Safety was in the spotlight at our recently held Winter Conference.  Cody Raveling’s presentation, aptly titled, If it’s not grounded it’s not dead, provided eye-opening examples highlighting the effectiveness and importance of grounding.

Cody Raveling of the MMUA spoke about utility employee safety and the importance of grounding at Heartland’s recent Winter Conference.

Raveling is the training center coordinator and JT&S instructor with Minnesota Municipal Utilities Association. Having served as a lineman himself for ten years, Raveling is well aware of the dangers present when working with electricity.

The importance of grounding has increased over the years due to the higher fault currents on the electrical systems. This is the result of systems improvements, higher demands and increased reliability across the grids.

The purpose of temporary protective grounding is to provide protection for workers. This is accomplished by limiting currents through the worker due to exposure voltages at the worksite to acceptable values. Acceptable values vary based on different hazards.

Raveling walked through all the necessary steps to ensure grounds are in place for worker safety. He also emphasized the importance of personal protective equipment and showed examples of how that equipment has saved lives.

Raveling referenced the American Public Power Association’s Safety Manual throughout his presentation. He rightfully pointed out that each individual is responsible for his or her own safety. The manual states that before beginning a job, an employee shall satisfy themselves that they can perform the task without injury. If they are in doubt, they need to call this to the attention of their supervisor.

Heartland has ordered several copies of APPA’s Safety Manual and will be distributing them to customers as our staff make visits in the coming months. Safety of our customers is of utmost importance to Heartland and providing the manuals is just one small step we can take to help your workers stay safe. I hope you all take time to review the manual and continue to educate yourself on best safety practices.

Several customers stuck around after lunch to enjoy an afternoon of South Dakota’s favorite pastime: pheasant hunting. By moving this event from December to mid-November, we were able to enjoy some of our state’s better weather.

Winter Conference attendees are treated to an afternoon of pheasant hunting thanks to our event sponsors.

I certainly appreciated the opportunity to walk the fields alongside our customers as well as board members and event sponsors. It’s always gratifying to spend some downtime with our customers in a relaxed atmosphere. Events like these allow us to show appreciation for our valued partnerships.

I also want to add a thank you to all of the organizations who generously sponsored our Winter Conference, including: Duncan Weinberg Genzer & Pembroke, Tenaska Power Services, Fredrikson & Byron, P.A., NextEra Energy, Omni-Pro Software, Inc., DGR Engineering, Zimmer Duncan & Cole, GDS Associates, Inc., and Dougherty & Company, LLC.

As I write this, I’m reminded that we’ve already reached the beginning of December. With that comes the busy holiday season and before we know it, we’ll reach the New Year. I hope you are all able to enjoy some extra time with friends and family this month and enjoy a relaxed Christmas and New Year’s.

I look forward to what the New Year brings for Heartland and all of our customers. We continue working to ensure a bright future for our company, and our customers.

Happy Holidays!