Commitment to Zero Contacts Phase Two

Studies show serious injuries and fatalities happen most often because short cuts are taken with life-saving rules. This happens consistently in most industries – including the electric cooperative network. Unfortunately, the serious injuries and fatalities occur most often on simple, routine jobs.

This requires us to take a serious look in the mirror.

In 2018, NRECA, Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange and statewide safety leaders partnered to introduce the Commitment to Zero Contacts initiative. This initiative provided cooperative CEOs, senior leaders and field personnel with ideas and resources to help them reduce the chance of serious injuries and fatalities (SIFs) due to electrical contact and to enhance cooperative safety efforts.

This first phase was a one-time recommitment to the life-saving rules (LSRs) that cooperatives use in their day-to-day operations. The goal was for cooperative leaders and field employees to reflect on their personal use of the LSRs to help motivate a shift in behavior to eliminate shortcuts if needed. Since that time, hundreds of managers of electric cooperatives and public power districts have made the voluntary re-commitment to the initiatives goals and thousands of cooperative employees have downloaded the available safety resources.

Phase Two: Assess Your Cooperative’s Operational and Safety Practices

In the second phase of this initiative, we have refined the initial Commitment to Zero approach by working directly with operational department leaders and their teams to review current work practices using a hands-on approach incorporating employee input, facilitation and two-way discussion. The purpose is to better understand actual work practices, create local ownership and to create a plan to minimize future risk as needed.

Initiative Objectives

  • Focus approach on a “deeper dive” to further understand actual work practices
  • Align an understanding of the greatest risks from honest employee feedback
  • Create local ownership for improvement
  • Align crew leader support for future improvement in a summary plan in a safety improvement plan

While the Commitment to Zero Contacts initiative is not part of the Rural Electric Safety Achievement Plan (RESAP) process, the initiative will help enhance RESAP participation and can be valuable input into the cooperative’s safety improvement plan. There is no requirement to be in RESAP to be part of this process.

Implementation Timeline

Interested cooperatives can begin volunteering to participate by filling out the interest form on Once you complete the form, follow up with Jon Elkins.