Nine years of safety and counting

Published 8:56 pm Monday, August 30, 2010

Members of the Selma Line crew have worked nine consecutive years without a recordable injury. Alabama Power will present the crew with the Super Start Award Tuesday for this milestone. Back, left, Scott Mitchell, Mike Johnson, Heath Jones, Allen Kendrick, Hobson Curry, Eric Hinson, front left, Bryant Barns, Matthew Curtis, Brandon Tubbs, Burt Maroney, Kelsey Tripp and Osie Cunnignham, front middle. --Courtesy photo

SELMA — When 40-mph winds and a downpour of rain knock a tree onto power line; they repair it. When a coworker is hoisted in the air to fix live wires; they’re watching. When a squirrel interferes with a power line in the afternoon; they’ll find the root of the problem and get the power back on.

Despite the dangers of working in severe weather or the hazards of holding a wire with 12,000 volts still running through it, the members of the Selma line crew of Alabama Power Co. have worked nine years without any recordable injury; a feat they accomplished one day at a time.

“That’s how you achieve nine years, you work that day safely,” said Art Scroggins, operations manager with Alabama Power. “You do it one day at a time.”

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For nine years, no member of that crew has required medical attention or time off from work because of something that happened while on duty. Add to that accomplishment 11 years without a vehicle accident. This is the longest stretch of time the crew has made it without an incident.

Alabama Power will honor these members today at a luncheon at the Alabama Power Co. Warehouse, 1909 Landline Road, with the Super Star award for maintaining another year of safety under the company’s Target Zero safety program.

Target Zero began in 2003 to emphasize the important of safety on and off the job. Workers always document injuries and accidents occurring on the job, which is why the team accumulated years beyond the beginning of the program.

Safety precautions are a part of daily routines for crew members. Some of the rules: Always wearing rubber gloves when dealing with live wires, direct a truck as it backs up and spot the person on the lift at the top of a power line.

“We just look out for one another out there,” said Brandon Tubbs, lineman on the Selma crew. “What we do is dangerous and you have to ensure that everybody knows what they’re doing and have a full understanding of what’s going on.”

Workers respond to maintenance calls during the day, but when the team is called to a job at night for a downed power line by a tree or a pole hit by a car, the team uses additional workers to spot crew members whenever possible.

“We have to have a sense of heightened awareness when we go out at night,” Tubbs said. “It’s not just us. Your families depend on it and everybody around you. Our job affects a lot more than just the guys we work with.”

Safety on the job is just as important for other professions as well, according to Tubbs.

“At every job, the same safety applies,” Tubbs said. “If you look out for one another and follow the safety rules and regulations that they give you, every job can be done safely.”