Oklahoma Safety Summit

September 5, 2014
By Will Nutter

On June 18 and 19, the Oklahoma Safety Summit was held at Post Oak Lodge near Tulsa, OK. With five utilities, seven line clearance contractors, and three planning and consulting contractors represented, there were more than 80 people in attendance.

The format was the same as the past three summits.

Group discussions were led on the following topics:

• Electrocution

• Struck by incidents

• Traffic safety

• Foster a culture of safety

• Near miss

• Failure to comply with safety policies

Overwhelmingly, the takeaways of the discussions were similar to past summits. After reviewing the leader’s notes and PowerPoints, all the groups agreed upon a few key items and themes.


• Safety must be a priority and it must be in each person’s values.

• Training is important and good communication will almost always lead to a safe jobsite.

• The pre-job survey is the gateway to a good job setup with a safe and productive outcome.

• Leadership does make a difference. Both positive and negative results come from it depending on its priority, how much the leaders value safety, and how it is communicated.

About 65–70 percent of the attendees at the Summit were crew level participants—none of whom were UAA members before the meeting. Most participants were very excited to learn and eager to hear the results of the each day’s discussions. Participation was outstanding! I sincerely thank Empire Electric, PSO, and OG&E for paying for the employees,’ and contract employees’ time to come to this event. The involvement showed a deep commitment to working as a team to improve safety in the Oklahoma/Missouri region. Of the attendees, 83 percent completed a survey after the Summit.

The Survey Results

• Overall experience: 70 percent of the participants who responded rated the event a five out of five and 30 percent rated it a four out of five

• 100 percent of the participants who responded that they learned at least one key takeaway that they would take tell other crew members

• 100 percent of the participants who responded requested the event be held at least once a year

• One thing we can do differently at upcoming events is to have the event in one day, as opposed to one and a half days. Both contractors and utilities are challenged to remove crews from the field for two days.

• The takeaways from this event are tremendous tools to make an impact in our industry and in safety. The testimonials of the participants were the most positive I have ever heard! One crew participant described that he had the same feeling after the summit as he has when he leaves his church revival. He described it as a “renewed energy” to go out and make a difference in his workplace, and then went on to explain that he couldn’t remember the last time he felt that way about his job.

For those of you who want to make a difference and have a Safety Summit in your area, please contact UAA and someone will reach out to you on the next steps. Although it takes hard work and dedication to put together an event like this, it is well worth it.