Case Study

Optimizing a Vegetation Management Assessment Qualification Program for Contractors

Combined Utility

The Situation

Our client, one of North America’s largest combined utilities, had a heightened awareness of the proximity of vegetation near powerlines due to significant wildfire events. Examining vegetation management practices identified inefficient work processes, safety incidents, and overall performance issues.

The utility does not conduct training for the 5,000+ contract workers responsible for evaluating, cutting, and removing trees around the electric system. However, to mitigate risk and restore community trust, the utility’s leadership decided to rehabilitate the current assessment program to ensure consistency and defensibility and align it with broader business and regulatory objectives.


Mosaic Offers a Solution

Mosaic evaluated the existing assessment program and created a roadmap to optimize competency-based assessments, onboarding, procedures, qualifications, and governance.

  • Competency-based Assessments: We identified the critical steps for 19 tree crew job tasks and 12 pre-inspector tasks based on the level of risk and policy governance and provided clear criteria to be met and intentional scripting and prompting to increase consistency and establish an objective standard for assessing critical skills.
  • Onboarding: We created a series of online micro-learnings covering safety regulations and company policies that will be covered in the assessments to support a heavily bilingual workforce, increase pass rates on the assessments, and improve safety in the field.
  • Procedures: We built a strategy for the development and sustainability of the utility’s procedures and safe work practices to tighten gaps around accessibility and development and set a benchmark for process mapping, roles and responsibilities, defensibility, and sustainability.
  • Qualifications: The utility uses ITS cards that provide safety observers and crew leads with real-time data regarding a worker’s qualifications for various types of work based on the successful completion of assessments.
  • Governance: Mosaic advised on program-level planning and governance to successfully execute a significant increase in assessment volume (5,000 contractors in one year) while adjusting to shifting priorities and addressing challenges as they arise.

One of the unique aspects of this program is the utility’s collaboration with the union. The union provides training, and the utility delivers its own assessments. However, the two are aligned to ensure that employees and contractors who receive training are equipped with the job experiences to pass assessments. This unique partnership creates a compelling vision for an industry standard for the onboarding, management, and oversight of a highly specialized and critical contract workforce.