Safety is a Core Value at VEA
Valley Electric Association has always been committed to safety. With the growing number of injuries and incidents in our energy and communications industry we have doubled down on our Cooperative’s commitment to safety.
Here’s what safety as a core value means.
The functions performed daily by our highly trained field personnel require skills that take years of study, training and experience to develop and sustain.
Working near energized lines or climbing on rooftops can be extremely dangerous, of course. Crews also face extreme weather, operate complicated equipment like bucket trucks, drive over rough terrain, and wrestle with heavy poles and unwieldy cables. The risk of injury is an everyday challenge. We can’t lose our focus or become complacent in order to quickly complete the task at hand.
When skilled, well-trained technicians are sidelined because of injury, the work does not slow down. The absence of that experience and expertise is felt by all of us, including our members who are accustomed to seeing familiar faces.
As a core value, safety is the foundation on which we perform and conduct ourselves. This value underlies our work, how we interact with each other and the strategies we use to keep employees safe. Commitment to safety at all levels of the Cooperative, starting with the leadership team, is one such strategy.
VEA is not alone in this endeavor. There are a great number of cooperatives around the country that have made the commitment to keep employees safe. A particular movement has been branded as the “Commitment to Zero Contacts” nationwide initiative. This is intended to help eliminate serious injuries and fatalities due to electrical contacts. It is action of this magnitude that will foster a safety-first environment for our employees.
So, when you see our employees working in the field or in the office, let them know that you also count on them to work safe and go home to their families at the end of the day.
Our unique Safety Trailer was built in-house by our employees to show the community the dangers of coming in contact with a live Power Line and electrical hazards in your home or on the job, this demonstration will leave a lasting impression.
Our new trailer is available for electrical safety demonstrations in our service territory, at your request. We have already done demonstrations and training for our Emergency services in Pahrump, as well as many of our contractors and schools.
One of our employees will come to your place of business and show you the hazards of downed power lines and other dangerous obstacles you may encounter on the job or at home.
We use our trailer at many of the schools in our service territories and you cannot believe what an impact this demonstration will make on a young mind. The visuals that are used cannot stress enough how dangerous power lines and other sources of electricity are, when contact is made with a live wire and grounded object.
We have a mannequin on the trailer who’s glove catches on fire when he touches a live wire with a steel pole. His chest is cut out, so that we can put an object in it, such as fruit or a hot dog, to simulate what happens inside your body when a human being or even an animal crosses a power line.
You may want this demonstration done for your employees, if you work outside or anywhere near power lines.
We had one instance where we provided an electrical safety demonstration to a construction team and soon after, one of the workers ran into a power pole with a vehicle and was surrounded by “live” wires of electricity but remembered to stay in the vehicle due to our demonstration. Who knows what would have happened if he wouldn’t have received that training before this incident occurred.
We support those in our community and want to keep them safe and clear of downed power lines and simple household items that can cause permanent damage to their health and well being and that is why we created this electrical safety demonstration trailer.
If you are interested in learning more or would like to set up a time for a demonstration, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here are 10 quick checks to help make your home or work area more electrically safe:
Outlets — Check for outlets that have loose-fitting plugs which can overheat and lead to fires. Replace any broken wall plates. Make sure there are safety covers on all unused outlets that are accessible to children.
Cords — Make sure cords are in good condition – not frayed or cracked. Make sure they are placed out of traffic areas. Cords should never be nailed or stapled to the wall baseboard or to another object and they should not have any furniture resting on them.
Extension Cords — Check to see that the cords are not overused. Additionally, extension cords should only be used on a temporary basis; they are not safe as permanent household wiring.
Plugs — Make sure the proper type of plug is in each outlet. If you are using three-prong plugs in a room with two-conductor outlets, do not cut off the ground pin (the third/bottom prong) from the plug; this could lead to an electrical shock hazard. A better solution is to use a two-prong adapter. Never force a plug into an outlet if it doesn’t fit. This could lead to fire or shock. Plug should fit securely into outlets and outlets should not be overloaded.
Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters — (GFCIs)-GFCIs can prevent many electrocutions. They should be used in any area where water and electricity may come into contact. Test GFCIs regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure they are working properly.
Light Bulbs — Check the wattage of all bulbs in lighting fixtures to make sure they are the correct wattage for the size of the fixture. Replace bulbs that have higher wattage than recommended. Make sure bulbs are screwed in securely; loose bulbs may overheat.
Circuit Breakers/Fuses — Circuit breakers and fuses should be correct size for the circuits. If you do not know the correct size fuse, have an electrician identify and label the sizes. Never replace a fuse with anything but another correct size fuse.
Water and Electricity Don’t Mix — Don’t place any electrical appliances near water, i.e., a sink or a bathtub. Appliances that are used near water should be unplugged when not in use. If you have an appliance that is wet, unplug it and don’t use it until it’s been checked by a qualified repair person.
Appliances — If one appliance repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker or if it has emitted an electric shock, unplug it and have it repaired or replaced.
Entertainment/Computer Equipment — Check to see that the equipment is in good condition and working properly; look for cracks or damage in wiring, plugs and connections.
Trees — Trees can interfere with VEA’s powerlines.
Respect Power Lines — Power lines carry electricity. Energy from power lines can burn, injure or kill.
Tree climbing can be fun, but there may be hidden power lines between the limbs that if touched, could turn enjoyment into tragedy.
Metal, metal-reinforced or wet ladders that you might use around your home or other buildings are conductors of electricity. Use extreme caution when using any type of ladders around electrical wires, service drops and equipment. And remember, antennas can easily fall or be blown against nearby power lines. Before you erect or repair a radio or television antenna, consult Valley Electric Association for advice or assistance.
Downed Power Lines — Never touch a downed power line or anything that the power line touches. Although it may look harmless and innocent, the line could still be energized and deadly.
Never try to move downed power lines. Objects such as brooms, boards, limbs or other non-metallic materials can still conduct electricity. Leave these situations for the emergency professionals.
Never drive over downed power lines. If a power line touches your car as a result of an accident, do NOT get out. If it is necessary to leave, jump out without touching the car and the ground at the same time. Then shuffle away rather than taking large steps to minimize the chance of electricity flowing through the ground and then through your body. Fight the urge to run, and warn others not to run. This is because when a live wire touches the ground, electricity travels through the ground in all directions. Voltage decreases as it travels from the center where the live wire is touching the ground. If you run or take large steps, you could conduct electricity from one leg at one voltage to another leg at another voltage. This can shock or kill you.