16:10 PM

Perspective: Safety First

In 1939 Washington Electric Co-op published this Q&A to educate members about the danger associated with electricity. Q: “If I should want to do something to my wire, is it all right if I put a ladder on the pole and turn off the transformer?” A: “It is a convenient way out. To save trouble for your family, we suggest that you make the funeral arrangements first and leave a note for the police so that they will not think it was murder.”

Eleanor Roosevelt mentioned this in her column for the Washington Daily newspaper. Like the First Lady, I appreciate the humor, but more importantly the vital message it shared with new members. Electricity is so integrated in our lives it’s easy to lose sight of how dangerous it can be. The truth of it is, it’s no laughing matter. Electrical safety is serious.

At Jackson EMC we go to great lengths to keep, your family and our employees safe. We promote the highest standard of safety with an intensive safety training program. Every employee completes at least 20 hours of safety training each year; that time is tripled for our line workers. We ensure our employees are safe by implementing safety-first procedures and inspecting our safety equipment. A hole the size of a pinhead in their gloves could end a linemen’s life, so we check them regularly and replace them every other month. The plastic liner in a bucket truck protects them, too, so we check them for cracks and holes to ensure our employees are safe while doing their job. We have strict equipment procedures and protocols aimed at eliminating all preventable accidents.

High voltage wires and equipment are a constant danger for line workers who are trained and equipped to work with them, but they can also pose a danger to members. Storms and ice can weigh down lines, putting them dangerously close to playground equipment, trees, the road, or other things our members may come in contact with. That’s why we work to educate our members about electrical safety. We reach out to schools and teach children about the risk associated with getting too close to electrical equipment and downed power lines. Our communications program reminds you to call 811 before you put a shovel in the ground and to look above when cutting trees or using ladders.

Through a variety of safety and educational programs, we want every day to be a safe one for our members, employees and our community. Electricity provides us so many benefits and comforts: light, airconditioning, refrigeration, medical technology, and let’s not forget electronics like television. Still, electricity is inherently dangerous. That’s why we take steps to ensure our employees are safe while doing their job and we work to educate our members and the community about how to stay safe around electrical equipment.

Have thoughts on my column? Send me a note to [email protected]