A Well-Oiled Machine

L to r: Matt Garrigan, vice president, IBEW Local 1289; Technicians Justin Buckalew, Paul Seredy, Dan Lee and Jerry Baudo; Chief Bob Brown; Technicians Jamie Wilson, John Murray and John Hayden; Pat Mullin, director Regional Operations Support; Technicians John Doran and Frank Pietropollo; Clerk Seniors Bonnie Wagner and Lorraine Andres; Manager Nick Dello Russo (recently retired); and Supervisor Dan McKnight.

May 29, 2018

It’s raining, customers are out of power, and JCP&L employee Frank Pietropollo is under a bucket truck on the side of the road, making repairs so a line crew can  finish restoring service. It’s all in a day’s work for a Fleet Services technician.

“Line workers can’t always stop in the middle of a job to bring their vehicle in for repairs, so we go to them,” explains Frank, who is based out of the Lakewood (N.J.) Garage. “Sometimes, we must work on trucks that are parked at a busy intersection or situated along a dirt road that runs along a company right-of-way. Whatever the situation, we always make safety a priority.”

When you consider all the different weather and traffic conditions these mobile mechanics encounter in the course of a day, it is even more impressive that Central New Jersey (CNJ) Fleet Services employees have worked 17 years without an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable incident. The team also has achieved 12 years without a chargeable motor vehicle accident (CMVA).

This outstanding safety record is no surprise to Dan McKnight, supervisor, Regional Operations East, who credits his team’s success to being focused on safety. “I am extremely proud of the 13 CNJ Fleet Services employees at the Lakewood and Farmingdale facilities,” he says. “Whether they are working in the garage or servicing vehicles in the field, they maintain the same commitment to going home injury-free at the end of each day.”

Fleet Services employees not only work on engines, they make repairs to the hydraulic systems used to raise and lower aerial buckets and operate augers on digger derricks, among other things. The company vehicles they service range from bucket trucks and pickups to forklifts and other specialty vehicles.

Technician Jerry Baudo has been working in CNJ Fleet Services for nearly 13 years. He credits having experienced employees and completing job briefings with helping to keep workers safe. “It’s important to familiarize yourself with the job you will be performing by identifying hazards and reviewing work procedures. Before I even pick up a tool, I go through the process I will follow and determine the best way to complete the task.”

Frank shared some final thoughts about why he works safely. “My main goal is to go home with all my fingers and toes intact,” he says with a chuckle. “Even after 25 years with the company, I still enjoy my job and the people I work with. We take pride in what we do, and although each day brings different challenges, the one thing that remains constant is that we watch out for each other’s safety.”

Bargaining-unit employees at JCP&L are represented by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1289.