Electrical Safety Newsletter
Hey, it's Jon (the co-founder of LES):
So glad you've stopped by to read this page.
Ever wonder how a business is born?
Well, if you think that I'm going to tell you about my great great grandfather starting the business in his woodshed and passing down through the generations…
I had taken the elevator before…
But never one that dropped 3000 feet into the earth.
Underground mining was very different than anything I imagined getting involved in as an electrical engineer.
But here I was, about an hour's drive away from the mine shaft staring at the electrical panel of an enormous mining machine.
"Ever hear of arc flash before?" asked my boss.
"Nope." was all I had to say.
"Well… not sure if anyone told you, but you're our new expert"…
And so, with that, my journey began.
I had been struggling to find any good information on arc flash and electrical safety.
No one in the office really knew anything about it, and neither did any of the crew.
I felt like I was all alone.
And that's when I found out the news…
There had been a new standard released that focused specifically on workplace electrical safety.
Finally, my problems were solved!
Except, they were not solved… in fact they might have gotten worse.
After reading through the standard over and over, it seemed there was no practical way we could implement these ideas.
Especially in the mining world.
It was not going to happen.
I had no idea what to do… I needed a breakthrough.
My colleagues were attending a local safety conference and suggested I tag along.
I decided it was a good idea.
It turned out to be a great idea.
The conference changed everything for me.
One of the speakers was their discussing electrical safety and introduced two concepts to me that have stayed to this very day:
You must separate the risk from the hazard; and
It's either a yes or a no (what he called Boolean safety)
That was it.
Now I could see clearly what others could not.
I rushed back to my office and started working on what would later become a corporate safety policy for electrical safety (that actually worked).
By this time our small division had a working electrical safety program.
But the corporation was lagging behind.
I was invited to the first of many electrical safety committee meetings (along with two of our electrical supervisors who helped me immensely over the years).
We flew halfway across the country and spent three days listening to arguments which seemed to be going in circles.
The 2-second rule…
Normal operating conditions…
The 40-cal rule…
We heard them all, and around and around they went.
Until finally one of my co-workers spoke up.
"You know we've had most of this figured out for years already, right?"
Victor joins the fray.
The electrical safety committee was running strong.
Our industry was booming.
I had moved into a new role as project manager, and we were hiring.
This is when I met Victor (the other co-founder of Leaf Electrical Safety).
I had been brought along for the interview process because of my background in electrical.
It didn't take long for me to figure out that Victor knew more than I did in this field.
Which also made him an ideal candidate to take my place on the corporate committee…
Victor could start digging into the electrical safety issues I was never able to figure out and I could focus on a new project.
Victor and I worked as quite a team.
Our division had the best safety record in the company and the other sites looked to us for guidance.
We found ourselves headed West again, but this time it was not for an electrical safety meeting.
This time we were asked to take part in a seminar called managing things leading people with Dennis Shackle.
On the flight out we had our first discussion of building something bigger.
Spending a week with Dennis changed our perspective on everything.
By the time we flew home, we knew that our lives would never be the same.
It had been three years since that eventful week out West.
I was sitting on the beach during a family vacation to Sanibel Island when I was struck with a thought.
Victor and I should start a business.
Nothing crazy, just a little "side hustle" as Gary Vaynerchuk would call it, but it would be a start.
On January 16th I was back in the office and mentioned the idea to Victor.
He immediately accepted, we shook hands and agreed to start laying out plans later that week.
Then, within an hour, we received an email with a subject line that read: "Mandatory meeting, all staff and hourly, 7 am
The next morning, along with 500 others, we were told to grab our things and leave. The mine was closing down.
Victor and I looked at each in disbelief, but we both knew what the other was thinking.
We had better get started…
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