The Electrical Worker online
March 2018

From the Officers
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Safety: Job No. 1

One reason I'm proud to serve as International President is our leading role in making the electrical industry safer. Safety was one of the primary motivations for Henry Miller and our founders when they conceived of this great union in 1891, and it's an enormous part of our success to this day.

In this issue of The Electrical Worker, you'll read about how the IBEW worked with our partner Aldridge Electric, a signatory contractor based in Libertyville, Ill., to develop safety training trailers that will travel North America teaching our members how to work safer and more efficiently underground.

Manhole work remains some of the most dangerous work we do, but the demand for this kind of work continues to rise.

The result is that more and more linemen are performing underground work, and that means that the IBEW and our partners need to adapt, to keep up with industry changes.

We've always been on the cutting edge of the industry and technology — whether it was Henry Miller climbing a telegraph pole or members of Lansing, Mich., Local 665 building a nuclear particle accelerator.

But it's fitting that "S" is the first letter in "SPARQ," the acronym embodying our Code of Excellence, because safety has always been priority No. 1 at the IBEW.

There is absolutely nothing more important to the officers, the members and the families of the IBEW than making sure each and every one of you comes home safe at the end of a workday. It's why we invest in the best, most up-to-date training and why we hold every member, every employer, every government official accountable for the decisions that affect your well-being.

Every day, I want you to ask yourself, "What can I do to make my job safer? What can I do to ensure that my co-workers and IBEW brothers and sisters are as safe as they can be on the job?"

Alan Aldridge and the leaders at Aldridge Electric did that when they decided to take an idea for better underground training and run with it. We're proud to have been part of their project, and I hope those of you who perform this sort of work take advantage when the training trailers come to your area.

But we can all do more. Because of your union, you can speak up when you're asked to do something that makes you feel unsafe. You can be a part of the solution, knowing that you're protected by your union contract.

It takes all of us, looking out for ourselves and for one another, to create a true culture of safety. I'm lucky to have each one of you as partners in that effort.


Also: Cooper: Voting Matters Read Cooper's Column

Lonnie R. Stephenson

Lonnie R. Stephenson
International President