National Safety Month: Keeping our Employees and Customers Safe

Each June, the National Safety Council observes National Safety Month to remind Americans the importance of being safe at work, on the road, and in homes and communities. As part of an ongoing commitment to safety, Aqua and Essential Utilities are proud to recognize National Safety Month.

Aqua’s culture of safety

The safety of employees, customers and communities is the foundation of Essentials’ business, and its why the company invests in safety improvements, implements policies and procedures and develops technical training and guidelines for each and every Essential, Aqua and Peoples employee.

Essential has worked to align safety strategies, leverage strengths and experience across the company and standardize safety practices. To learn more about how employees across the company feel about the culture of safety, Essential shared a Safety Culture Survey with all Peoples and Aqua employees and learned first-hand about employee concerns, questions and suggestions. From there, management met with field employees to discuss ideas about new work processes and new tools that could be used to solve safety problems and keep employees safe.

Keeping our Customers Safe

In addition to Aqua’s ongoing efforts to enhance employee safety, the company also prioritizes the safety of customers as it relates to the company’s infrastructure and services.  Aqua recommends keeping the following safety tips in mind when it comes to water and wastewater this summer:

Heat safety

  • As the summer months’ approach, it’s important to understand the impact heat can have on the human body, especially when working outside.
    • As temperatures rise, it becomes harder for the body to maintain a normal temperature, leading to heat-related illness, heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.
    • The keys to preventing heat stress and heat stroke are:
      • adequately hydrating by drinking cool water regularly
      • taking breaks in the shade or cooler locations
      • being able to recognize the early warning signs of heat-related illness.
  • Staying appropriately hydrated is key to combatting heat-related health problems.
    • During moderate activity, in moderately hot conditions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends that people drink about eight ounces every 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Eat regular meals and snacks to replace salt and electrolytes lost through sweating as long as enough water is consumed. Electrolyte replacing sports drinks are usually not necessary, unless in the heat and sweating for an extended period of time.
  • Reminder: alcohol and caffeine both increase risk of dehydration. Consuming soda or alcoholic drinks after a long day of heat exposure do not help a person to rehydrate.

Hurricane season

  • June marks the beginning of hurricane season, so it’s important to be prepared for emergency hurricane conditions and consult the National Hurricane Center to monitor for any weather events.
  • Sign up for Aqua’s WaterSmart alerts, an automated service designed for quick, reliable communication about water quality and service in case of disruption. Aqua’s WaterSmart alerts are delivered by phone, text or email.
  • Before a storm, save water for essential use by filling empty pitchers and pots — even bathtubs can be used to store water in case service is interrupted.
  • If customers are under a boil water advisory after Aqua restores service, disinfect tap water by boiling it.
    • Purify all water that could be ingested—through uses such as drinking, cooking, brushing teeth or making ice—by bringing it to a rolling boil for two minutes and letting it cool.
    • It is better that young infants and pregnant women use bottled or stored water instead of boiled tap water whenever possible for drinking and cooking until the boil water advisory is lifted.

Safe Digging

  • Before doing any digging, whether at work or at your home, call 811 at least three days before you dig.
    • 811 is the national call-before-you-dig phone number.
    • All utility companies will be notified of your planned work and will mark the location of any underground lines.
    • Respect the markings and excavate with due care and be sure to report any and all damage to pipelines, line markers, locator wires or warning tape to the appropriate utility.
  • You should notify 811 before you perform any of the following activities:
    • Install a fence, mailbox, yard sign, flagpole or pole for a basketball hoop.
    • Install a deck, porch, patio, swimming pool or garage.
    • Install a sprinkler system, pet perimeter fence, septic tank, leach bed or sand mound.
    • Plant trees or bushes.