CEO’s Message – September 2022

A Season for Safety

September marks a changing of the seasons from summer to fall. Kids go back to school, farmers begin their annual harvest, construction companies kick it into high gear to wrap up their road work projects and the days, unfortunately, get a lot shorter. Fall is a season for safety.

Stearns Electric Association prioritizes safety not only for our employees, but for our members, too. This month, remember to stay safe!

Fall is a time for harvest. Pay attention to your surroundings and make sure to stop, look up and look around you while working with large equipment. Look Up and Live!

Make sure your farm equipment can clear the line. Some farm equipment may be able to pass under power lines only when in its lowest position. Also be sure to carry or move long items horizontally, if possible, to avoid contact with power lines.

Use caution when loading grain bins. Enter only if you must and always have another person present if you do so. Use a fall protection harness or a boatswain’s chair to reduce fall risks. Never allow children in grain bins, beds or wagons.

This is not limited to farmers. Being aware of overhead power lines is important for all members. Power lines can be lower to the ground than they appear, especially in residential areas. Please always look up and be aware of overhead power lines while you are working on top of your roof or climbing a ladder. Never climb trees near overhead power lines and make sure there are no overhead power lines where you plan to build hunting stands or tree houses.

School is in session, which means there are buses, walkers and bike riders commuting to and from the classroom. Stay alert and avoid driving distracted. Obey school zone speed limits and never pass a bus that is loading or unloading children.

Traffic is a big safety concern of our line crews and it’s the law in Minnesota to move over, if possible, to protect emergency workers. This includes utility crews. It can be hard to see crews in the early mornings or later evenings now that the days are getting shorter, so pay extra attention. Thank you for moving over for our crews!

Lastly, if you ever find yourself in a vehicle accident involving any sort of electrical equipment – including power poles, green transformer boxes, or substations – please stay in your vehicle and call 911 for help. Do not exit your vehicle until an emergency responder or a utility line worker tells you it is safe.

There is only one exception to this rule and that is if your vehicle starts on fire after an accident. If your vehicle is on fire, you must exit the vehicle by crossing your arms over your chest, getting to the edge of the vehicle and jumping with both of your feet together, making sure not to reach back to the vehicle for any reason. With your feet still together, shuffle at least 100 yards away.

Thank you for doing your part to help keep both you and our employees safe.


Robin C. Doege