An update from Central's board president, Carol Dvorak
May is National Electrical Safety Month. It’s a month where we highlight the importance of electrical safety, but Central’s safety-first culture is something we live every day. Safety first is one of Central’s core values because safety is first in all that we do.
Each day when linemen start a job, the first few minutes are spent addressing safety. This practice is called a job briefing. The linemen develop a plan for the work that needs to be done. They consider existing and potential hazards that may arise from the task at hand. They make assignments and discuss the procedure. The foreman ensures each worker understands the hazards associated with the task and that each worker is using the appropriate personal protective equipment.
This past October during the ice storm, Central had more than 100 workers in the field. We had line crews from four states helping our crews restore power. With that many individuals in the field, safety was of utmost concern. In outage situations like an ice storm, linemen work to restore power as quickly, but more importantly, as safely as possible. Before heading to the field each morning, crews met in our training center for a safety briefing. Similar to a job briefing, these meetings made sure everyone was on the same page and that safe work procedures were being followed.
Safety doesn’t stop with our line crews. Central is continually communicating with members about the importance of electrical safety. Electric poles, wires and transformers are so common in our landscape, it is easy to forget they are there. Underground lines are hidden beneath the ground making them impossible to find without specialized equipment. All of this equipment is dangerous to come in contact with.
Education about electrical safety is important – especially when it comes to curious kids. Central’s Be Safety Smart program is aimed at elementary students. The interactive program is put on by trained co-op staff and teaches kids about the dangers associated with electricity. Kids will learn the importance of looking up, looking around and staying safe around power lines.
The program was live streamed on our Facebook page last spring, and we plan to do it again this May. Watch our Facebook page for details. Contact Central to host a Be Safety Smart presentation for your class or student organization.
This May, we ask you to take some time to visit with your family about electrical safety. Identify potential hazards around your house, and talk with your kids and grandkids about them.