What Does Safety Mean to You?
by Julie Jones
Safety is important. No really, SAFETY is important to VEC. Last year I had the opportunity to interview linemen from almost all of our service areas. I asked each man four questions: what does working safe mean to you, is safety a team effort, what is the one thing you would tell our members, and finally is safety contagious. While there were various responses to most of the questions, the first question, what does safety mean to you, was answered unanimously the same. “Safety means going home at night.” It is that simple. Work safe, protect each other, and everyone goes home.
According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, electrical line workers are among the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States. At any given moment, linemen must deal with one or more occupational hazards. OSHA reports these hazards include high-voltage contact, working at height, working in confined spaces, challenging weather conditions, and work zone safety. Ironically a lineman’s job is ranked as more dangerous than being a fireman or in law enforcement.
Safety Superintendent Ty Ratcliff knows these statistics well. He has been a volunteer firefighter for 29 years, and he has worked for VEC for 20 of those years. Prior to becoming Safety Superintendent, Ty worked as a lineman in the Cleveland Service Center 18 1/2 years.
Ty recently completed the TVPPA Certified Safety Coordinator training. He along with six other Safety personnel from three states completed their OSHA 30 in November. In addition to teaching and promoting safety at VEC, Ty also works within the community helping with Safety Demonstrations at local schools and community events. Safety isn’t just a VEC thing for Ty, but every day for everyone responsibility.