Horrendous lineman injuries and even deaths often grab the headlines.
Transmission and distribution professionals understand the risks they are taking; high voltage, extreme heights, working in the ice and high heats. However, every day more minor injuries that still dramatically slow down a crews efficiency and can put a lineman out of a job still occur.
A torn labrum, a herniated disc, a torn patellar tendon... at first these may just seem like the cost of doing business. Lineman put incredible stress on their bodies on the job. We are often carrying heavy loads, making repetitive and odd motions at awkward and muscle stretching angles.
What are the things that can be done to prevent some of these serious injuries to a lineman's body?
Workplace injury prevention for lineman jobs
Every employer would agree they want improve workplace safety and decrease the number of OSHA claims, however in the utility sector the solution isn't always super clear.
For lineman on the job proper positioning is critical. This is key at any type of work station for T&D crews. Making sure you have the flexibility is critical. Going back to the basics, courtesy of good resources like Pole Climbing Basics, we learned in our apprenticeships are critical.
There have been thousands of linemen in this trade of different physical statures and abilities. It has been my experience that the bigger linemen (Over 6’1” and 200 lbs) tend to use their natural strength and larger bodies to muscle their work.
Time and time again I have seen strong, young apprentices and journeymen blow out knees, shoulders and elbows because of poor body position and relying on their biceps rather than their heads.
When you are standing on a pole perform this test: lean out to one side, place your hand on your quadriceps (thigh) muscle of the leg supporting your body.
If you cannot move the muscle freely then chances are your knee is slightly bent and the quad muscle is flexing to support your body weight, or your leg is hyper-extended and the result is the same.
This will cause your leg to fatigue and tire you out. The support should rest squarely on the skeletal system, reducing muscle fatigue.
Spotlight on Briotix Health
Briotix Health is an industrial sports medicine group. Their team is working to help athletes preserve their health and confidence in the field, so that they – and their employers – can enjoy long-term success.
A comprehensive workplace injury prevention program can have a big impact on both employee wellness and the company’s bottom line.
Some of the key points Briotix has been successful in implementing across the utility sector includes:
Early Symptom Intervention: A service emphasizing early detection of discomfort and physical strain. Tactics are personalized to each employee and focus on job coaching.
Industrial Athlete Coaching: A service designed to prevent the progression of physical issues and erosion in productivity. This is accomplished through group bio-mechanical intervention support with physical conditioning, and manual material handling best practice coaching.
Return-to-Work Job Coaching – A service designed to incorporate specific work function treatment into rehabilitation to ensure functional restoration is baked into the process and delivers optimal results. Employees are engaged at the point of risk or injury to uncover behavioral habits that may impair recovery or drive occupational injuries in the first place.
Check out Briotix Health with specific solutions for transmission and distribution crews
The Working Athlete is the individual that understands their body is their livelihood. This requires an investment of time and injury prevention through physical conditioning.
The Briotix health team has experience supporting nuclear power plants to wind turbine technicians but we thought it was particularly important to spotlight their work as we enter another busy season of repairs. Line work is incredibly taxing on the body, consider taking the first step on injury prevention today.