Reaching 750,000 personnel hours without a lost-time accident is a huge accomplishment worth recognizing. Considering the potential hazards that BARC employees face daily, this milestone was hard-earned. In Virginia, a lost-time accident occurs when an employee is injured on the job, preventing him or her from returning to work within a seven-day period. It has been 4 1/2 years since the last major injury restarted that clock. 

With support from the board of directors, and BARC management, safety has become a company value held to the highest standard. This achievement certainly attests to that.

Whether it’s climbing a pole after during an outage, plowing fiber into rocky ground, or preventing a co-worker from slipping on an icy sidewalk, all BARC employees have equally participated in successfully maintaining a culture of safety. 

“Here at BARC Electric, we work hard to ensure we foster a culture to make safety a priority, and an achievement like this for our cooperative just shows the dedication we are realizing from all the employees,” says COO Chris Botulinski. “In my three years at BARC, I have seen a significant change in employee engagement during safety meetings. For the outdoor operations teams specifically, there is open discussion about near-misses without fear of reprisal.”

Botulinski believes that is a major contributing factor to BARC’s continued success in maintaining the “safety-first” work culture. He attributes that success to the co-op’s board of directors being actively engaged and supportive of the safety-first culture. Personnel has responded positively knowing the board of directors and management support everything needed to keep everyone safe. 

“While 750,000 hours is a wonderful achievement,” Botulinski continues, “we will not sit on our laurels and be satisfied with it. We are on a mission to constantly improve how we work and to keep everyone safe while performing our duties.”

–Report by Amanda Cunningham, Marketing and Communications Coordinator, BARC Electric Cooperative.