CEO’s Message – May 2021

Electrical Safety Month Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

May is electrical safety month, and safety is of utmost importance at Stearns Electric Association. Not only for Stearns Electric employees, but also for our members and the public. Along with being reliable and competitively priced, Stearns Electric provides your electricity in a safe, responsible manner.

Our commitment to safety starts with training our employees. Safety is an important step in everything we do at the Co-op. At the start of every day, before going into the field, line workers meet to discuss the day’s projects during a job briefing meeting. Once at their job site, line workers once again conduct another job briefing to discuss any potential safety hazards at the site. This is to help ensure their safety throughout the workday. In our line of business, line workers rarely get a second chance after contacting high-voltage lines or equipment. That’s why it’s a priority for us to make sure that our employees go home safe and sound at the end of every workday.

Additionally, safety training is completed by all employees monthly, including those in the field and in the office.

Each month, our internal safety department provides a safety report to our Stearns Electric Board of Directors. That report includes employee safety meetings conducted, Stearns Electric Safety Committee meeting notes, near misses that occurred throughout the month at the Cooperative, safety milestones, and an incident summary, if any incidents did occur that month. The Stearns Electric board is very supportive of our Cooperative’s safety activities.

Early in 2021, Stearns Electric employees celebrated 1,000,000 safe driving miles. That is 1,000,000 miles driven by all Cooperative employees without a driving incident. That’s quite a feat! We now have our sight set on 2,000,000 safe driving miles.

From a public safety perspective, Stearns Electric works hard to prevent public contact with power lines and equipment. Every year, a team of Stearns Electric employees provides safety training to fourth-graders throughout our service territory. In 2021, Stearns Electric conducted these annual safety demonstrations to nearly 1,700 students at 33 area schools.

We also provide safety and hazard recognition training for local first responders and contractors. Keeping our members and the public safe is a top priority for Stearns Electric.

Now that the weather is nice, many of you are working on outdoor projects – sometimes near our power lines. Here are a couple of tips for working outside near power lines:

  • Look up and around you for overhead power lines.
  • Always be aware of the location of nearby power lines, whether they are overhead or underground, and electrical distribution equipment.
  • Keep equipment, and yourself, at least 10 feet away from power lines.
  • Never climb or trim trees near power lines
  • Always call before you dig to Gopher State One Call – dial 811

And we ask that you do your best to keep our crews safe as they work throughout the year. There is a Minnesota state statute to “move over” for utility vehicles parked on or near the side of the road. If you see one of our parked Stearns Electric vehicles, we ask you to please slow down and move over. We really care about the safety of all, and this extra precaution will assure just that.

Thank you for helping to keep yourself, others and Stearns Electric employees safe. Visit our Facebook page throughout the month for more electrical safety tips. Have a joyous and SAFE spring!


Robin C. Doege