Dialed In to Safety
May 10, 2019
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Although this phrase is widely known as the unofficial motto of U.S. mail carriers, it could easily apply to meter readers, as well.
Inclement weather is just one of the daily challenges faced by FirstEnergy Utilities (FEU) meter readers. They also must deal with aggressive dogs, dangerous walking conditions and the occasional electric fence. Yet, even when faced with these obstacles, meter readers at The Illuminating Company’s (CEI) Westlake and Strongsville service centers have worked for 13 and seven years, respectively, with no Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) recordable injuries.
“I am impressed with what our employees do on a daily basis,” said Sierra Wyman, manager, Meter Reading, CEI. “Working for so many years without an OSHA-recordable injury is a huge accomplishment for both service centers. I appreciate their efforts when it comes to working safely.”
Meter readers spend the majority of their day in the field, traveling to various residential and commercial locations to gather usage data so customer bills can be processed. Driving on heavily traveled highways – and in some cases, rural roads – is another safety challenge they face every day.
“It all comes down to being aware of your surroundings,” said Dave Haldi, meter reader, Strongsville Service Center. “We all want to go home with all of our fingers and toes at the end of each day, and the best way to do that is to stay focused on safety and not take unnecessary risks.”
Dave believes that part of his group’s success can be traced back to its emphasis on protecting employees from injury, specifically through morning meetings. “We start each day with safety,” added Dave. “It helps to make sure everyone is focused on what’s important before we leave the service center.”
Eight meter readers are located at Westlake Service Center and six report to the Strongsville Service Center. According to Sierra, she feels fortunate to work with a such great group of people.
“The Westlake and Strongsville meter readers are dedicated to protecting themselves from injury and to watching out for their coworkers,” she said. “It shows that with the right mindset, every task can be completed safely.”
Bargaining-unit employees in Westlake and Strongsville Meter Reading are represented by Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 270.