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Dog Bite Prevention Training Keeps ComEd Meter Readers On The Job

Armen Hareyan's picture

Dog Bite Prevention

ComEd meter readers have seen a dramatic 90 percent decrease in the number of dog bites as a result of improved safety policies and the type of training meter readers received this week from leading experts in dog bite prevention.

The number of dog bites to ComEd meter readers has steadily dropped since 1998, when 125 incidents occurred. In 2006, the number fell to just 12. Dogs are the most prevalent hazard meter readers face. Some readers may see more than 100 dogs on their route in a single day.

"This safety achievement is a big benefit for our meter readers and customers," said Bill Neutz, ComEd meter reading manager. "The emphasis on safety protects our meter readers so they can return home safely each day. As a result of the reduced number of incidents, our meter readers can accurately read more meters in a timely fashion. Meter reading is the first step in a series of activities that support accurate and timely billing. We also keep our costs as low as possible as a result of minimizing injuries and lost time in the field."

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Meter readers throughout ComEd's service territory receive annual dog bite prevention training from experts in the field. Training sessions were held this week in Chicago, Joliet, Oak Brook, and Rockford. The training included live dog attack demonstrations to show meter readers what to do when a dog attacks. More importantly, meter readers were taught how to avoid attacks, what makes dogs aggressive, and how to use certain protective devices such as dog spray and an umbrella. When an umbrella is opened, it causes most dogs to pause, and it provides a safe zone between the dog and the meter reader.

New safety policies that ComEd has instituted since 1998 include making an umbrella required meter reading equipment and asking meter readers not to enter a property where a dog is outside, either leashed or unleashed. If meter readers see a dog outside while trying to read a meter, an attempt will be made to get the owner to bring the pet inside.

"Customers will provide a benefit to themselves and our meter readers if they have their dogs inside when we attempt to read the meters," Neutz said. "We won't read the meter if the dog is outside."

The safety record for ComEd's meter readers is among the best in the nation. The department's low number of lost-time incidents in 2006 placed it among the top 10 percent in the country when compared to other utilities.