“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 Harrison REMC, it’s our number one priority. Over time, Harrison REMC has created a culture of safety by putting our employees’ safety and that of the community above all else. At its essence, Harrison REMC’s mission is to provide safe, affordable and reliable electricity to its members. 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 lineworkers. Harrison REMC has a safety team 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 lineworkers to wear specialized equipment when working next to or with power lines. Our safety team has regular meetings during which team members discuss upcoming projects from a safety perspective.
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. 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 and accidents 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. Be mindful when it comes to electrical safety. Pause and take the extra time to plug into safety.
JIM WALTER is Harrison REMC’s operations and construction manager.