Safety is a serious issue, especially when it comes to electrical safety. For our electric cooperative, it’s the No. 1 priority. This is not empty talk. Over time, we have created a culture of safety by putting our employees’ safety and that of the community—and our members—above all else.
Our mission is to provide safe, affordable and reliable electricity to our member-owners. Our goal is to deliver affordable and reliable electricity to our member-owners, but equally important, we want to return our workers home safely to their loved ones. To do this requires ongoing focus, dedication and vigilance.
Following Safety Standards
Working with electricity is a dangerous job, especially for line workers. Our electric cooperative has a safety team whose focus is keeping employees and the community safe around electricity. We have established and follow safety protocols based on leading national safety practices for the utility industry.
We require our line workers to wear specialized equipment when working next to or with power lines. There are specific protocols that our line workers follow when dealing with electricity. Our safety team has regular meetings where they discuss upcoming projects from a safety perspective. They monitor and track near-misses of accidents in order to understand them, share “lessons learned” and improve in the future.
As important, we encourage our crew members to speak up and hold each other accountable for safety. By cultivating a culture of openness and transparency, we promote problem-solving about safety, rather than defaulting to a blame game. We examine the information and data gleaned from near-misses and accident reports to figure out patterns and use safety metrics to improve in those areas where we have fallen short. As appropriate, we educate contractors on our safety protocols and set expectations for them, too.
Keeping Our Community Safe
Because we live and work in our community, we care about our neighbors. For example, we help with electric safety education by conducting electrical safety demonstrations in schools and for community events. We also offer timely information through our website, Facebook page, monthly issues of our Smart Choices e-newsletter, and of course, we are always available by phone and email to answer your electrical safety questions.
May Is National Electrical Safety Month.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), each year thousands of people in the United States are critically injured and electrocuted as a result of electrical fires, accidents and electrocution in their own homes. Many of these accidents are preventable. There is much you can do to keep yourself and your community safe around electricity:
- Don’t overload your outlets and don’t use electrical items with frayed cords
- Report downed power lines, unlocked substations or padmount transformers that look amiss.
- If you are working from home, review this infographic from the ESFI on keeping your home office safe.
And most of all, be mindful when it comes to electrical safety. Pause and take the extra time to plug into safety.