Gary Smith, PowerSouth CEO


Safety is PowerSouth’s number-one corporate value, and rightly so. When talking to the employees, I always tell them that, without safety, nothing else matters.
Keeping the lights on isn’t worth anybody’s life — on either end of the line. Public safety is equally as important as employee safety, and we take every possible measure to protect your health and property, too.
On December 31, 2016, PowerSouth’s 584 full-time employees achieved a full calendar year without a lost-time accident — a milestone of which I am very proud. Not because of insurance rates or OSHA regulations, but because it means that every day last year all of our people returned home to their families healthy and whole.
The safety record means I didn’t have to tell a wife that her husband had been hurt or killed. I didn’t have to explain to a child that his mother wouldn’t be coming home again. I didn’t have to visit a hospital and stand beside the bed of a coworker who had lost a limb. Instead, I have the honor and privilege of rewarding the hardworking men and women of PowerSouth for a job well done.
The business of generating and transmitting electricity is dangerous. The inherent risks of the job — high voltages, height, heavy equipment, high pressures and extreme temperatures — mean that PowerSouth’s employees are constantly exposed to life-threatening situations. In a very real sense, many
people put their lives at risk to produce and deliver a product that everyone relies on.
But safety risks are not limited to those who work in the field and power plants. Driving is possibly one of the most dangerous things we do, and PowerSouth employees log more than 2 million miles on the roads each year. Many employees lift heavy objects, climb ladders and stairs, or use hazardous chemicals
in their daily duties.
Maintaining a safety mindset is equally important for everyone.
We attempt to prepare employees for dangers of their jobs through a comprehensive safety training program. We provide our people with the tools they need to safely accomplish their daily tasks, and we continuously stress the importance of safety first. Working safely goes beyond wearing hard hats and protective goggles, and it isn’t just something we think about on the job. It is a mindset. A way of life. It must become part of you.
Complacency is the enemy. After years at work, it is easy to become comfortable with the dangers of the job and engage auto-pilot. We train employees to remain vigilant and aware and to always take time to prepare for the job ahead.
Now that we have accomplished a year-long safety milestone, the job is not done. I challenge the employees to maintain this momentum and achieve a second year accident-free. The goal is certainly attainable.
Even if you don’t work in the utility industry, ask yourself, “Who cares if I work safely?” Is it an aging parent who depends on you for their well-being? Is it a loving spouse who would be heartbroken and devastated if you were gone? Is it a child that needs your love and direction? Is it a team of young baseball players who admire and respect your guidance? A church family? Coworkers?
The safety program and its successes are not mine nor PowerSouth’s. It belongs to our employees. They must keep it and drive it. It is their responsibility and their success.
Everybody has somebody who needs and loves them. If nothing else, think of them on the job, on your drive home, when working in your yard, when you are hunting — in every aspect of your life, please put safety first. For them. For you. Every day. Always.
I hope you have a good month.
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