Everything listed under: Safety

  • Power Line Safety Reminders from Crawford Electric

    Can you imagine an electrical flash that burns hotter than the surface of the sun? What if we told you that the source of that heat was all around you — and more specifically, right above you?


    Power Line Safety
    Power lines play a crucial role in how your Missouri Electric Cooperatives deliver electricity to you in rural Missouri, but power lines can also be incredibly dangerous. This 2012 video produced by Crawford Electric Cooperative in Bourbon, Missouri, shows exactly what happens when people, animals, or trees make contact with power lines.

    “Electricity is always looking for that path to the ground,” the presenter explains.

    That means that anything that comes in contact with a power line has the potential to become the electricity’s path to the ground. In the examples in the video, you can see that a helium balloon, a metal pole, and a tree each conduct electricity when they come in contact with an overhead power wire.

    Steve’s Story
    When humans come in contact with overhead power lines, they can become electricity’s path to the ground, too. The result is a dangerous — but largely avoidable — electric shock.

    Steve, an employee of Pike Electric (a service partner of Missouri's Rural Electric Cooperatives), was nearly killed when he was shocked by an overhead power line. He talks to an audience of first responders and public works employees, explaining that he never thought electric shock — which left him hospitalized for three months — could happen to him.

    “I spent three months in intensive care and had 19 surgeries. They told me I’d never walk again,” he tells the audience.

    “It was preventable,” he says. “I really was the guy who said, ‘I’m only going to be there for a minute, and it won’t happen to me.’”

    Look Up and Live
    Power lines are a critical part of our infrastructure for delivering power to you, our rural Missouri Member-Owners. But power lines can also be dangerous. Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives urge you to, “look up and live,” before doing construction work, cleaning a pool, or trimming trees on your property.

    Awareness of the location of power lines on your property, when combined with using best safety practices, will help prevent you from causing the kind of electrical fires, disruptions, and shocks shown in Crawford Electric’s video.

    About Crawford Electric Cooperative
    Incorporated in 1940, Crawford Electric is a not-for-profit member-owned electric cooperative that provides energy services to residential, agricultural and commercial accounts in parts of six east-central Missouri counties.

    Crawford has more than 60 employees and serves more than 30,000 Missourians through almost 20,000 meters. Crawford’s physical plant consists of more than 3,300 miles of distribution line located within Crawford, Franklin, Washington, Gasconade, Jefferson and Dent counties. The system also includes the city of Bourbon. 

    Crawford Electric is the 15th largest of Missouri’s distribution cooperatives in terms of numbers of meters served as well as miles of line energized (source). You can visit Crawford Electric’s website, and the Cooperative is also on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • The National Electric Code (NEC) in Missouri

    When it comes to electrical safety, the National Electrical Code — or NEC — is the nationally recognized standard. The 1,000-page document is published every three years, and it’s up to states or local jurisdictions whether to adopt the code and how to enforce it.

    Does Missouri Adopt and Enforce the National Electrical Code?
    Generally speaking, states chose one of three options:
    1) they adopt the NEC as state law and enforce the law statewide,
    2) they only adopt and enforce the NEC at the local level, or
    3) they opt for a hybrid situation in which the state adopts the NEC for certain situations, allowing local jurisdictions to adopt (or not) the code by their own will (source).

    In Missouri, our state Department of Public Safety, Division of Fire Safety adopts the NEC and applies it to state-owned buildings. However, our local jurisdictions chose whether or not to adopt and enforce the code. (To find out if your community has adopted the NEC, contact your local city or county officials.)

    Whether or not your local jurisdiction adopts and enforces the NEC, the code is still considered the preeminent standard and point of reference for electrical safety in the United States.

    The History of the NEC
    The NEC was first published in 1897. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has developed and published the code since 1911, releasing an update every three years. The code is available in electronic and print versions, and the NFPA even publishes an NEC Handbook which includes the entire code, as well as helpful illustrations (source).

    You can get free, restricted access to the NEC here if you’re willing to register with the NFPA.

