Safety is not just a metric; it’s a way of life

By Nathan Stone

Safety is a company priority, but it’s so much more than that. Each of us has our own reasons why we work safely, including our health and our loved ones. Getting home each day the same way you came in is not just a metric. It’s a way of life.

We’re bringing back a popular poster series to recognize employees who keep safety front and center, on and off the clock. Beginning in February 2016, you’ll see posters featuring employees across upstate New York electric operations and can read their stories here each month.

Let’s meet this month’s profiles.

Joe Flanagan – North Albany Service Center in eastern New York

Joe Flanagan

right to left: Joe Flanagan with Tony Romano

Joe Flanagan began his career at National Grid in 1992 in meter reading (now CMS) as a reader.  He now works as a chief cable splicer in underground electric, where he has been for the last 15 years.  Whether collecting customer data or working to repair a smoldering cable, safety has always been in the forefront of his work practices.

“There are a lot of unknowns when dealing with an underground cable that is not visible,” Flanagan said, describing a work scene set-up.  “Making sure we all have the proper PPE and that we take the safest approach when approaching a smoldering cable, making sure everyone knows their role is important to keeping everyone safe.”

With older systems to work on, keeping safety in mind might seem like an automatic action that would allow everyone to go home at the end of the night, but according to Flanagan, it is also about pride in the job.

“We are always thinking about our appearance when we are working in public, whether we are presenting the best safety practices,” said Flanagan.  “It is with pride that we present our professionalism through our safety practices.  I’m proud of the commitment to safety of this group.”

Bill Lyons – Batavia Service Center in western New York

Bill Lyons

Bill Lyons with daughter, Abby

Bill Lyons started his 27-year career at National Grid as a janitor in Buffalo, NY. He is now a maintenance mechanics chief in the Stations group where he’s worked for the last 11 years. One consistency over that time was a focus on safety – at work and off the clock.

Lyons is an outdoorsman. He competes in bass fishing tournaments and goes bow hunting for deer. Whether it’s wearing a safety harness at work or in a tree stand, a life vest while fishing or safety glasses while weed whacking (which saved an eye once), safety is a part of his everyday life. He even does Stretch ‘N Flex moves with coworkers before their shift begins.

“Family is the most important thing. Being safe is one way to make sure I can go home to them every day,” Lyons said.

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