Utility Linemen - Essential Workers
When thinking about emergency workers and first responders, linemen may not be top of mind, but they are necessary to keep other responders functioning with the electricity they need to perform their jobs.
When disaster strikes, linemen are some of the first on the scene to circumvent hazards and make sure essential providers and critical infrastructure stay connected or get connected to power so they can help those in need.
During disasters such as storm restoration, outages, or public emergencies, linemen can work up to 16 hr shifts for weeks and even months. Linemen do not take days off until all the lines are back up and the power is back on.
Linemen risk electric shocks, burns from fires and explosions, fall injuries, and more while on the job. Dangers can include working in confined spaces, overuse injuries, and environmental stress. This is especially true when performing disaster work.
Some ways to mitigate these risks include
- Staying aware of your surroundings. When performing linework, even a small oversight can lead to an accident. Be aware of the equipment and tools around you.
- Wear proper safety equipment. In the event of an incident, your shirt, pants, helmet, gloves, and shoes can be the difference between injury vs. disablement or life vs. death.
- Don’t rush. Many accidents occur because workers try to rush a job. Take the time to utilize safety equipment and PPE correctly. Improper usage can render safety measures useless.
When it comes to hazards and safety on the job, there are many things you cannot control. However, you can control the safety measures taken for your safety and the safety of those around you. Stay diligent & inform others when you see a hazard.
Learn more about linemen safety, review OSHA’s Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution Industry safety guidelines.