Santee Cooper has earned the American Public Power Association’s Safety Award of Excellence for safe operating practices in 2012.

The state-owned utility based in Moncks Corner earned a first place award in the category for large utilities, with 1 million to 3.99 million worker-hours of annual worker exposure.

“We are extremely pleased and proud to have earned APPA’s Safety Award for Excellence,” said Glen Brown, vice president of human resource management. “Santee Cooper considers safety for our employees, customers and the public as a No. 1 priority. This award is a testament to our employees’ dedication to having a safe working environment.”

The APPA award was presented today to Santee Cooper by Bob Rumbaugh, chair of the APPA Safety Committee, during the association’s annual Engineering & Operations Technical Conference, in Kissimmee, Fla.

“Keeping utility staff and customers safe should be every utility’s top priority,” Rumbaugh said.

More than 280 utilities entered the annual contest, which is the highest number of entrants in the contest’s history. Entrants were placed in categories according to their number of worker hours and judged for the most incident-free records during 2012. The incidence rate, which is used to judge contest entries, is based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses and the number of worker-hours during 2012, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The Safety Awards have been held annually for the past 53 years. APPA is the national organization representing more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community- and state- owned electric utilities.