Avista’s Central Safety Council is committed to providing the safest workplace possible and a safe environment for all of our employees, their families and the communities we serve. It reports quarterly to the Energy, Environmental and Operations Committee of Avista’s Board of Directors.
The Central Safety Council’s mission is to act as a forum to provide leadership and direction to the safety efforts; advocate the steps needed to achieve safety goals; coordinate, monitor and focus on safety and prevention, and ensure proper action will be taken to provide a safe and healthy work environment for all our employees.
There are 37 location-specific safety committees and safety chairs throughout Avista’s service territory.
Avista has an active public safety program with elements that cover our electric, gas and hydro facilities. The goal of these programs is to eliminate and reduce public contact with natural gas, electric distribution and hydroelectric facilities that can cause harm to the public. The program includes:
Avista participates in the Common Ground Alliance and is active in the efforts to eliminate and reduce contact with underground gas and electric lines.
We are surrounded by electric and magnetic fields in our daily lives, and we are exposed to these fields in varying intensity all day long. Electric and magnetic fields (EMF) are created by electric transmission and distribution equipment, household wiring, and all electronic devices, including common household appliances.
This makes it important that we understand as much as we can about the possible effects of exposure to electric and magnetic fields. In this environment, we recognize our public obligation to continue to monitor and support EMF health research and proceedings, to lend our resources and support to the collection and distribution of comprehensive information, and to develop responsible public policies related to the issue of EMF.
To help accomplish this, Avista has taken the following measures:
In the event of widespread illness, Avista has a pandemic emergency plan in place that includes work force, community and family assistance elements. The plan was created to provide employees with information, support and policy guidance prior to, during and following a regional pandemic event that impacts our ability to provide services to our communities. Coordinated response procedures are instrumental in effectively maintaining our customer services during a long-term pandemic event.
In addition, employees and families receive education, training, counseling, treatment and prevention/risk control opportunities through the Occupational Health Department and the company health and wellness programs. The company provides an Employee Assistance Program, the Safe Start program which focuses on safety awareness, and a Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA). Onsite work-out facilities are provided in many locations. Avista maintains an on-site clinic in the main office with occupational and safety professionals available to serve all locations.
Avista has the intent and commitment to follow all federal, state and local regulations and compliance programs. We work with our craft representatives to promote safety from the foremen to their crews. The Labor/Management Committee meets quarterly or as needed to address problems and concerns. The union contracts also include grievance and arbitration language to deal with safety concerns or complaints.
Avista is under the jurisdiction of numerous regulatory agencies for employee safety, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Washington Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), Oregon Department of Occupational Safety and Health (OREOSHA), and the Department of Transportation (DOT). Our Safety Handbook includes an accident prevention plan as well as safety rules and practices for the different operating units. In addition, Avista has Standards Manuals that include safe work practices materials and procedures for building our systems.
There are numerous training programs conducted internally and externally as required for employee and contractor safety by OSHA, DOT, DOSH and OREOSHA. A combination of instructor led, third-party and online training programs are used throughout the year to keep employees properly trained and safe.
Avista supplies personal protective equipment for employees for the jobs, including the tools, equipment and machinery required to perform their jobs safely. Ergonomic equipment is used whenever possible to reduce potential injuries. Contractors and sub-contractors are required to follow all regulatory rules and regulations as they relate to personal protective equipment when working on Avista systems.
Other programs that ensure a safe workplace include: