Deer Creek Station reaches safety milestone

Safety has always been a top priority at Basin Electric. The Deer Creek Station team, located in Brookings, South Dakota, recently reached a safety milestone of 3,500 days without a safety incident, or DART (a safety metric mandated by OSHA meaning days away, restricted, or transferred).

Several factors have contributed to Deer Creek’s safety success.

“I think good communication and the relatively small staff are factors that have contributed to Deer Creek’s safety record,” said Terry Ackerman, Basin Electric superintendent of South Dakota operations. “We have a meeting with the entire staff first thing every morning to review work activities for the day and to discuss any operational or safety concerns. Everyone is on the same page with respect to what will be happening that day.”

The Deer Creek team celebrated their achievement with a safety lunch, including a cake made especially for the  occasion.

Both of Deer Creek’s site supervisors have been at the plant since construction and have a lot of credibility with the team. “That creates an environment where people feel comfortable bringing safety concerns forward, and equally important is that they feel comfortable making suggestions on how we can make Deer Creek a safer plant. No one knows the plant better than they do, and their suggestions on how to perform jobs more safely or modifications that enhance safety are critical,” Ackerman said.

Deer Creek Station has built a solid foundation of safety, so now the challenge is to not become complacent.

“Safety isn’t something that just happens,” Ackerman said. “It takes effort by the Deer Creek Station employees every day. It also requires the support of our safety coordinator and off-site management to send the message that Basin Electric really is committed to a safe workplace; it’s not just something we say.”

All other distributed generation locations are working hard to maintain a safe work environment as well. Culbertson Generation Station, Spirit Mound Station, and Wyoming Distributed Generation have all reached more than 3,000 days without a safety incident.