Annual competency week training underway

Archive photo of last year’s competency week training on heavy equipment; 175 employees will complete the intensive four days of training this winter.

Archive photo of last year’s competency week training on heavy equipment; 175 employees will complete the intensive four days of training this winter.

A total of 175 Tri-State employees from project field support and the transmission maintenance groups will devote the better part of a week this winter sharpening their skills during the third annual competency week training sessions that are being held in each of the association’s East, West and Southern transmission maintenance regions.

The first of the four-day sessions kicked off during the week of Jan. 14 in Sidney, Neb., for the G&T’s 16 members of the project field support group, who, as part of transmission engineering, are engaged in a wide range of construction activities throughout Tri-State’s four-state transmission system.

The transmission maintenance group’s competency week classes begin in Rio Rancho, N.M., during the week of Feb. 4, then shift to Montrose, Colo., for two one-week sessions during the weeks of Feb. 18 and Feb. 25, before wrapping up with two back-to-back sessions in Sidney during the weeks of March 11 and March 18.

Among the classes and instruction that are on this year’s training agenda are buddy bucket rescue, defensive driving, hot stick training, classes in confined space and snow cat awareness, fire extinguisher simulations and a refresher course for first aid procedures.

Archive photo of aerial bucket rescue training. This year’s competency week sessions wrap up in Sidney, Neb., the week of March 18.

Archive photo of aerial bucket rescue training. This year’s competency week sessions wrap up in Sidney, Neb., the week of March 18.

Wayne Martin, trainer coordinator and organizer of the competency week event, explained that each year the training department looks for ways to make improvements that will make the most of the valuable time these field employees spend away from their jobs for training.

“This year we moved up competency week to the first quarter of the year before construction and maintenance activities really start to ramp up in the spring,” Martin said.

Martin also pointed out that while courses are adjusted every year, such as adding a climber certification class for heavy apparatus and substation personnel, there also is the need to respond to incidents, such as recent increases in vehicle accidents. “We hope that adding the defensive driving course will improve our vehicle safety record,” he said.

Staffing of the courses is handled by six Tri-State instructors. From the safety group, Andy Flageolle, Jim Hobbs and George Lawrence are holding classes, while Clint White, Marty Burrier and Jerry Marrs from transmission maintenance are also teaching some of the courses. Several contract instructors also were brought in to assist in staffing and to provide specialized instruction in defensive driving, CAD welding and skid-steer training.

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