Safety at La Plata Electric Association, Inc. (LPEA) is a top priority.
Education, Training and Information. The cooperative principle LPEA abides by to educate our member-owners, directors and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of our cooperative.
LPEA’s Safety Committee increases our employee’s electrical safety awareness through various U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) safety regulations. The Colorado Rural Electric Association (CREA) provides additional training programs. Here are several categories of outdoor electrical safety tips.
- Boat & Dockside Safety
- Call Before You Dig Safety
- Generator Safety
- Landscaping Safety
- Outdoor Workplace Safety
Boat & Dockside Safety
Don’t allow yourself or anyone else to swim near the dock. Avoid entering the water when launching or loading your boat. Docks or boats can leak electricity into the water causing water electrification.
Be aware of your surroundings and potential electrical hazards by checking the location of nearby power lines before boating, fishing, or swimming. Always maintain a distance of at least 10 feet between your boat and nearby power lines.
If you feel a tingle while swimming, the water may be electrified, get out of the water as soon as possible avoiding the use of metal objects such as ladders. Notify the owner of the property immediately, as this tingle is a sign that power to the facility should be turned off until a proper inspection has been completed.
Have your boat’s electrical system inspected and upgraded by a certified marine electrician regularly to be sure they meet your local and state NEC, NFPA, and ABYC safety code and standards.
Have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) installed on your boat and insist that your marina/dock owners have them installed on the dock. Test them once a month.
Use “UL- Marine Listed” portable GFCIs when using electricity near water. They will decrease the chances of shock or electrocution.
Consider having Equipment Leakage Circuit Interrupters (ELCI) installed on boats to protect nearby swimmers from potential electricity leakage into water surrounding your boat.
Only use shore or marine power cords, plugs, receptacles, and extension cords that have been tested by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or ETL SEMKO (ETL). They are specifically designed to keep you safe when using them near water.
Call Before You Dig Safety
The current building trend is to bury utilities underground. Therefore, you must be cautious when digging on your property. Utilities, such as electric, gas, communications, water, and sewer, may be buried on your property. Contact with these lines can lead to a serious injury, or even death. As a result, all persons planning on digging must contact the Colorado One Call System at (800) 922-1987 or 811. The call must be at least 48 hours prior to digging.
Colorado One Call will then contact the utility companies, who will then go out and mark the underground utilities. After it is determined that markings are required, the locate request will be dispatched to a field locator who will locate and mark the excavation site with paint, stakes, or flags. Members mark their facilities according to specific guidelines and color codes.
Upon agreement of the excavator and the facility owner, location may be provided by alternative means such as an on-site meeting or other conference.
Either party may request an on-site meeting to clarify markings, which must occur within 2 working days of the request for this meeting.
Hire a licensed electrician to connect the generator to your house wiring using a transfer switch to prevent your generator from back-feeding utility lines and causing possible damage to your generator when utility power is restored.
Thoroughly read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid dangerous shortcuts and ensure the safe operation of your generator.
Set it up outside, away from all open windows, including neighbors’ windows, to prevent deadly exhaust from entering a home or business.
Use a heavy-duty extension cord rated for outdoor use to keep the generator safely outdoors. If the appliance has a three-prong plug, always use a three-prong extension cord.
Consider using a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm to be alerted if carbon monoxide levels become dangerous.
Connect appliances directly to it.
Do not wire your generator directly to your breaker or fuse box, because the power you generate may flow back into power lines and cause severe injuries, or even kill a neighbor or utility crew working to restore power.
Turn off all connected appliances before starting your generator.
Turn connected appliances on one at a time, never exceeding the generator’s rated wattage.
Don't touch a generator if you are wet or are standing in water or on damp ground.
Never refuel a hot generator or one that is running – hot engine parts or exhaust can ignite gasoline.
Ensure you have plenty of gas for operation stored safely in gas containers.
Don’t leave a running generator unattended; turn it off at night and when away from home.
Never prune trees near electric lines. Contact La Plata Electric Association at (970) 247-5786, ext. 3583 first to inspect the trees.
Inspect the trees on your property annually for hazards. For expert advice on tree health or hazards, consult an International Society of Arboriculture Certified Arborist.
You can disrupt utility service - and even put your life in danger - just by failing to have the locations of natural gas, electric and other underground utility lines clearly marked before you plant that new tree, set that fence post, or build that deck. Contact Colorado One Call System at 811 before you dig - it’s the law!
Be aware of and never strike undergrounding (underground power lines and equipment) when doing landscaping and lawn work.
Outdoor Workplace Safety
Always assume power lines are live. This applies to power lines on utility poles as well as those near homes and buildings. Even though you may notice a covering on a line, never assume it is safe to touch. Even momentary contact with power lines can cause injury or death.
Keep all cranes, scaffolding and high reach equipment away from power lines. Contact with a power line can cause serious burns or electrocution. Remember to work a safe distance from all power lines.
When performing construction activities, keep equipment at least 10 feet from power lines and 25 feet from transmission tower lines. Use a spotter to ensure compliance with the line clearance. If clearance cannot be obtained, contact La Plata Electric Association at (970) 247-5786, ext. 3351, 3548 or 3583 to de-energize the lines.
Exercise precautions when using ladders or cleaning near a service drop.
Be cautious around guy wires that support utility poles. Be careful not to run over or into them with equipment or vehicles.
Keep yourself and others away from any downed power lines.
Contact La Plata Electric Association at (970) 247-5786 if you see a downed power line.