The foundation for our safety culture is built upon guiding statements, most notably called safety rules. Yet, statements won’t make a person safe if they are not engaged, held accountable and have clear understanding. Therefore, with this direction, the MREA Safety and Loss Control Steering Committee determined a set of Basic Life-Saving Rules and Expected Safe Work Practices.

Basic Life-Saving Rules – A listing of 24 safety rules that an employee can commit to follow, producing accountability and engagement. To download this document, select here: Life-Saving Rules

Expected Safe Work Practices – A compilation of numerous activities and their expected mode of operation. The three groups that have access to these documents in pdf format include the Human Resources, Line Superintendents, and CEOs. Select the following link to download the documents from your password protected Member Community Group:
Human Resources Member Community
Line Superintendents Member Community
CEO’s Member Community

To edit the documents, call the MREA Safety & Loss Control Coordinator at (763) 424-7249 for the files formatted in Word.


Learn why this new approach to safety rules was developed as you read below.

What’s wrong with the current safety manual?

  • Some statements in the manual are too general, in nature.
  • Asking an employee to “sign off” on 79 pages of rules is overwhelming for the employee.
  • We also ask employees to sign off on rules they don’t know – an office employee signing the manual that includes pole top rescue actions?!
  • Can we truly say we hold our employees accountable to ALL of the statements? And, if we don’t, then are we sending the message that it is “OK” to NOT follow all of the rules.
  • It makes it difficult to enforce the rules and/or apply discipline, as well. For example – Ladders shall be visually inspected before each use. So, what do you do if you see an employee grab a ladder and climb on it without inspecting it? Do they get a letter in their file? Probably not. So, why would another employee receive a letter in their file if they violated a different rule?

What can we do?

  • Establish a set of basic life-saving rules that are critical to safe practices. This set will carry the “true” weight of a “rule.” Employees will be asked to abide by these rules or risk consequences for infractions.
  • Move the rest of the current rules into a new format called Expected Safe Work Practices. Hold employees accountable by expecting them to perform their job according to these practices. Yet, also acknowledge that some jobs may require a deviation from the practice. We will allow employees to deviate from the expected safe work practice through a conscious and calculated evaluation of the risk associated with the deviation.

I’m not sure if I understand?

Here is an example we can all relate to – our state driving laws. Did you go 55 mph today when driving to work? Or, did you go 57, 59, etc.? Most likely, a large percentage of us did not drive exactly 55 mph. So then, let’s ask another question. Did you blow through any stop signs today? Most likely NOT ONE of us did that! In fact, we would not ever think of just driving through all the stops signs on our way to work. So, why do we feel we can “break” the speed limit rule, but we would not ever think about breaking the stop sign rule?

Let’s go back to our rules

Most likely employees are following the majority of the rules all the time. Yet, we know there are some rules where employees have determined they don’t need to be followed 100% of the time – these are your speed zone signs. We also know there are rules that are inherent to the basic safety actions and no employee would EVER think to violate one of those – these are your stop signs.

So you see, you most likely already have this structure in place – rules the employees follow all the time and rules where deviations naturally occur – your stop signs and your speed zones – your rules and your work practices.

So, how do implement this new approach?

For the RULES

  • Establish your own set of basic life-saving rules using the list that has been generated, adding or deleting to it. The point will be to place emphasis on those rules you feel are critical, important and/or life-saving.
  • Adopt them with a “phase-in” period, say 3-6 months, so employees can learn to embrace and follow these rules.
  • At the end of the phase-in period, have employees sign an acknowledgement sheet, and formally implement the rules at that time.


  • Obtain a master set of current safe work practices from MREA and over the course of 6 months, have groups, committees, individuals, etc. review them one at a time.
  • For example, one safe work practice could be reviewed each Monday and discussed.
  • Track the ones reviewed by recording on a log and/or changing the date on the reviewed document.
  • If you would like to make changes to fit your safety actions, simply contact the MREA Safety & Loss Control Dept. for the specific document in Word format.

For Updates

  • Changes to these documents will naturally occur. When a change has been made, notices will be send out and recorded below.
  • To make sure you have the most recent document, always refer to the date noted on the document.