FirstEnergy Utilities Deploy New Safety Devices that Offer a ‘Sixth Sense’ to Line Workers, Field Personnel

Lineworker voltage reader

More than 12,000 FirstEnergy employees show up to work each day to ensure power is delivered safely and efficiently to more than six million customers across its six-state service area. They are husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends that share a common goal of returning home to their loved ones each night. That’s why in addition to launching its new "Stop. Look. Live." safety campaign to educate the public about staying safe around electricity and near power lines and equipment, FirstEnergy is taking extra steps to keep its field employees safe, too. 

The company has armed line workers and utility personnel with new, wearable safety devices that provide them with an extra layer of defense against hidden electrical threats in the field. The personal voltage and current detectors attach to the brim of any standard hard hat to provide audio and visual alerts when the wearer gets close to an electrical hazard. 

Unlike other personal voltage readers FirstEnergy employees have used in the past, this device issues a series of alerts like flashing lights, sounds and directional information to let workers know they are approaching energized electrical equipment. This extra layer of personal protective equipment (PPE) will be particularly useful in storm situations, when unseen power lines could be entangled in tree debris, or when utility workers are providing mutual assistance in unfamiliar service territories. 

“Safety is a core value at FirstEnergy, and this device essentially provides a sixth sense to employees who work around electricity so that they can safely deliver the power our customers depend on each day,” said Laura Redenshek, director of safety for FirstEnergy Utilities. “It will help our field employees reduce their exposure to potential electrical threats that could be hidden in storm debris and dark areas.”

FirstEnergy purchased 10,000 of these devices earlier this year for line workers, substation electricians, engineers, hazard responders and any other employee who works around live electricity in the field. They will be used in addition to the PPE utility workers are currently using and will not replace any of the in-depth safety training workers complete annually.

The new voltage readers were recently rolled out by FirstEnergy’s Ohio electric companies (Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company and Toledo Edison), the Pennsylvania Power Company (Penn Power), West Penn Power and Potomac Edison. The company plans to implement this user-friendly device across its entire service area by the end of the year as more employees are trained to use it.

For more information about what you and your loved ones can do to stay safe around electricity, please visit www.firstenergycorp.com/publicsafety. You can also view electrical safety tips or join in on the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #StopLookLive.

 

CONTACT: Lauren Siburkis, 330-203-8850

Last Modified: October 7, 2020