Operating Officer. “Western looks forward to continuing to improve its safety practices as it provides reliable service to the community.”
In 2011, Western crews—including electricians, meter and relay mechanics and linemen—spent more than 2.6 million hours working out in the field. Those 1,300-plus employees had less than 20 recordable injuries for an incident rate of 1.45.
The rate is based on work-related recordable injuries or illnesses and the number of hours worked during the year. “Our employees are really dedicated to safety, viewing it more as a behavior or skill on the job and not just a checked box on a tailgate safety briefing worksheet,” said Pam Garcia, Western’s acting Safety and Security manager.
Darrell Shaw, chair of the APPA Safety Committee and Safety & Technical Training Specialist at Memphis, Tennessee, Light Gas & Water Division presented the award on April 17, during the association’s annual Engineering & Operations Technical Conference, held in Cleveland, Ohio.
“Safety should always be priority number one for electric utilities,” said Shaw. “Sending each and every one of our employees home safe to their families every night is what it’s all about.”
Western was third in its category, which is based on number of work hours. “We’re honored to receive this award. Although we placed lower in our category, our rate was better in 2011 than in previous years,” said Garcia. “The competition is getting tougher because all utilities are focused and committed to high standards in the workplace. We know these standards are vital to safe and productive operations.”
The annual contest reviews three years worth of data before considering utilities for an award. Entrants are placed in categories according to their number of worker hours and judged for the most incident-free records over the calendar year.
The safety contest has been held annually for the last 52 years. APPA is the national organization representing more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community- and state-owned electric utilities.
Western Area Power Administration annually markets and transmits more than 10,000 megawatts of clean, renewable power from hydroelectric powerplants owned and operated by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 15 western and central states. It is part of the Department of Energy.