    Learn More
    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Underground Power Safety: Call Before You Dig

    If you plan to excavate in Missouri, you need to know about the Missouri One Call System (MOCS). MOCS is a statewide service that helps Missouri excavators to dig safely — and to comply fully with Missouri law and OSHA Rules.


    Your Missouri Electric Cooperative and other local MOCS member utilities will be notified by MOCS when you plan to excavate in the area. Keep your workers safe — and follow Missouri law — by calling before you dig.

    Why Call MOCS? To Prevent Electrocution

    According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health, “fifty-five construction workers are killed each year by electrocutions from overhead and underground power lines (source).”

    Electrocution has been one of the leading causes of death among construction workers for decades. One of the best ways to prevent excavation-related shock and electrocution is to know where underground power lines are run.

    Why Call MOCS? It’s the Law

    Missouri law requires excavators to contact the owner or operator of any underground power facility before you dig.

    “Missouri law,” according to MOCS, “requires that any person making or beginning any excavation notify all underground owners/operators which may be affected by said excavation at least two but not more than ten working days in advance, except in the case of emergency.”

    That means that you’re legally required to call MOCS within 2-10 business days of any excavation work you plan to do. It’s also your job to ensure that those utilities or other operators have responded to your outreach before you begin digging.

    How Do I Call MOCS?

    You can place an MOCS locate request by calling 1-800-344-7483, by calling 811, or by submitting an online ticket. Call Center Representatives are available 24/7, 365 days of the year.

    About Missouri One Call

    The Missouri Underground Facility Safety and Damage Prevention statute (RSMo Chapter 319) provides for a notification center to be used by participating utilities to receive locate requests. Missouri One Call System, Inc. (MOCS), operating as a non-profit Missouri corporation, is such a notification center providing a single-point of contact for notification to its members through a state wide toll-free telephone number operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. MOCS was established in 1986 and currently is providing statewide services to utilities and excavators to comply with the law. This law applies to any person excavating in the state of Missouri.

    MOCS was established as a means to protect underground facilities and assist excavators and utilities in complying with Missouri's statute and OSHA Rules 1926.651. By using the service that MOCS provides, the general public's safety and the environment also are protected (source).

    Is My Missouri Electric Cooperative a Member of MOCS?

    You can find an alphabetical list of MOCS members — including most of your Missouri Electrical Cooperatives — here.

    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Power Line Safety

    Can you imagine an electrical flash that burns hotter than the surface of the sun? What if we told you that the source of that heat was all around you — and more specifically, right above you?

    Power Line Safety

    Power lines play a crucial role in how your Missouri Electric Cooperatives deliver electricity to you in rural Missouri, but power lines can also be incredibly dangerous. This 2012 video produced by Crawford Electric Cooperative in Bourbon, Missouri, shows exactly what happens when people, animals, or trees make contact with power lines.

    “Electricity is always looking for that path to the ground,” the presenter explains.

    That means that anything that comes in contact with a power line has the potential to become the electricity’s path to the ground. In the examples in the video, you can see that a helium balloon, a metal pole, and a tree each conduct electricity when they come in contact with an overhead power wire.

    Look Up and Live: Steve’s Story

    When humans come in contact with overhead power lines, they can become electricity’s path to the ground, too. The result is a dangerous — but largely avoidable — electric shock.

    Steve, an employee of Crawford Electric Cooperative, was nearly killed when he was shocked by an overhead power line. He talks to an audience of first responders and public works employees, explaining that he never thought electric shock — which left him hospitalized for three months — could happen to him.

    “I spent three months in intensive care and had 19 surgeries. They told me I’d never walk again,” he tells the audience.

    “It was preventable,” he says. “I really was the guy who said, ‘I’m only going to be there for a minute, and it won’t happen to me.’”

    Power lines are a critical part of our infrastructure for delivering power to you, our rural Missouri Member-Owners. But power lines can also be dangerous. Your Missouri Electric Cooperatives urge you to, “look up and live,” before doing construction work, cleaning a pool, or trimming trees on your property.

