The Value of Safety
“Safety” is a universal word that is mentioned often and used loosely. Communities large and small as well as companies across all industries are committed to safety. Sports leagues, at every level, take safety seriously. Unfortunately, when it really counts, steps to keep the public, workers, athletes and loved ones safe are often ignored in the interest of expediency or convenience.
However, safety is a serious issue, especially when it comes to electrical safety. For, Pioneer Electric Cooperative, it’s the number one priority. This is not empty talk. Over time, PEC has created a culture of safety by putting our employees’ safety and that of the community above all else. At its essence, PEC’s mission is to provide safe, affordable and reliable electricity to its member-owners. At the end of the day, we strive 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 leading national safety standards
Working with electricity is an inherently dangerous job, especially for line workers. PEC has a safety committee whose focus is keeping employees and the community safe around electricity. We 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 committee 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 importantly, we encourage all of our crews to speak up and hold each other accountable for safety. By cultivating a culture of openness and transparency, we promote problem-solving with regard to safety, rather than defaulting to a blame game. We examine the information and data gleaned from near-misses and accident reports to discern patterns and use safety metrics to improve in those areas where we have fallen short. As appropriate, we brief contractors on our safety protocols and set expectations for their engagement.
Keeping the community safe
Because we live and work in the community we serve, we care about our neighbors. PEC conducts electrical safety demonstrations in schools and for community events.
May is National Electrical Safety Month. 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.
Don’t attempt electrical DIY projects or overload your outlets. Report downed power lines, unlocked substations or pad mount transformers that look amiss. Contact PEC for additional electrical safety tips. If you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or community event, please contact our Vice President of Engineering and Operations Phillip Baker at 334-382-4950. Be mindful when it comes to electrical safety. Pause and take the extra time to plug into safety.