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The backdrop at the Gabis Arboretum was ideal for the two-day UAA Safety Summit July 20 and 21 in Valparaiso, Indiana.

“This event was unique from others in the past because this was the first time we hosted it outdoors at an arboretum,” says T.K. Christie, Director of MW Distribution Vegetation Management at Duke Energy. “More than 100 people joined us this year and I heard great feedback on the presentations and speakers. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.”

The Indiana summit is one of four annual safety events presented by the UAA across the U.S., each designed to help organizations develop an enhanced culture of safety and curb hazardous outcomes in the field.

“It is extremely important for the utility forestry employees to attend safety summits,” says Chad Tinkel, Regional Forestry Supervisor at Michigan Indiana Power. “The forestry industry is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world. We deal with electricity, which is a silent killer. The summits focus on field personnel that actually live the work each and every day.  They come to the sessions and take what they learn back into the field and share with their co-workers.”

From chipper safety, traffic control, tree risk assessment to roping and rigging, attendees found the content relevant to what’s happening in the industry. Hector Hernandez’s presentation on Dogs and Customer De-escalation techniques was among the most popular events.

John Stout, a Manager of Vegetation Management at Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) noted the unique relationship between the sponsors for making the summit a success.

“NIPSCO, Duke Energy and Michigan Indiana Power forged a relationship between the three utilities to make this available for all of our contractors out there,” Stout says. “That really shows where the industry is going and the commitment that we have to focus on the safety of workers out there.

“I was standing around and talking to people as they were leaving,” Stout adds. “They were pleased with the topics and the depth of focus that was provided to them. I love it when the most frequently asked question is where is the next one going to be?”

The UAA Safety Summit at Graver Arboretum in Bath, Pennsylvania is scheduled for Sept 29-30, 2021. Registration ends September 15, so be sure to sign up today!

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