Updated: Jan 27, 2022
Overhead line workers keep our country's power going. The job of an electric lineman whether working on an energized power line or replacing a transformer or a fuse cutout is inherently risky and dangerous. Because of this, these brave individuals should take every precaution to complete their work safely and effectively. Traditionally, linemen have relied on personal protective equipment such as rubber gloves and sleeves, bucket liners, and protective blankets to ensure their safety.
These days, state of the art technologies such as tablets and drones are also helping to create not only a safer working environment, but improving productivity and efficiency for linemen in the field. Our heroes work in a disturbance of the atmosphere marked by wind and usually by rain, snow or thunder and lightning.
When a disaster hits, we're very quick to praise our first responders, the police, fire rescue crews, emergency management professionals and even healthcare workers that'll keep us safe. There's one team of heroes that I think are somewhat overlooked. And that's the electrical linemen who work to restore the vital services, like electricity and internet and phone service to homes and businesses.
Lineman respond to disasters
Lineman step up to the challenge. During normal time of year they might quietly go about their work but after a major storm they're like rock stars leaving that street and people are coming out and waving and cheering and offering them food and everything else, to be uplifting and putting in those long hours of that dangerous work.
At the end of the day, it really is about going home. And when they say that, they mean in with all due respect to the industry, you got to watch out for yourself and you got to watch out for your buddy because it is safety. It is about safety. The goal is to get the lights on as quickly as possible. And that was their job, but at the same time they wanted to do it in a safe manner. And they did it over the years and I think linemen today still have that in the forefront of their minds. You know, get the lights back on, and get him on as quickly as possible and efficiently. But at the end of the day, make sure that what you do is done safely and that you get to go home.
Tools and Equipment used in the line trade
A lot of us picture alignments work is very labor intensive. Handling heavy and bulky items, diffusers, wire insulators. Working with wrenches, maybe hydraulic tools. In the beginning industry didn't have the bucket truck technology, But Today, industry had a double bucket, its old birthday, and it was better. Over the years, the technology and bucket trucks really improved, where you could go in and do work on hotlines with the insulated buckets that they have, but also the tools that you could adapt to the bucket, truck, hydraulic tools, gun course, they're all insulated.
If something was to ever happen, electrically to an individual up there, they have safeties practices in place for getting that individual out of that bucket and on the ground, and making sure they're performing CPR and getting that individual and to the getting him the medical or her the medical attention that they need because of an accident that could have occurred and that technology is improved.
New Technology VS Improved Technology:
In a recent discussion with a Wisconsin lineman: "It's not new technology, it is improved technology. In the past the linemen didn’t have safety equipment that is being used today in this day and age. Nowadays, the amount of safety equipment that alignment has to put on before he climbs a pole, or before he gets in a bucket or before he gets on a, on a boom truck to, to dig holes and etc., the equipment that is needed to do work safely, has really increased and at the end of the day, usually the job will require less time, the actual job itself will require less time than the before the tailgate that you have to have, because it's really important that your foreman and the crew that he's over, communicate, and make sure that everybody understands what the job is before them, so that they can do it in a safe manner. And that communication is really important. They call it a tailgate. And before and then afterwards, all the technology, all the safety equipment, it usually takes more time to, to get the job and communicate and get your safety equipment on than it does to actually perform the job. And that that happens more probably more times than not in this day and age."
Linemen serve an indispensable role in our lives. Our society can no longer function without the reliable supply of power, and the increasing electrification of transportation processes.