Energizing Your Future

Safety Days: We commit to safety with our partners 

Working closely with our partners to operate safely is essential to success at American Transmission Co. Safety Days is a day committed to each of our vegetation management contract partners to focus entirely on safety.  

 The events are held at locations chosen by our contract partners; one day for each of our three major vegetation management partners. More than 150 contract crew members and managers from Asplundh Tree Expert Company, Nelson Tree Service and Zielies participated in the 2021 Safety Days.  

 “There has been unwavering support for Safety Days at ATC from the top down,” said Michelle Stokes, manager of Vegetation Management and Transmission Line Maintenance “It’s a serious commitment on behalf of the company to take workers off the job for a day to concentrate on safety, and we have found it to be very valuable.” 

 According to Stokes, Safety Days foster great discussion among the attendees. The opportunity to get everyone dedicated to ATC’s vegetation management program together at once allows front-line workers to openly discuss safety issues in job-specific circumstances with co-workers and supervisors. 

 Each contract partner is asked to identify relevant topics to cover during these sessions. This year, the contract partners based their agendas on the ATC safety and human performance data metrics. Leading indicators in the way of good catches, near misses, all-stops were top of mind, along with chainsaw safety, equipment maintenance, tree climbing, and roping and rigging techniques. A few Nelson Tree crew members who went to California in fall 2020 shared tips for removing dead trees more safely. Crews are dealing with more dead ash trees with the outbreak of emerald ash borer, and it is not safe to climb dead trees.  

“With the ATC support and involvement, it really shows that the utility cares. We always have to make time to do some training in the field, but this day allows everyone to be together, and focus on some specific training,” said IBEW/ATC Vegetation Management Safety Liaison Brian Smith. 

 Smith was recognized during Safety Days for his significant contributions in fostering a safe work culture within ATC field operations. His coaching on safe work practices and communicating safe work expectations across the service area over the last four years has positively influenced ATC’s safety performance. ATC presented Smith with a letter of appreciation from Mike Rowe, ATC president and chief executive officer; Mark Davis, executive vice president and chief operating officer; Jared Winters, director of asset maintenance and commissioning; and Stokes.  Nelson Tree leadership also presented Smith with a glass plaque to recognize his contributions. 

 “Safety Days are one of the key components of our ATC vegetation management contractor safety program,” said Winters. “These training sessions provide our ATC vegetation management team with a fantastic opportunity to engage with our contractors, showing that we care about each person working safely, and that we are committed to each person going home everyday injury free.”