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Five Tips for Field Technicians


Author: Bob Crowley, Director of Business Development at Power Grid Engineering

The power transmission and generation industry is ever changing with technological advances and new developments evolving at rapid speeds. Arising pressures from the public and regulatory agencies have concurrently expanded. This demand for more generation with minimal outages and misoperations has increased governance imposed on all field and utility workers.

Failure to comply with standards such as NERC and CIP can result in contractors being removed from a utility’s system. Our work is not only critical, but necessary to everyday lives and even the slightest error can cause far-reaching consequences.

As someone with more than 38 years of experience, with 19 spent on the field, I write to share the importance of not only the industry, but of the workers on the frontlines. Our field technicians work hard each and every day to ensure all regulations and expectations are met to safely keep the power on. The increased utility workload has demanded more from contractors, applying elevated pressure to ensure excellent, quality work for their customers.

We all know outages can happen, and most times it is out of our control. Causes can be due to weather, wildlife or varying unplanned events. While outages are inevitable, the importance of maintaining the system while preparing it for such instances, is crucial. System upkeep is equally fundamental to restoring power after an occurrence.

While each utility or team may have its own set of Human Performance and safety practices, I’d like to share these five tips that have worked especially well for us at Power Grid Engineering:

Never Believe It Is Someone Else’s Job

Always be sure to not only complete your tasks, but ensure that all checklists have been reviewed. Every diagram is followed, and every breaker, ratio and bushing are checked. Missing something small and lacking ownership, can often cause an error.

Peer Check

Review your lists with another team member in person to avoid miscommunication. Assuring that everyone on the team is on the same page, is critical to avoiding a misoperation.

Testing & Return to Service Plans

Be sure to review and implement detailed testing and return to service plans. Additionally, have them reviewed and tested by the team. Having a plan in place is vital in an emergency.

Perform Frequent Task Hazard Analysis

Task hazard analyses are an important element and were created to help you get started for review. Always maintain the THA’s and perform them as frequently as you can.

Actively Care Enough to Intervene

If you notice Human Performance or safety procedures not being followed, don’t hesitate to vocalize it! More often than not, an error can occur because someone was afraid to correct someone else. Even as a junior technician, you are just as responsible to speak up as a lead.

At Power Grid Engineering, our commitment to quality, reliability and safety is shown through our work and practices on and off the field, every single day. We especially value the unwavering performance of our field teams across the nation. We appreciate the due diligence they apply in ensuring the power stays on for people everywhere.

While it is an evolving industry and a lot will continue to change, our passion to help and restore our communities will remain for years to come. As a frontline responder, know that the work you do helps keep businesses and communities running smoothly.

To learn more about Power Grid Engineering’s Human Performance, Safety and Quality programs, visit our website at We’re always looking for talent willing to go above and beyond to serve their communities. To explore opportunities with us, visit