Loss-time accidents at SC's electric co-ops drop 75%

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) The state's electric cooperatives say loss-time accidents involving co-op workers decreased by 75 percent, a milestone for the group.

"This was one of the most aggressive safety campaigns in the country," said Mike Couick, president and CEO of The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. "Some of my colleagues thought the goal was unreasonable. But we believed unprecedented action was necessary to create a true culture of safety, and I think we're doing that."

The safety initiative, officially named 75 by 75 for 75, was described as a 75 percent reduction in loss-time accidents at 75 percent of the state's electric cooperatives to honor the 75 years co-ops have provided service to residents in South Carolina.

"Reducing the number of accidents by this magnitude tells us something important: co-op employees in this state committed themselves to this program 100 percent," said Todd Carter, vice president of loss, control and training at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. Carter was instrumental in implementing and managing the program. "There's no way we would have reached this goal unless every co-op made safety its top priority. This was a total team effort across the state."

In the year preceding the 75 by 75 for 75 program, there were 28 loss-time accidents involving cooperative employees. Since the start of the initiative on April 30, 2013, officials said the number of loss-time accidents statewide stands at seven.

"When there is a concerted focus on a safety priority, the culture changes as the commitment of the employees changes," said Mike Bird, vice president of safety and loss prevention for Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange, the leading provider of property and casualty insurance for electric cooperatives in 42 states. "Congratulations to the electric cooperatives in South Carolina for their commitment. The results suggest fewer injuries and that directly correlates to more employees going home uninjured daily."

The state's 20 electric cooperatives employ more than 2,000 people and distribute electric service in all 46 counties.

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