Ergon principal community safety specialist Glen ‘Cookie’ Cook’s leadership and dedication to promoting powerline safety has been recognised with a national award.
Cookie was recently named the Health and Safety Professional of the Year at the 2020 Australian Workplace Health and Safety Awards, in recognition of his passionate approach to a lifesaving cause.
“I have seen these awful events unfold and been the first responder to numerous powerline safety incidents where people have been hurt and killed, so it really does give me a lot of passion to get out there and try and stop these incidents from occurring.
“I work on the protection motivation theory. People have got to understand that powerlines are dangerous, they’ve got to have a fear of that hazard plus feelings of self-worth to get home to their friends and family safely, but also something where they can easily change their behaviour and that’s how we’ve come up with the Look Up and Live application,” Cookie said.
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The powerline safety mapping tool at lookupandlive.com.au is also an award winner, named ‘best solution to an identified electrical issue’ at the Queensland Safe Work Awards last year.
Cookie and his colleagues in Ergon’s Community Safety team were the driving force behind the development of the lifesaving application.
“It’s an interactive, self-serve safety tool that shows the location of overhead powerlines, so you can identify risks and hazards well before you start work, especially if you’re in a high-risk industry like agriculture, construction or aviation,” he said.
“Anyone with a mobile phone or any device can access lookupandlive.com.au, which has printable maps for site inductions and quick links to request free safety advice or powerline markers.”
An electrician by trade, Cookie has made it his business to understand the way the industries he’s supporting operate so he can provide practical, effective safety advice.
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“When I moved into the safety role, I realised I needed to understand what farmers and builders and plumbers were up against and find some common ground,” he said.
“I’m very much an advocate for the working community, understanding what it is they need and making it easier for people to get information and change their behaviour so they’re planning ahead and working safely around powerlines.
“The feedback we’re getting from workers in those high-risk industries shows that they’re getting the message.”
For Cookie, whose home base is Hervey Bay, the national recognition is an opportunity to share his powerful message with an even bigger audience.
“I’d like to promote powerline safety and the lookupandlive.com.au tool on the national stage, if not worldwide, and raise people’s awareness about how dangerous powerlines can actually be if you’re working close to them.
“At the end of the day, it’s about saving lives.”