Powering Your Life, Safely

July 8, 2024

While it is important to treat electricity with respect no matter the situation, the electric system is intentionally designed to be safe. Several features of the grid help to operate it safely and keep the public out of harm’s way as well.

Power lines are located either high in the air or buried underground to keep people out of harm’s way.  Fences and signage installed around substations remind the public to stay away from energized equipment as only qualified personnel are allowed inside.

Several safety features are located within substations as well, including disconnect switches to help employees easily see that the equipment they are performing maintenance on is de-energized.

Stearns Electric also monitors unique conditions, such as extreme weather, on the electric system to be able to isolate equipment that may create a hazardous condition.

At times, employees from Stearns Electric or our wholesale power supplier, Great River Energy, need to work on power lines or equipment while there is still power running through it. Our workers are carefully outfitted with special clothing and tools that do not conduct electricity to keep them safe, such as:

  • Fire-resistant clothing: Electrical workers wear flame-proof and “arc-rated” clothing on the job.
  • Rubber gloves: Technicians are equipped with rubber gloves and sleeves that provide a protective layer between themselves and equipment that has electrical current (or the potential) flowing through it.
  • Footwear: Workers wear specially rated footwear that is resistant to electrical hazards, compression and more.
  • Eyewear: Workers wear specially rated eyewear with side shields for extra protection.
  • Hard hats: Hard hats are rated to protect from electrical hazards as well as impact.
  • Hot sticks: These insulated sticks are used to safely perform certain maintenance activities on power lines that are “live.”

Members of Stearns Electric can exercise safety around electricity as well by not overloading outlets with more devices than a circuit can handle and keeping a safe distance from overhead power lines. And, if you see something on the electric system that does not look safe, please contact Stearns Electric at (800) 962-0655.