Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Partnering on High-Voltage Safety

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Partnering on High-Voltage Safety

Article excerpt

A joint venture between General Electric and Summit Training Source results in an electrical safety training program with plenty of pizazz.

General Electric (GE) needed a specific safety training program for its high-voltage workers. While many typical electrical safety training programs were effective, none of them addressed all the concerns of GE's high-voltage workers. Therefore, GE decided to opt for a joint venture with Summit Training Source to produce a program devoted specifically to high-voltage worker safety issues.

Summit Training Source was contracted to design a motivational program that would appeal to this unique group of workers. The challenge for Summit was to find a way to present relevant information in an interesting and motivationally effective manner to an already well-trained audience. Summit's objective was to enhance GE employee awareness of, and respect for, the hazards. GE's workers already knew the safety issues; what they needed was an exciting reinforcement that would prompt them to utilize best safety practices.

GE high-voltage workers are highly trained specialists who work with electrical sources of 600 volts or more. These educated and skilled experts work with high-voltage equipment at GE and customer sites. High-voltage accidents can have serious consequences involving extensive property damage and severe injury or even death. GE's workers know the seriousness of the hazards, yet familiarity with a known hazard can lead to complacency. Even the best of the best often skip safety steps or forget to practice best safety guidelines from time to time.

A member of summit's production staff viewed the Navy's Blue Angels fighter pilots on a television program. This group of highly trained Navy pilots takes risks every day as they fly at shows throughout the world. These pilots fly within inches of each other at high speed. Precision, skill and a steady hand are absolute necessities for the job. The Blue Angels have a safety meeting before each flight to review all aspects of a routine they perform on a near-daily basis.

The production staff member immediately saw the similarities between the Blue Angels pilots and GE high-voltage workers. High-voltage workers were the Blue Angels of GE. Both groups were highly trained, dedicated and capable of precise work. Both groups respect the hazards of their work. Both groups benefit from frequent reinforcement of safe work practices. Additionally, a division of GE (GE Jet Engines) manufactures the engines used in the Blue Angels jets.

Dynamic Footage

Summit used dynamic footage of the Blue Angels for its high-voltage program. Seeing jets roar overhead and watching the precision of these pilots provided superb motivation at the beginning of the program. These scenes grabbed the attention of GE's workers and kept it for the remainder of the program.

Summit then added expert content for a high-quality, custom-made program. Summit production staff visited with GE at several sites, working closely with safety managers, engineers and high-voltage workers. Summit filmed for five days, taking footage in Virginia, Indiana and Arkansas.

GE planned to deploy this program globally and wanted to ensure that this training tool would be as effective as possible. It sent the Summit program for review to 25 individuals within the company who work firsthand with high-voltage safety. The program came back with extremely high marks for accuracy, motivation, production excellence and precision. …

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