May is National Safety Month
The importance of safety is nationally recognized in May. But at EREC, it’s our number one priority every day.
Safety is an important issue, especially when it comes to electrical safety. EREC has created a culture of safety by putting our employees’ safety and that of the community above all else. Our mission is to provide safe, reliable and affordable electricity to our member-owners. At the end of the day, we strive to deliver reliable and affordable power to those we serve, but equally important, we want to return our workers home safely to their loved ones. To do this requires ongoing focus, dedication and vigilance.
Working with electricity is an inherently dangerous job, especially for lineworkers. EREC has established safety protocols we follow based on leading national safety practices for the utility industry. We require our lineworkers to wear specialized equipment when working next to or with power lines. There are specific protocols that our lineworkers follow when dealing with electricity. Our safety team has regular meetings where they discuss upcoming projects from a safety perspective. Near-misses of accidents are monitored and tracked in order to understand them, share “lessons learned” and improve in the future. We encourage our crews to speak up and hold each other accountable for safety.
EREC employees are our greatest asset. We want to be sure every employee goes home at the end of the day the same way he or she came to work that morning. Maintaining 1,700 miles of energized line is a dangerous job. Electric line crews literally put their lives on the line to ensure reliable delivery of power to our members. EREC line crews go through extensive training. They not only learn the mechanics of power line operations but are instructed on the dangers and consequences of working with electricity.
Education is an ongoing process for employees. Operations personnel undergo continuing safety training on various aspects of working with electricity to keep safety issues fresh and at the forefront of their minds. Pole-top & Bucket Hurt Man Rescue safety training is conducted annually. “Rescue efficiency is an extremely important part of a line worker’s job,” said Tony Burnham, manager of safety & vegetation. “Our line crews’ willingness to analyze and improve their performance, speaks volumes about their professionalism and passion for the job.”
Line crews are equipped with fire-retardant uniforms and other safety equipment to be worn when working on energized lines. Equipment is checked regularly to ensure it is in proper working order. They complete cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillator certification so they are prepared to help save the life of a coworker should an accident occur.
Every day – but especially under hazardous weather conditions – EREC line crews put their safety training to the test. EREC’s safety record is exemplary. It is particularly commendable for the electric utility industry.
Safety is emphasized as our number one priority, and we do everything possible to provide a safe working environment for the line crews. But it’s the employees’ steadfast dedication to safety in all aspects of the job that really makes the difference.