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News Releases : OPPD sets new safety record; progress shared with board

Safety of the public and employees is paramount to Omaha Public Power District, and 2018 proved to be the safest year on record for the utility in terms of employee injuries.

The latest data was shared with the OPPD Board of Directors during their committee meetings this week as part of a monitoring report on Strategic Directive 6 (SD-6), which states that “OPPD shall be recognized as a leader in employee safety and ensure the safety of the public.” The directive sets a long-term goal to improve safety results.

Among the key findings from 2018 (as compared with 2017):

  • 21 percent drop in incidents requiring medical attention beyond first aid (from 29 to 23)
  • 42 percent reduction in incidents resulting in days away from work, restricted or transferred duty (from 19 to 11)
  • 38 percent reduction in preventable vehicle accidents (from 13 to 8)

“The men and women of OPPD did a fantastic job focusing on safety in 2018, and they need to be recognized for that,” said Kevin McCormick, director of Safety & Technical Training for the district.

McCormick also noted that employees and managers are more aware of potential hazards, and their reporting of these issues has increased greatly. He said all of these strides show mutual trust between workers in the field and their leadership.

In addition, OPPD is in the process of creating its own, additional safety index to measure performance, McCormick said. “We will include more detailed criteria, taking into account factors like leading and lagging indicators and other risk-related items such as fatigue.”

By gathering more predictive data, OPPD aims to continue to prevent injuries.

“We’re leading the way on this,” said McCormick. “Our criteria are strict, because they need to be.”

OPPD President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Burke said, “We provide a critical service to our communities. And many of our employees have an inherently dangerous job, even putting their lives at risk.

“We want them to come home at the end of the day, and to come home injury-free.”

At today’s monthly board meeting, directors accepted the monitoring report for SD-6, finding the district to be sufficiently in compliance with the policy.

OPPD has been recognized for its dedication to safety, receiving a designation among Nebraska’s Safest Companies by the Nebraska Safety Council, as well as receiving third place in the American Public Power Association’s 2017 Electric Utility Safety Award of Excellence.

New board members, officers elected

The Board welcomed three new members this month.

Amanda Bogner was elected to a two-year term, serving Subdivision 1 in Douglas County. She will serve the remainder of a six-year term originally held by Richard Hurley. Hurley died in September 2017. Mark Treinen was then appointed by Governor Pete Ricketts to fill the role until the next general election.

Eric Williams was elected to a six-year term to serve Subdivision 6 in Douglas County.

Janece Mollhoff was elected to a six-year term to serve Subdivision 7, covering portions of Western Douglas County, as well as Saunders, Dodge, Washington, Burt and Colfax Counties.

The board also elected its officers for 2019. Anne McGuire will serve as chair, Craig Moody as vice chair, Tim Gay as treasurer and Rick Yoder as secretary.

Other action

In other actions, directors:

  • Approved the November 2018 Comprehensive Financial and Operating Reports, the December 13, 2018, board meeting minutes, and the January 17, 2019, agenda.
  • Awarded a contract to Thompson Construction, Fremont, Neb., in the amount of $1,118,275, for materials and construction services for substation foundations, ducts and grounding work. This substation project will support load growth and reliability in the Sarpy County area. Construction will take place between February and May 2019.
  • Awarded a contract to Electrical Power Products, Des Moines, Iowa, in the amount of $2,148,890, for the construction of two control buildings related to the Sarpy County substation project referenced above. The pre-assembled buildings will arrive on site in August and October 2019.
  • Authorized OPPD management to negotiate and enter into a contract with PW Power Systems Inc. for engine repair at Sarpy County Station Unit 4A. The engine was inspected in October 2018 and found to have internal blade damage. The work needed is proprietary. As the original equipment manufacturer, PW Power Systems is the best company for the job, with the expertise to complete such repairs expeditiously.
  • Received the president’s monthly utility report. You can view this report after it is posted by visiting

Next meetings

Next month’s board committee meetings will start at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12. The monthly board meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 14, at 4 p.m. Both meetings will take place at OPPD’s Energy Plaza, 444 S. 16th St., Omaha.

The meetings are livestreamed at as part of the district’s commitment to transparency, while making public meetings accessible and convenient for our customer-owners.