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Flint Creek Celebrates 3 Million Man-Hour Mark With Awards, Safety Messages

by on April 10, 2018
Ralph Hudson (left) of the Arkansas Department of Labor and Patricia Hart (far right) of the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission, present a plaque to Flint Creek Plant Manager Carl Handley and Industrial Hygiene Consultant Dianna Tomlinson in recognition of the plant’s achievement of 3 million man-hours without a lost-time accident.

(Story by Peter Main)

Flint Creek Power Plant employees recently gathered for a luncheon to celebrate a safety milestone of 3 million man-hours without a lost-time accident.

U.S. Rep. Steve Womack and representatives of the Arkansas Department of Labor and Workers’ Compensation Commission were on hand to salute the accomplishment.

The period covers Oct. 11, 1996, to Dec. 17, 2017. Also, on Oct. 11, 2017, the SWEPCO plant in Northwest Arkansas marked 21 years without a lost-time accident.

More important than you know

“Since 1996 there were a lot of birthday celebrations, graduations, hunting trips, fishing trips, baseball games, basketball games – a lot of good stuff happened in your lives, didn’t they,” said Patricia Hart, Director of Safety and Health for the Arkansas Workers’ Compensation Commission. “And the fact that you worked safely meant that you and your buddies were there with your families to celebrate those events. You are more important to somebody’s life than you know.”

Hart said safety is a journey. “You have to keep going there every single day, bringing your head screwed on straight, and looking out for your buddy, because you know, it is hard to bring your head screwed on straight every single day, isn’t it? Sometimes you have stuff going on in your life. Maybe it’s good stuff. Maybe it’s not so good stuff. But it’s hard to keep focused. That’s when your buddy keeps an eye out for you and lets you know, hey, put your safety glasses on, put your hearing protection in, watch what you’re doing, because it only takes a second. And that’s a second you can’t get back. Because remember … you’re more important than you know to somebody.”

Small things matter

“I can’t think of a better place to emphasize that small things matter,” said Ralph Hudson, Deputy Director, Arkansas Department of Labor. “Every day, second by second, everybody in this room has proven since 1996, 3 million man-hours, that you understood the fundamental principle that small things matter. Doing the right things, doing it the way you’re supposed to do it …”

Maintenance Mechanic Justin Rice (left) and Welder Machinist Chris Gifford place new decals on the sign at the Flint Creek gate when the plant reached 21 years without a lost-time accident in October 2017.

Hudson emphasized three critical points about staying safe. First is keeping yourself and your coworkers safe so you can go home safe to your family. Second is the company and employees understanding the importance of safety for the corporation’s bottom line – so the company can be successful and you can earn a living. Third is goodwill from the involvement of employees in the community. “Your staying healthy and able to assist, either at your church, volunteering at your school, helping out in some way over at Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity – those are all things that you are offering to the community that go away if your life goes away, or you’re debilitated in some way seriously.”

An elite group

“You’re an elite group,” Hudson said. Since 1985-86, only 75 awards have been presented for 3 million man-hours. “You are in a group of 75 organizations in the last 30 years to get that award. It means something to go out there and do the right thing every time,” Hudson said. For perspective, today there are 72,000 companies doing business in Arkansas.

Congressman Womack also saluted the accomplishment: “Today I’m here to congratulate you for achieving a rare milestone. You’re in rarified air, 3 million hours. This award has only been given out in our state 75 times. You are in some pretty unique company in achieving this particular milestone.”

Flint Creek Power Plant is a 528-megawatt, coal-fueled facility at Gentry, Ark. Flint Creek is co-owned with Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. (AECC) and operated by SWEPCO.

From → Safety

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