Employees of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission have reached a new safety milestone, having worked more than 5 million work hours with no lost-time due to injuries. The last lost-time injury was in November 2011.
The accomplishment was recognized by the North Carolina Commissioner of Labor, Cherie Berry, on Oct. 23, and marks the first time in PWC’s nearly 110 year history that employees have surpassed the 5 million hour mark with no lost-time injuries. The North Carolina Department of Labor oversees the health and safety of employees at more than 250,000 places of business across the state.
In the past year, NCDOL recognized just 17 organizations across the state for working 5 million or more safe hours. No other utility in North Carolina has achieved a 5 million hour milestone in recent history.
“Reaching 5 million hours without a lost-time accident has a positive impact on our customers and the community as a whole by knowing our employees are committed to perform their jobs in the safest way possible while providing reliable and cost effective service,” said David Trego, PWC’s CEO/general manager. “While this is all very important, the thing I am most proud of is that since we started our 5 million hour journey, our employees were able to go home, without a major injury, to their families and friends each and every one of those days.”
PWC’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration incident rate (0.78) is half of the U.S. average for utilities (1.8). PWC has more than 600 employees who face hazardous conditions every day and in the last year, worker injuries were reduced by 65 percent. PWC workers drive an average of 7,000 miles daily as well as work around dangerous electrical voltages, enter confined spaces, dig trenches 20-plus feet deep, handle hazardous chemicals and operate heavy machinery. Nationally, one in five worker fatalities were in construction as a result of electrocution, cave-ins, equipment and falls.
“Safety is not something that can be driven from the top of the organization downward, nor can it be done by employee efforts alone,” said Trego. “It is a cooperative effort throughout the organization with the support of management, the commitment and involvement of all employees, as well as a desire to have a culture of safety that permeates throughout the organization.”