In Sync with Safety

L. to r.: Substation electricians George Gantner, Jeff Bordonaro, and John Frank; relay tester Karl White; Shawn Readence; Bryan Coolidge; relay tester Doug Korosy; and Substation electrician Dionta James. (Not pictured: Dan Jacobs, supervisor, Regional Operations; and electrician leaders Jason Basiger and Kyle Lindow.)

June 18, 2021

A group of employees supporting a project at the Eastlake Plant recently showed what our Leading with Safety program is all about.

Substation Electrician Bryan Coolidge (on ladder) works with Shawn Readence, electrician leader, to safely relocate transmission system relays and controls from inside Eastlake to a new relay and control building in the station’s transmission yard.

Located along Ohio’s Lake Erie shore, Eastlake is a former generating facility that was converted to a series of synchronous condensers, providing voltage support to help move power through the grid. When substation workers from The Illuminating Company (CEI) needed to transfer all of the transmission system relay and controls from inside the facility to a new relay and control building in the Eastlake transmission yard, they encountered a potentially hazardous situation, according to Jim Forristal, general manager, Regional Operations Support.

“There were a lot of cables and no easy way to get to them,” Jim explained. “The cables started on the ceiling, snaked through various levels of the plant and had to be pulled out through the floor.”

Realizing the complexity of the job and the potential for injury when working at heights, the Substation employees contacted the FirstEnergy Utilities (FEU) Safety, Generation Safety and Engineering groups to discuss their concerns and identify solutions. Their actions lead to the safe and successful completion of the project.

“We’re very proud of these employees for exhibiting a questioning attitude and their desire to keep themselves and their coworkers free from injury,” said Brent Coakley, director, Operations Support. “They identified an exposure, stopped the job and then worked as a team to mitigate the exposure and complete the work safely. That is the definition of Leading with Safety – which puts safety at the forefront of everything we do.”

Brent also expressed his appreciation to the various company departments that provided support to the Substation group, including Dan Rossero, vice president, Fleet Operations, for his guidance and leadership.

“We want all FEU employees to be leaders when it comes to working safely,” said Sam Belcher, president, FEU. “CEI Substation employees made safety a core value by verifying that critical controls were in place to prevent exposure to life-changing event conditions. It’s up to all of us to follow their example of enhancing safety by eliminating exposure at all levels of the organization.”

Bargaining-unit employees at CEI are represented by Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 270.