UAA Safety Committee Update 2014

July 29, 2014

By Will Nutter, Safety Committee Chair

This article was published in the July/August 2014 Utility Arborist Newsline. Will Nutter is President and COO of Wright Tree Service.

It’s hard to believe that we are two years into the newly formed Safety Committee. It seems like yesterday we were in Portland requesting approval from the Executive Committee to move forward. And move forward we have.

The objectives and tasks of the Safety Committee include:

• Educate the public and workers on safety

• Develop tools for people to use to eliminate accidents and reduce risk

• Survey constituents on what information/resources they want available

• Update and focus on the strategic plan

• Update the UAA safety web page

• Update membership on Z-133 and ULCC activities

I cannot say enough about the effort of the committee members. They have rolled up their sleeves, left titles and company names at the door, and worked very hard to share with the committee what is working—and in some cases not working—in their area. Members of the Safety Committee include contractors, utilities, equipment manufacturers, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). Membership spans all across North America, and participation during the conference calls has been fantastic. We currently have 21 members—not including the UAA Executive Committee. We are always looking for more members to participate.

Committee members have submitted topics such as storm preparation, tailgate topics, electrical hazard abatement guidelines, and many others. The goal is to get more information about these topics on the UAA website for everyone to view.

The committee is also utilizing the UAA Facebook page each week as an outlet to share best practices and other safety topics. The most popular posts have been what-went-wrong scenarios, including photos shared of unsafe situations. As of April, the Facebook page has 220 “likes.” In fact, one photo even reached 4,712 “likes.” The goal was to have an interactive platform for communicating with our members, and from the numbers, it appears to be working very well. If you use Facebook, please “like” the UAA Facebook site and spread the word.

Another of our focuses has been safety summits. The committee successfully assisted with the Western Summit in San Ramon, CA, hosted by PG&E last fall, and we are in the final stages of planning for Tulsa, OK in June of 2014. We are working on locations in the east and southeast for potential summits later in 2014 and have scheduled a summit in Sacramento, CA for January 2015 to be hosted by Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). The summits are focused on field-level participation, and have been received well.

The Safety Committee has also worked with the Training Committee to provide material and speakers for regional meetings, as well as webinar topics.

A big thanks goes to the Executive Committee for their continued support, and we look forward to the growth and success of our Safety Committee. If you have a passion for safety or are interested in getting involved in any other committee, please reach out to a committee member or someone on the Executive Committee to join. It is a very rewarding experience.