    Awareness of the location of power lines on your property, when combined with using best safety practices, will help prevent you from causing the kind of electrical fires, disruptions, and shocks shown in Crawford Electric’s video.

    About Crawford Electric Cooperative

    Incorporated in 1940, Crawford Electric is a not-for-profit member-owned electric cooperative that provides energy services to residential, agricultural and commercial accounts in parts of six east-central Missouri counties. Crawford has more than 60 employees and serves more than 30,000 Missourians through almost 20,000 meters. Crawford’s physical plant consists of more than 3,300 miles of distribution line located within Crawford, Franklin, Washington, Gasconade, Jefferson and Dent counties. The system also includes the city of Bourbon. Crawford is the 15th largest of Missouri’s distribution cooperatives in terms of numbers of meters served as well as miles of line energized (source).

    You can visit Crawford Electric’s website, and the Cooperative is also on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

    Learn more about Missouri’s Electric Cooperatives, and how we work to provide safe, efficient energy to rural Missouri by following us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

  • Creating a culture of safety

    Of all the resources your electric cooperative has, the most important are the people who work so hard to bring you electricity. That’s why from the early days, your electric cooperative has put so much emphasis on ensuring safety.

    In fact, the first department organized at the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives was the one that today is known as the Risk Management and Training Department. The goal was — and still is — to ensure employees go home to their families at the end of the day, safe and sound. They also are devoted to keeping the general public safe around power lines.

    There are 11 people in the department, and they are dedicated to creating a culture of safety across the state while also training the next generation of lineworkers who must deal with technology their predecessors never knew.

    They work with the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association to improve and implement the Rural Electric Safety Achievement Program. They perform inspections that show a cooperative how well it is doing in meeting the safe work standards set by the program.

    Over the years, the department has built a state-of-the-art training center that includes just about everything a lineworker would see on the electric cooperative grid. This includes a substation, underground lines, all types of pole construction and a classroom where a variety of hands-on classes are taught.

    Every year, a new class of apprentices decides whether they have the mettle to work high above the ground from bucket trucks or the old-fashioned way, hanging from sharpened metal hooks on a tall pole. It’s not unusual for at least one person each year to decide the work is not for them.

    In 1993, the department was enhanced when all of Missouri’s electric cooperatives agreed to join the Missouri Electric Cooperative Insurance Plan, or MECIP, which was organized as an answer to the problem of rapidly rising costs for workers’ compensation insurance.

    The plan was formed after careful study showed it would save the cooperatives millions of dollars in expense. This savings is now funneled back to Missouri’s electric cooperatives to the tune of $9.4 million, to date.

    The program also benefits from money given back by Federated Rural Electric Insurance Exchange, which recognizes that our emphasis on safety keeps insurance rates low for all.

    The latest emphasis for our safety department is a program called “Speak Up, Listen Up.” It encourages every employee, regardless of seniority, to speak up if they see an unsafe action take place. It also creates an environment where management truly listens to these warnings and takes appropriate action.

    Recognizing that this emphasis on safety would fall short if the equipment fails, the department also tests vehicles and the rubber goods that insulate lineworkers from live lines. Their work finds any fault long before it can become a life-threatening issue.

    Last year, they tested 821 trucks, 10,900 pieces of cover-up material, 3,341 live-line tools and 4,332 grounds, along with conducting 29 schools and conferences.

    Another important activity the department is in charge of is our Emergency Assistance program. Because of this program, a manager or line superintendent faced with a major outage can make one phone call that results in assistance coming in from unaffected areas. A new addition to this effort is a statewide outage map that shows by county or co-op where trouble spots are located.

    This year, the department will extend its assistance across borders as it leads a group of Missouri lineworkers to Bolivia. Together with their counterparts from Oklahoma, they will extend electricity where none was before.

    We hope you will keep this focus on electrical safety in mind whenever you are near power lines and other electrical equipment. You can find more electric safety tips at www.SafeElectricity.org.

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