COG Awards 2020: Jody Kiser - Safety

When Jody Kiser says he was “shocked,” no one needs to worry that the Electric employee had a mishap on the job. Kiser says he was shocked that he won the City’s Safety Award because, as he puts it, “there are plenty of deserving employees at the City for this award.”

Jody Kiser groupLeft to right: Joe Albright, Jody Kiser, Dana Williams, Todd CarpenterKiser is a Utilities Crew Supervisor for the Electric Division, working with high-voltage electricity. He has worked for the City for 25 years. Those who nominated him for the Safety Award say that Kiser leads by example, influencing both new line workers and experienced linemen.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, electric line work is among the ten most-dangerous professions, and Kiser admits safety is a big part of his job. “I try and relate safety things that happened to me or to coworkers in the thirty-plus years of doing line work,” Kiser says. “It seems to stick in their head when you give them a real-life situation.”

The award nomination says that Kiser’s cautious and safe work behaviors are proof of the strong safety culture that he teaches. In all types of weather, extreme temperatures, and in the midst of traffic accidents, he proactively ensures that all safety rules, policies and procedures are followed.

Kiser says line work has changed over the decades. The voltages and hazards are the same, but he says new challenges come from personal protective equipment and additional requirements. The nomination says Kiser takes the responsibility of correcting safety issues and properly reporting any problems. According to the nomination, colleagues respect and look up to Kiser because he consistently shows he has each employee’s safety in mind.

For Kiser, the most satisfying parts of his job are the lifelong friendships he has made with his fellow employees and the thanks he receives when his crew restores someone’s power, especially if it’s been off for several days.

The award nomination notes that when working with electricity, one unsafe act can be deadly. Because of Kiser’s strong safety culture, nominators say Kiser’s crew “can go home to their families each day after having completed a very dangerous job.”

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