Powering Strong Communities

Public Power Officials Review Proposed Changes To APPA Safety Manual

Members of the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Safety Manual Working Group recently met to review proposed changes to the latest edition of the manual. The meeting was hosted by CDE Lightband in Clarksville, Tenn.

The group reviewed proposed changes to help develop the 17th edition of the APPA Safety Manual.

Since 1955, APPA’s Safety Manual has been a key tool for public power utility workplace safety programs.

In order to ensure relevance and accuracy, the Safety Manual is updated every four to five years to reflect important changes in the industry, as well as National Electrical Safety Code (NESC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards.

The working group “reviewed change proposals that were sent in via the change proposal process. These proposals included adding content to sections of the safety manual for clarity, alignment with National Electric Safety Code and OSHA standards and industry best practices,” said Ashley Bryan, Director for Transmission and Distribution at Virgin Islands Water & Power Authority.

Bryan is a member of the working group.

“Experts that make-up the panel weighed in on each proposal, cross referenced governing safety documents and added content to the Safety Manual,” she noted in a Feb. 23 email.

“Subcommittees also reviewed topics such as ‘Grounding’ and ‘Switching’ where it was deemed by the panel that additional reviews and content needed to be added to strengthen the guidelines contained within the manual,” she said.

Additional subcommittees were also formed to cover topics such as “Confined Space”, “RF” and “Heat Stress,” Bryan said, noting that changes proposed by each subcommittee will be reviewed at a meeting in April.

“The team covered a lot of content and had great discussions on the proposed changes to the manual this past week. Being part of the task force and working with the members of the team has been a great experience overall and I look forward to the upcoming meetings,” she said.

Another working group member, Gregory Labbe, Electric Operations Manager at Louisiana public power utility Lafayette Utilities System, said that during the meeting, the group discussed key areas, such as grounding, switching procedures, communication workers and other key areas of the Safety Manual.

The group had “good discussions and we made a lot of progress towards completing the updates. We also got to tour CDE Lightband’s very nice and modern facilities and they were a very gracious host,” he said.

Brent McKinney, who recently retired from City Utilities of Springfield, Mo., as the Electric Director, has represented APPA on the NESC subcommittee 8 for the past 20 years. That subcommittee takes care of the worker safety rules for the NESC.  

After his retirement, APPA asked him to do some consulting work for it.

“My first project was to create a cross index between the NESC Part 4 and the safety manual.  The cross index was completed and showed several areas where increased rules were needed in the safety manual to fully comply with NESC 2017,” he noted.

After this task, APPA asked him to expand the cross index to include the new rules from the NESC 2023. That task has also been completed.  

“My role is now to assist the committee to include new rules in the safety manual which will bring it into compliance for NESC 2023.”

The NESC is revised every 5 years. The current NESC was a six-year period due to the pandemic.  

“The safety manual should be revised after each NESC update. This makes sure the safety manual is in compliance with the latest safety standards,” he said.

In a recent episode of APPA’s Public Power Now podcast, public power officials detailed the value of the Safety Manual.