Electricity is a significant part of our modern lives. It is all around us, powering everything from cellphones to hospital equipment. Electric power maintains such a presence in our modern society that it’s easy to forget that it can also be dangerous.
Tennessee’s electric cooperatives work with electricity each day, and familiarity could allow us to get comfortable with risk. That’s why we constantly remind our teams about the dangers they face when working with electricity. Most of our employees attend safety training events each month, and crew leaders hold tailgate discussions about the dangers of each job. We work hard to make safety an important part of everything we do.
Most likely, you don’t have routine safety trainings to remind yourself to be safe around electricity, and that’s why we think Electrical Safety Month is important. Celebrated each May, it is a great time to raise awareness of electrical safety.
Should you cross paths with one of our crews — whether they are restoring power following a storm or performing routine maintenance — here are some important things to remember to keep you and our crews safe:
Don’t enter the workspace.
Even routine work has the potential to be dangerous, and it requires the full attention of our crew and their colleagues. Everyone is responsible for the team’s safety, and distractions can have deadly consequences. This is also important for your own safety. Trucks and equipment on the ground could be energized while crews are working above, and contacting that equipment could be disastrous.
Plus, you never know when something heavy might fall from above. If you have questions, call your electric cooperative office or speak to the crew leader after the job is finished.
Keep animals away.
If you have a dog, keep it indoors or on a leash while lineworkers are on or near your property. While most dogs are friendly, some are defensive of their territory and can’t distinguish between a burglar and a utility worker. Our crews work best without a pet “supervising” the job.
Know who’s there.
We recognize that for your family’s safety, you want to make sure only authorized workers are on or near your property. You will recognize our employees by electric co-op logos on their uniforms and service trucks. You might also recognize our lineworkers because they live right there in your local community.
Slow down, and move over.
In addition to giving lineworkers some space while they are near your property, we also ask that you move over or slow down when approaching a utility vehicle on the side of the road. This extra barrier of safety keeps us all safe.
On page 21, you can read more about ways to keep you and your family safe around electricity. I encourage you to consider these simple tips. They could literally save your life.