SAVANNAH, Ga. – Walton Electric Membership Corporation (EMC) was recently recognized for an entire year without any employee missing work due to an injury in the workplace, an impressive accomplishment given the complexity and inherent dangers of the electricity industry.
“Our business involves risks from energized wires, working high in the air and moving heavy items, not to mention being out after storms to restore power,” said Brad Adcock, Walton EMC loss control director. “We strive to minimize these dangers by investing time and attention to safety measures and careful work practices.”
To acknowledge the organization’s robust safety program, the cooperative received the No Lost Time Award during their state trade association’s recent annual meeting in Savannah.
Nationally, electrical linemen suffered 18.6 fatalities for every 100,000 hours worked in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to just 3.4 fatalities per 100,000 hours for the average American worker.
Walton EMC had no fatalities or injuries that required the worker to miss any time away from the job.
Today, electric utility employees, including those with Walton EMC, work in a much safer environment due to advances in equipment and safety techniques, along with stricter safety regulations and oversight. This leads to a significant reduction in accidents and time away from work for many employees, according to Georgia EMC Vice President of Training, Education and Safety Harry Reeves.
Still, the nature of the electricity business makes it a challenge to avoid an injury no matter how many safety practices are in place, making it especially noteworthy when EMCs earn this award.
“It’s a testament to all our employees,” said Adcock. “Our success and safety depend on all of us following carefully designed safety precautions to ensure we return home to our families at the end of each day.”
While protecting the safety of employees and the public is the primary goal of workplace safety and training, Walton EMC’s stellar safety record also translates into significant savings for the cooperative and its members.
When an injury does occur, the costs go beyond direct medical expenses. Indirect costs, like increases in insurance, hiring another employee and even loss of reputation can add up to four times the direct cost of the injury.
Walton EMC is an innovative, customer-owned and -focused electric utility serving accounts in 10 Northeast Georgia counties between Atlanta and Athens. In its long history of meeting customer-owners’ needs, the cooperative established successful natural gas and security subsidiaries as well as nationally recognized solar initiatives. For more information, visit waltonemc.com.