INL News Release
June 21, 2007

Media Contact: John Walsh (208) 526-8684


Nine INL linemen recognized for combined 265 years of safe high-voltage work

Nine linemen in Idaho National Laboratory's Power Management Department have been recognized for a combined total of 265 years of electrical work without an electrical contact injury.

The feat is noteworthy because linemen normally work with high voltage electrical power transmission and distribution systems – up to 138,000 volts at INL – which would be lethal on contact.

"Our Power Management Group has achieved outstanding electrical safety for more than a quarter century," INL Facilities & Site Services Director Dwayne Coburn said. "I congratulate the linemen, their safety representatives, and the entire team that supports their daily work activities. We could not ask for a better safety example."

This is especially notable in an industry that has high injury rates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in a recent six-year period, 2,287 U.S. workers died and more than 32,000 workers sustained days away from work due to electrical shocks or electrical burns. On average, during that time in the United States, there was nearly one worker fatality and 13 lost-day injuries per day.

Lineman Years of Safe
Electrical Work
Alan Johnson 34
Craig Drake 33
Joe Siepert 33
Kyle Ashbocker 30
Brad Gardner 24
Richard Packard 23
Ed Eames 30
Rick Anthony 27
Mike Blessinger 31

Other members of the group are Don Blatter, manager; Jeff Allen and Amy Wasia, operations support personnel; Dan Park, foreman; Jeff Norman, Robert Henderson, and Jeff Bode, engineers; James Chase, Brad Anderson, and Max Gregory, planners; Jake Jacobson, safety engineer; and William Colvin, Robert Edwards, Scott Carlisle, and Rod Bowman, power dispatchers.

The Power Management organization was formed in 1980. They call themselves Scoville Power & Light, based on the historic name of Scoville, Idaho, used to identify postal deliveries to INL's Central Facilities Area, where they are based. Their management calls them heroes – because of their extraordinary safe work record at INL.

"I want to thank you guys for an outstanding, extraordinary safety record," INL director of Facility Management Cal Ozaki said in presenting each lineman with a certificate of recognition. "What you have done is even more remarkable when you consider the number of electrical injuries that occur in American workplaces each year." He noted that INL's Power Management heroes have never contributed to the grim industry safety statistics.

Bill Buyers, manager of the Support, Integration & Planning Department in INL's Engineering Services Division, also had high praise for the linemen. "High voltage is not just a hazard; it's the type of hazard that can be lethal," he said. "I am sure that makes you very careful as you work each day. We appreciate your extraordinary safety performance and can only say, 'Keep it up!'"

"You have an average of 29 years apiece, on the job, doing electrical work every day, without a single electrical contact injury," Ozaki noted. "Put another way, the average for this group is 5,800 work days – doing electrical work each day – without an electrical contact injury. You should be proud of that."

There have been a couple of non-electrical injuries among the group – but even taking those into account, the linemen have achieved 180 man-years without an injury of any kind.

INL is one of the DOE's 10 multiprogram national laboratories. The laboratory performs work in each of the strategic goal areas of DOE: energy, national security, science and environment. Specifically, INL is the nation's leading center for nuclear energy research and development. Day-to-day management and operation of the laboratory is the responsibility of Battelle Energy Alliance.

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