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Hands-on safety skills were put to the test at the June 23-24 Safety Summit at Clifty Falls State Park, in Madison, Indiana.

A chainsaw activity with balloons demonstrated how to use the proper muscles and safely hold the equipment.

“The volunteers wrote what is most important to them, or what they love, on the balloons,” says Susan Roberts, UAA Outreach & Marketing Manager, who watched the presentation. “One person used a single arm to hold the chain saw, which does not provide enough stability, while the other volunteer gripped it with both arms. The single hold always popped the balloon. It was a lesson about not taking shortcuts with equipment if you want to go home to the people and things you love.”

In a controlled lab setting of a mobile classroom, professionals used a hot dog to represent a human being and show how electricity travels on the inside of the body. Crews always have a rope or a branch accessible to them in these live wire situations and can use them to test power line safety.

“(The Safety Summit is) good experience in learning what crews go through,” says Channon Brown of Environmental Consultants, Inc. “We don’t get to see that side of the process on a daily basis.”

Brown’s colleague Tara Tucker adds, “It keeps us in touch with the new technology and gear available. We need to know the proper way they should be used for coaching foremen in the field.”

The June 22-23 Safety Summit at Heathman Lodge in Vancouver, Washington included an outdoor testing demonstration where trees made contact with transmission line voltages.

“The Vancouver summit brought in 77 people, which is designed to be the most effective attendance for presentations and breakout sessions,” says Dennis Fallon, UAA executive director. “There were no more than 15 to 20 people in a discussion group, which allowed for frank and honest conversation about safety and brought the topic to an even level.”

Ergonomic sessions on the proper way to hold tools and how to stretch and exercise to relieve stress, in addition to reviewing fundamentals to curb injuries and fatalities were also popular among attendees.

“For me, it’s all about staying on top of new techniques that are developing in specialties,” says Chad Griggs of American Electric Power. “For example, I’m not a climber but I work with climbers and need to be familiar with the latest climbing systems and resources to stay connected to the trends.”

Jeff Hagfors of Duke Energy adds, “It’s important to me to keep up with new tools, new information and new techniques. I get to see old friends and make new friends.”