‘Stay safe.’ It’s a phrase we hear all the time. To some people, it has a special meaning, especially when they’re on the job. It means coming home at night to loved ones, whole and unharmed. To lineworkers who face danger daily working with electricity, it means focus and preparation and following some common steps to avoid pitfalls.
A new effort called ‘Commitment to Zero Contacts” launched in 2018. The National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange introduces the initiative to help eliminate serious injuries and fatalities and enhance cooperative safety programs.
Western is committed to keeping both our workers and the community safe by adhering to the following work practices and ideas:
- Use life-saving rules:
- Personal Protective Equipment (gloves and sleeves)
- Application of personal grounds
- Application of proper insulating material
- Proper use of clearance procedures
- To “speak up” and not accept, or walk by, a shortcut to safe work
- Slow down and perform effective job planning on all work assignments
Western has a strong safety program in place, and the zero contacts initiative reinforces it. Employees have tailgates before every job to discuss their approach, they attend training locally and at the statewide level and they have a safety committee.
Keeping the community safe
Because we live and work in the community we serve, we care about our neighbors. Western conducts electrical safety demonstrations both in schools and for other local organizations.
According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, 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. For instance:
- Don’t attempt electrical projects yourself or overload your outlets. Report downed power lines, unlocked substations or padmount transformers that look amiss.
- If a power line falls on your car, stay in it unless a fire or other emergency causes you to exit. If you must exit, shuffle your feet or hop with them together.
If you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or community event, please contact us. Pause and take the extra time to plug into safety.
Western has a comprehensive internal safety program to help keep its lineworkers safe. Here are some things members can do to help our lineworkers stay safe on the job:
- Ensure generators are properly installed with a “double-throw switch” to prevent backfeeding
- Stay attentive and slow down when you see ‘Utility Work Ahead’ signs
- If you see crews working, please don’t approach them. Any distractions can be incredibly dangerous
- Staples, nails and tacks used to hang signs and flyers create dangerous obstacles for electric lineworkers. Think twice before posting that sign