Utility infrastructures must be constantly maintained and upgraded to meet industry guidelines and consumer expectations. Despite advancements in solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, and other renewable energy sources, we still rely on traditional utility poles.
Managing projects in the utility sector come with many considerations. The increasing demand for utility work creates means there can be more opportunities for workers to injure themselves and others. Inexperienced workers who find these occasionally well-paying jobs might not know how to remain safe. Skilled employees might become overworked and succumb to fatigue.
Companies that know how to address the top risks utility workers face can help reduce liability risk on all fronts and keep their teams safe and healthy.
Knowing the Risks
Safety management is critical in the utility industry, but companies can not address concerns if they do not know what the concerns are. Analyzing past incidents and seeing how they trend can predict future risks. Moreover, risk analysis can help determine problem areas and help company leaders focus on reducing their impact. From there, management can create procedures that workers follow, whether they be rules or training sessions.
To get a complete picture of the risks facing your company, you have to encourage your workers to report any incidents that occur on the job with team collaboration. You can not analyze data that does not exist. Information is critical in mitigating the risks utility workers encounter. Risk management software can help collect and organize available data for even more thorough and prompt analysis.
Occupational safety and health should be treated with the highest respect and priority if you're looking to prevent slips, trips, and other accidents. As such, companies that follow the standards created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration can go a long way in reducing how severe injury and illness can impact crew members.
Some Risks Utility Workers Face
Utility work often requires heavy-duty equipment to get the job done. A variety of machinery can strike workers and anyone in the immediate vicinity. Trucks, cranes, backhoes, and more can cause great bodily harm and worse. Hiring skilled operators is one essential practice to keep people safe. Staying aware at all times can also protect people who have to be around any heavy equipment.
Utility workers have to recognize the constant dangers of slips, trips, and falls, especially around live equipment. Line workers have to be more concerned with their safety harnesses and live wires. While wearing protective clothing can help preserve someone’s health on the ground, personal protective equipment can only go so far with fall protection.
Line workers are not the only ones who have to worry about falling. Anyone who works at any height is at risk of slipping for any number of reasons. A safety professional might push project managers to form and share a plan so everyone involved is aware of what needs to be done and the involved risks.
Collateral damage from digging
Breaking ground carries significant risks. An unknown gas pipe could ignite and explode. Vibration damage could jeopardize existing structures. Surveying existing conditions can help ensure the ground is free of unfortunate surprises.
While on the subject of the ground, trenching and excavating are common utility projects. They pose risks like any other job. Working around specific utilities like gas and electricity requires particular skill-sets for each one. Workers with these skills can be more adept and thus lower their chances of falling victim to injuries brought about by ignorance.
Utility work frequently occurs around public spaces like roads. Busy locations can multiply the risk. Workers, drivers, and pedestrians must be protected at all times. Workers are at risk of being struck by vehicles. Drivers and pedestrians could run into machinery. Following established traffic control guidelines can help decrease traffic risks.
Transfer Risk When Possible
If your company has taken as many precautions as possible, you can still try to reduce your risk even more. Risk transfer is the act of moving risk to a third party. The most common example is insurance. Since your company is probably already insured – and it should be – then you should assess all of your liabilities and figure out if you can move them to another company or individual.
A prime example of risk transfer in the utility industry is the transportation of utility poles, cable spools, and other oversized materials. Hauling and unloading utility poles can create devastating hazards, especially when performed by people without the proper know-how and equipment. Riggers are experts in securing, balancing, and moving heavy loads, and are typically required for unloading this type of cargo. However, hiring a company to haul oversized material not only transfers the risk of the job to them but also eliminates the need for a rigger role. You just have to choose a self-unloading hauling company.
Transfer Hauling Risks to Blackwood Resources
Managing your teams working on utility projects requires you to assign tasks that mitigate risk in real-time. Sometimes, the best option is to turn to an expert for the riskiest aspects of your project.
The utility industry, from renewable energy to public works, is rife with hazards. A job site can be a minefield of human errors and equipment mishaps. Risk managers are tasked with reducing the number of risks in any work environment. Utility companies that encourage utility worker safety can protect their employees. They can also save themselves from costly claims and lawsuits. Transferring risk can also prove to be strong protection against worker injuries.
Blackwood Resources is a self-unloading hauling company with a record of safety and proficiency. We can take on the hazards during the loading, transporting, and unloading of oversized equipment. Our skilled team of operators uses specialty flatbed hauling trucks to securely transport your material to your job site. The trucks have everything needed to load and unload. No rigger is necessary. Our operators will then use the crane on the truck to move your cargo from the flatbed to the ground.
Every job carries some element of risk. We can help you remove a significant one so you and your workers can complete any utility project with minimal setbacks. Please contact us today.