North Fork of the Blackfoot River

Safety Snapshot

Posted: May 1, 2021
Sean Eskridge, Operations Specialist

A peek inside MEC’s Safety Program

In honor of National Electrical Safety Month, we sat down with MEC’s Operations Specialist and Safety Program Manager, Sean Eskridge. Sean is a Certified Loss Control Professional (CLCP), Certified Utility Professional (CUSP), and was MEC’s former Area Foreman, prior to assuming his current role, nearly ten years ago.

What do you do as the Safety Program Manager?

“In my role, I’m the safety facilitator for the Co-Op. My primary job is to maintain safety and ensure training needs and requirements are met. I also oversee metering, special projects with contractors, manage our fleet of trucks and equipment and order the FR gear.”

Why is safety so important?

“We work in a hazardous industry and the reality of high voltage is that it is very unforgiving. You don’t get a second chance. The Safety Program is in place to equip our teams with the most knowledge possible. Hazards can be avoided through hazard recognition and safe work practices. The goal is to get everyone home safely after each shift.”

What’s the best part of your job?

“Coaching and guiding people to do the right things, for the right reason.”

Tell me about the Safety Committee.

“The Safety Committee is made up of employees in all departments because safety impacts us everywhere. With a diverse group of employees, we get different viewpoints. My job is to steer and facilitate the discussion, while the other six members offer ideas, suggestions and feedback on what we could do or improve.”

What does MEC do to promote safety with the employees?

“The Co-Op, of course, provides required trainings, like the Pole Top Rescue, CPR/First Aid, Mayday, Lockout/Tagout, etc. But they go the extra mile and host additional trainings, too. Like last year, they brought in the Missoula Police Department to train us a bit on active shooter situations, and Missoula Bone and Joint to discuss joint health. We also promote safety through tailboards. These are required, but it’s basically a safety and operational aspect of how we plan our work and work our plan. These take place before every single project or job. The Co-Op also launched the MoveSafe Program a few years ago, with the goal of sending employees home in better shape than they came to work in. A MoveSafe trainer coaches us twice a year on safe movement and stretching techniques. We do them every morning, so we are stronger and more physically prepared for our jobs.”