North Fork of the Blackfoot River

Life on the Line

Posted: July 1, 2019
Mark Hayden, General Manager
Mark Hayden, GM

Working with electricity can be a dangerous job, especially for lineworkers. In fact, USA Today lists line repairers and installers among the most dangerous jobs in the US. Providing a safe environment for our Missoula Electric Cooperative (MEC) members, our staff, and our communities, is a priority at MEC. We have developed a culture where safety is at the forefront of everything we do. From performing MoveSafe stretches, which help prevent workplace injuries, to walking a “circle of safety” around our trucks before driving, safety is always a priority.

Our mission is to provide safe, reliable and affordable energy to you, our members. But equally as important, our goal is to ensure that our employees return home safely night after night. This requires focus, dedication, vigilance – and your help!

Deadly Distractions

While our members are always a top priority, when our crews are working, we ask that you keep a safe distance and allow them to focus on the task at hand. Even routine work has the potential to be dangerous. Safely maneuvering equipment and performing tasks, whether big or small, requires the complete attention of all crew members. Distractions can have serious, and possibly fatal consequences. A lineworker may be on or near your property to assess and restore power during an outage, to perform routine maintenance or to complete right-of-way work. Regardless of their task, if you spot a lineworker, please allow them ample room to work, and save questions or conversations until they are safely on the ground and free from distractions. These simple accommodations help to not only protect our crews, but they protect you and your loved ones, as well.

Our crews work best without a pet “supervising” the job. If you have a pet, we ask that you do your best to keep it indoors or in a contained area while lineworkers are present. Not only can they pose as a serious distraction, but some pets may act out in a defensive, territorial nature.

Be Aware

For the safety of you and your family, we always encourage members to confirm the identity of a worker, the associated company and the reason for a visit to your property. Authorized workers, in any industry, will be able to provide you with job details, an ID badge, business card, and/or other resources to put your mind at ease. You will most commonly recognize MEC employees by their branded service vehicle, which currently features a yellow stripe and our logo. Lineworkers will be wearing MEC attire and be readily able to present a photo ID card to you upon request. You may also recognize our lineworkers, as many of them are community members like you!

Slow Down

In addition to giving lineworkers their space when they are on or near your property, we ask that you do the same on busy roadways. It’s a daily occurrence that our lineworkers complete jobs alongside busy streets and highways. If you are approaching a utility vehicle on the side of the road, we ask that you slow down and change lanes. By simply doing these two things, you set an example for other drivers, add a barrier of safety between your car and the lineworker(s) and ultimately help to protect our hardworking employees.