Employee Invention Enhances Safety in the Workplace
RICHMOND, Va., May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Inventors don't always walk around in lab coats; at Dominion, they might wear hard hats, drive bucket trucks, construct pipelines, or develop databases.
"The energy and utility industries are going through a period of rapid change," said Mary Doswell, senior vice president-Alternative Energy Solutions at Dominion. "New technologies and new ways of doing business are emerging in all areas. Dominion must be at the forefront because a company that fails to innovate will be left behind."
In March, Dominion (NYSE:D), licensed a unique type of electrical fitting that enhances the safety of equipment exposed to dust in a variety of environments, thanks to the innovation of employee Kenneth Sykes, a power generation engineer based in Richmond.
"Safety is always our top concern at Dominion, so we are constantly challenged to look for ways to make our jobs safer," said Sykes. "I originally came up with this idea after hearing about food processing plants and the risks to those plants from combustible dust. It's very rewarding to have developed a product that will protect the electrical junction boxes from dust in our power stations, eliminating a risk before it ever becomes a problem."
The product was developed and refined through Dominion's IDeAS program (Innovations, Developments and Solutions). Developed in 2013, the program was designed to encourage, support, and protect employee innovations. Ideas submitted by employees run the gamut from safety devices and software to training and more. Where possible, these innovations are developed into viable commercial offerings and business opportunities.
Because of the product's versatility, use of the fitting eventually will expand to other industries, such as chemical processing, marine and paper industries.
Dominion is one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 24,600 megawatts of generation, 12,200 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline, and 6,455 miles of electric transmission lines. Dominion operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 928 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves utility and retail energy customers in 13 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company's website at www.dom.com/.