The Gift that Keeps on Giving

December 20, 2019

Penn Power employees gave each other an early holiday gift this year when the entire operating company achieved one year without incurring an Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)-recordable injury.

“It’s all about looking out for each other to keep our coworkers safe,” said Jeff Doran, manager, Operations Services, Clark Service Building. “Returning home safely to spend the holidays with our families – that’s what makes achievements like this so meaningful.”

Penn Power has 372 employees working out of the Clark, Cranberry Area and New Castle service centers. Cranberry Area employees celebrated three years without an OSHA-recordable in November, and the Clark and New Castle facilities marked their one-year milestones earlier this year.

When presenting Penn Power employees with the President’s Safety Excellence Award, Regional President Ed Shuttleworth encouraged the group to continue to focus on safety, every day. “We’ve installed a lot of new equipment over the last several years, and employees need to be conscious of the changing technology,” he said. “When arriving at a job site, examine the equipment prior to beginning work and never hesitate to ask questions.”

In addition to these milestones, Penn Power’s Substations group has worked more than 10 years without an OSHA-recordable injury, and Substation Services Manager Bob Wilson isn’t surprised. “One of the things I stress to our team is to do the right thing, whether someone is watching or not,” he said. “Our employees are very proud of their safety record, and they intend to keep it going by incorporating the company’s new safety program into their daily work practices.”

FirstEnergy’s initiative to reduce employee exposure to hazards and eliminate life-changing events is being rolled out across the company. George Summers Jr. believes it already is being engrained into the safety culture at Penn Power.

“Our leadership team has embraced FirstEnergy’s new safety initiatives and believes they will make a real difference in protecting our employees from injury,” said George, manager, Operations Services at Cranberry Area and New Castle. “There is a real family atmosphere at Penn Power, and our employees are always looking for new ways to keep each other safe.”

Jason Nixon, general manager, Regional Operations Services, joined the Penn Power family earlier this year and quickly recognized the group’s strong commitment to working safely. “Our employees have an unbelievable focus on detail and attention to completing tasks correctly,” he said. “In my short time with the company, I have been impressed by my coworker’s relentless passion for safety and watching out for each other.”

Bargaining-unit employees at Penn Power are represented by Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 140. According to Joe LaBruzzo, line leader and UWUA Local 140 president, a big reason for the company’s success is strong communication between employees.

“We use job briefings to make sure everyone is on the same page before work begins. And if someone has a question, we stop the job and address the concern,” explained Joe. “We take FirstEnergy’s safety rules seriously and follow them so everyone can go home safely at the end of each day.”

Joe added, “Be your brother’s keeper. It’s the greatest gift you can give someone – not just during the holidays, but all year long.”

Clark Service Building employees

Penn Power also recognized members of the Quarter Century of Safety Club who have worked 25 years or more without an OSHA recordable. L. to r. are Donald Kirkwood (36 years), Charles Flickner (29), David Nickel (28), Dondi Lites (32), Hal Bluedorn (38), Regional President Ed Shuttleworth, John Baumiller (35), Jon Seymour (42) and William Beck (41).

New Castle Service Building employees

Members of the Cranberry Area Service Building group