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9/6/2013 12:45:00 AM
CREC seminar emphasizes safety
By Van Mitchell, Journal Staff Writer

Safety in the workplace was the message of a recent Central Rural Electric Cooperative seminar in which more than 200 staking, right-of-way and line construction crew members attended at its Stillwater headquarters.

Jillianne Tebow, CREC vice-president of corporate operations said due to CREC's customer growth and continued product upgrades, it was important to get all working parties together to ensure safety is a top priority.

"There is a lot of activity in the electric world and safety has always been one of our highest priorities here at CREC," Tebow said. "We began communicating with all those crews making sure we are all on the same page and the easiest way to do that is to bring them all together at one place and one time to get the same message." CREC CEO David Swank told the attendees that safety was of the upmost importance at CREC.

"We emphasize safety to all of CREC's employees and realize that for our linemen, being safe can mean the difference between life and death. It is not something that we take lightly," Swank said.

The emphasis on safety has been amplified recently by the magnitude of growth CREC is currently experiencing because of increased oil and gas production throughout its service area. As CREC's system continues to grow in miles of line, it is also growing in the number of people working on the system through the utilization of contract companies. As the number of people working on CREC's system increases, safety awareness heightens as well.

"We want to make sure all crews working on our system know that we are as concerned for their safety as much as we are concerned for the safety of CREC employees," said Steve Henderson, CREC vice president of loss control. "It is our daily goal that every individual working on the lines goes home to their families, and that is a message that cannot be emphasized enough."

Tebow said meeting participants included CREC and contract line construction and maintenance crews, right-of-way crews, staking crews, safety coordinators and oil and gas producers. Information presented included CREC yard safety requirements, safety regulations and inspection processes. Participants were also given safety handouts and the Oklahoma Association of Electric Cooperatives Safety Manual.

"We had very positive feedback," Tebow said of the seminar attendees. "Safety is something we take very seriously and we don't want to overlook."

Headquartered in Stillwater, CREC is a not-for profit electric cooperative that serves more than 18,000 members in seven central Oklahoma counties.

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