Small Team, Big Accomplishment
August 17, 2020
Although there are only 10 employees in Jersey Central Power & Light’s (JCP&L) Newton Meter Reading group, the department has a big commitment to working safely. According to Glen Siegal, manager, Regional Meter Reading, the group’s team dynamic is the main reason it was able to achieve 14 years without an Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)-recordable injury.
“Newton employees really understand the steps they need to take to minimize the exposures they face in the field every day,” said Glen. “They use good communication skills and work as a team to complete their job assignments safely. In the end, it comes down to experience and to watching out for each other.”
Meter Reader Chief Jim Deckert Jr. is the group’s most experienced employee. With more than 34 years at JCP&L – including 33 years in Newton Meter Reading – there isn’t much Jim hasn’t seen during his career. As someone who has been around for the entire 14-year streak, he is very proud of what his group has accomplished.
“On any given day, our meter readers make hundreds of different decisions to complete their jobs safely,” said Jim. “They must pay attention to their surroundings, avoid complacency, and tackle each task with their heads up and their eyes wide open. If they identify a concern or a dangerous situation while on their route, they know to notify their coworkers of the hazard.”
Jim explained that meter readers always need to be ready for the unexpected – and communicating with coworkers is key to keeping everyone safe. “It’s always good to know what’s around the corner before you get there,” he continued.
Glen added: “Our employees take a lot of pride in performing their work safely, and it shows. Achieving 14 years without an OSHA-recordable injury is the longest streak ever recorded for a JCP&L Meter Reading group.”
During restoration efforts for Tropical Storm Isaias, Newton meter readers served as public protectors, securing locations with downed wires and other electrical hazards and directing local residents and other members of the public to stay away.
Bargaining-unit employees at Newton are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1289.