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Safety News December 2016

Thursday, December 15, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Lisa Anderson
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Can You Keep the Plates Spinning?

Once I was working with our SCADA guy on fixing a few problems with our PLC panel.  We needed to test the signal strength of one of the components was had been affected by a power surge.  So we connected two pieces of 1/2-inch conduit together and then taped an antenna to the top and held it up in the air with the cable connected.  As I struggled to keep the conduit balanced and stable so the signal could link up, I felt like the guy who spins the plates in a circus act.   Well, after 15 minutes of my wobbling grip the SCADA guy decided that that wasn't the problem and pulled more components out of the panel and replaced them with new ones and then we had success.

The point of my story is that we have lots of pieces that need to work perfectly every day, and when they don't it screws up so many other things that are dependent on each other.  SCADA is just one example of that.  The real problem arises as we feel pressed to react to a situation rather than to act on it.  What I mean is, are we just jumping into our trucks and speeding away from the shop to fix the problem?  Have we taken enough time to make the right phone calls and gather all the supplies we might need?  What about the tools we may need--are they with us or stored at the shop because we don't use them very often?

I once got pulled over for speeding.  I was trying to get help to another water company that had a leak and were quickly losing their water storage.  I thought my emergency justified speeding, but the officer didn't see it like that.  He gave me a citation.

So this is the message: Slow down, breath, think it through, make your plan, get your tools, and then act.   

You will find this is the safest and fastest way to get to, and then fix, a problem.

Bob Phippen
Safety Committee Member
Bear River Water Conservancy District

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