Electrical Safety

Safety is Our Top Priority — Not Just For Our Linemen, But For Our Members too

Workers are moving cables in construction sites.Follow these safety tips & tricks to keep you and those around you as safe as possible:

  1. Do not touch shocking victims
    • If someone is being shocked by an appliance, do not touch them or anything they are touching. You could become the next victim. Unplug the source or turn off the main power to the house. Call 911 for assistance.
  2. Overhead or underground, be aware of power lines
    • Power lines may be closer than you think, particularly when you’re distracted. If you’re going to be carrying a ladder or other long tool, look up and look around first. Make sure to keep them at least 10 feet away from all overhead lines, including the service from your house to the power pole near your home. It is covered with a protective jacket, but that covering could be worn from prolonged exposure to the elements. Or, it could be torn by your ladder or tool hitting it. If you’ve got a shovel in your hand, stop and think before putting it in the ground. Do you know for sure where the underground lines and equipment are located? If you aren’t sure, call MEC before breaking ground, and we’ll have someone locate the lines for you, free of charge.
  3. Tool time? Tune up for spring time
    • You’re itching to get out of the house and start those spring projects, we know. Make the first project a safety review of all your electric tools.Repair or replace any damaged tools, as well as the power cords. Once you’re ready, remember to only use tools and wires that are rated for outdoor use. They should have heavier wiring and be double insulated or have three-way ground plugs. When working outside or near water, be sure to plug tools into an outlet with the ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) only. These will quickly trip off the power if a fault is detected.
  4. Power line safety extends to farm equipment
    • It’s not just cars and trucks that can get tangled up in power lines. Farm tractors and equipment can easily hit an overhead line or a guy wire, creating an electrical danger. While similar power line safety tips for cars and trucks apply to farm equipment, there are additional tips that farmers need to follow:
      • Inspect farm equipment that may pose electrical hazards and determine clearance with any power lines under which the equipment must pass.
      • Review the possibility of underground utility supplies for new or replacement power lines.
      • Give all workers special instruction regarding how to handle equipment near power lines.
      • If your tractor comes in contact with overhead power lines, stay on the tractor. Tell someone to contact the co-op or other power company immediately, so professional line crews can remove the danger.
      • If you must leave the equipment, jump as far away from it as possible. Do not allow any part of your body to touch the equipment and the ground at the same time.
      • Never attempt to get back on or even touch equipment that is in contact with a power line.
  5. Downed Power Line Safety
    • If you see a downed power line, move away from it and anything touching it. The ground around power lines – up to 35 feet – may be energized.
    • You cannot tell whether or not a line is energized just by looking at it. Assume all lines are energized and stay away from them.
    • The proper way to move away from the power line is to shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock.
    • Be careful not to touch or step in water near where a downed power line is located. Do not drive over downed power lines.
    • If your car comes in contact with a downed power line while you are inside, stay in the car. Honk your horn to summon help, but direct others to stay away from your car.
    • If you must leave your car because it is on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid contact with both the car and the ground at the same time. Shuffle away from the car.

Fast fact: An electric current can be strong enough to cause serious injury or even death. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage zone — and it could do that through your body.

For The Kids: Outage Safety

It is always helpful for kids to learn about electrical safety so that they can do their part in preventing outages as well. Have your children watch this video to learn about electricity and how they can keep themselves safe and prevent outages!