Safety Above All Else

By Anne Prince

Safety is a universal word that is mentioned often and used loosely. Companies across all industries, and 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. Safety is a serious issue, especially when it comes to electrical safety. For Lane Electric Cooperative, it’s the No. 1 priority.

Lane Electric Cooperative linemen practice pole-top rescues in case someone is injured on the job.
Lane Electric Cooperative linemen practice pole-top rescues in case someone is injured on the job.

Over time, Lane has created a culture of safety by putting our employees’ safety and that of the community above all else. At its essence, Lane Electric’s mission is to provide safe and reliable electricity to its member-owners. We strive to deliver reliable electricity to our member- owners, but equally important, we want to return our workers home safely to their loved ones.

Following Leading National Safety Standards

With practice, linemen can quickly shut off power and lower an injured co-worker to the ground and begin lifesaving CPR. A 200-pound dummy is used to simulate the weight of an unconscious lineman.
With practice, linemen can quickly shut off power and lower an injured co-worker to the ground and begin lifesaving CPR. A 200-pound dummy is used to simulate the weight of an unconscious lineman.

Working with electricity is an inherently dangerous job, especially for lineworkers. Lane established and follows 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 lineworkers follow specific protocols when dealing with electricity. Our safety committee has regular meetings to focus on all aspects of our work from a safety perspective. The committee monitors and tracks near-misses of accidents to understand them, share lessons learned and improve in the future.

Speak Up, Listen Up

We encourage 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 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

May is National Electrical Safety Month. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, 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.

Lane Electric conducts electrical safety demonstrations in schools and for community events. If you would like us to provide a safety demonstration at your school or community event, please call us at (541) 484-1151.

Don’t attempt electrical DIY projects you are not qualified for 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.