Working safely is vital in our industry, and no one knows that better than the men and women who work directly on our energy grid.

So, when we sought to improve workplace safety, we turned to those employees to launch a new program that’s already paying dividends.

Eight employee members of IBEW Local 1600 recently wrapped up a six-month stretch as “safety advocates.”

Their job was to observe co-workers on the job throughout our service area, and provide suggestions on ways to improve safety. Their comments focused on the work – not on their fellow employees – so concerns or suggestions could be delivered in a constructive way. The overall goals, at all times, were to reduce the chance of injuries and improve the way we do our work.

Building on the success of the first group, PPL Electric Utilities and Local 1600 leadership worked together to identify eight more employees who could serve as safety advocates. Those employees took over earlier this month, while the first group of advocates returned to their regular jobs.

The new advocates will travel throughout PPL’s service territory, observe work-related safety practices and provide input, suggestions and feedback.

Dave Bonenberger, vice president-Distribution Operations, praised the initial group for helping to build the culture needed to elevate PPL to the safest utility in the country.

“This is helping to establish a culture in which workers are more comfortable to speak up when they know they should when it comes to the most important value at PPL – keeping each other safe.  We are all one team with the objective that all of our employees are injury-free,” Bonenberger said.