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  Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative  
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MEC Achieves Safety Milestone:

 One Million Hours Worked Without Lost-time Injury



Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative (MEC) has reached a significant safety milestone of one million man-hours worked without a lost-time accident, a monumental accomplishment based on industry standards.  This achievement comes as MEC employees have not experienced a lost-time incident for over four years, and now represents over 1,400 consecutive safe days. The one million hour figure represents the accumulation of work hours, including overtime, by all Cooperative employees.


MEC defines a “lost-time” accident as a work-related accident or injury that results in an employee having to take time off from work. MEC employees have averaged 4,500 man-hours per week but often they are required to log many more. The one million hour milestone includes  the six (6) days following Hurricane Irene when MEC employees worked over 11,000 man-hours to restore service to 35% of its over 31,000 members.


“While the million hours worked without a lost-time accident is impressive, and worthy of strong recognition, especially when you consider that we have not had a lost-time accident since 2011 and the very dangerous nature of our business, it is the consistently applied safe work practices and the culture of safety that we have established here at our Cooperative, that I am most proud of,” states MEC President and CEO John Lee, adding “Under the meaningful guidance of a very effective safety committee, our employees have bought in to our safety program and our motto of ‘Safety First,’ and they have accepted accountability for themselves and each other when it comes to working safely; and accordingly, they aggressively hold each other responsible for the same. There is no better example of a team effort than reaching this milestone; and I congratulate each and every one of our employees for that accomplishment and, more importantly, for taking care of themselves, each other, and our members….and for striving to make MEC the best in everything we do.”


During 2014 Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative was recognized by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) for its ongoing commitment to safety in the workplace and in the communities of its member-owners and was presented the Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program (RESAP) certificate. As a result of its focus on safety, MEC has also been recognized nationally among cooperatives for its Best Safety Practices.


The safety program at MEC, which is completely governed by a committee of employees elected by their peers, encourages every employee to give their full commitment to safety and to challenge each other to perform every task at peak safety performance. The committee’s role is to foster a safe, healthy and environmentally sound workplace and establish policies and procedures that best protect fellow employees, members, and our communities. 


According to Chase City Lineman and Safety Committee Member Paul Underwood, “One million man-hours without a lost-time accident is a big accomplishment…seeing every employee go home safe is the greatest accomplishment. We’ve been doing the right things for a number of years and now it’s paying off. It means something when everyone from the bottom to the top cares, real change trickles down and safety becomes the top priority. It is exciting to be a part of a workplace where employees are responsible for their own safety. At MEC we’ve learned and expect a high standard. As a husband and a dad, nothing is more important than safety to my family… that means we send everyone home safe.”


In addition to safe working conditions, this milestone offers financial savings for the organization. MEC saves in the avoided costs of doctor and hospital visits but it also saves in insurance premiums for health insurance and workman’s compensation. Since MEC is member-owned, these savings directly benefit the Cooperative’s members.


Ron Campbell, MEC’s safety director, remarks, “One million hours is certainly impressive and even commendable, but really it’s just a number. One solitary number does not show the years of training, it does not show the honesty with which every employee judges his effort toward safety and our stretching to push the bar even higher. That number is the result of making the right decisions. MEC’s team has a mutual respect for every member, and our culture is one that sets its top priority to send everyone home safe - every day.  Our safety program is not about ‘gotcha, you broke a rule’ – it’s about coaching, teaching, and learning. I know we’re successful when employees take safety home – and that they have done.’

Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative is the not-for-profit consumer-owned energy provider to over 31,000 homes, farms and businesses located in portions of the Virginia counties of Brunswick, Charlotte, Greensville, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, Pittsylvania, Southampton and Sussex  and the North Carolina counties of Granville, Person, Northampton, Vance and Warren. It is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Chase City with district offices in Gretna, Emporia and Chase City. In addition to safety training for employees, MEC is continuously raising awareness of electrical safety in the communities it serves by performing demonstrations at local schools, for emergency response teams and at community events.





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