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The Profession of a Lineman: Pros and Cons

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People don’t know electricity can kill them, so many people die from electricity. Anyone can take simple safety precautions when being around and working with electricity. That can reduce the risks of injury or death from electricity and electrical equipment, there are a lot of ways to protect workers and, the general public. Some injuries people can get from electricity and electric current are electric shock burns from live parts of the body. Also make sure that the person is careful when workers are working near or underneath overhead-power lines. Electricity from the power lines can shoot down by the equipment machinery, or near electronic devices that don’t even touch the poles. When working around a lot of power lines, or under them with scaffolds, ladders, cranes, and long metal objects. When working with electricity people need to be safe around the surroundings as well as the co-workers, but hopefully many co-workers know how to work with the equipment correctly. While working the workers need people to watch out for loose wires; long frayed wires, and any other equipment that can possibly kill or injure the co-workers.

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Anyone working with electricity has good enough skills, knowledge, and experience to do so. Wrongly wiring a pole can be dangerous and lead to deadly accidents or power outages or fires. If the equipment looks damaged or possibly faulty, tell the main boss immediately if it appears to be not working correctly. Have it checked by a professional, or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration). All of the any electrical equipment brought to work by workers, or any hired or borrowed, is good for use before using it, and remains good by being maintained as necessary. Users of electrical equipment including portable appliances, that should carry out visual checks. Remove the equipment from use immediately and check the problem, repair it or replace the problem with a new part if is faulty.

Overhead lines are usually not insulated, but they have weathering protection or other kinds of materials to protect the wire for many years. Lineman safety is a big deal around OSHA, and it’s to protect their lives. However if a lineman doesn’t ground it right it is better off to stay in vehicles, or lineman equipment. Ground personnel are over eight times more likely to be killed than a pedestrian. If people are working on overhead power lines and they touch the power line, or it breaks and hits the ground better stay in the vehicle, or machinery also make sure to warn other workers. Tell any personnel to stay away, and get help also notify the company of the power lines so that they can shut it off so they can get it out of the power lines.

All these safety precautions are for people who work around it all the time including indoor appliances and outdoor; extension cords could be spliced or badly cut from things dropping on it. Cutting something could have hit the cord; doors, hinges, staples, or fastenings all those things can cause shock, fire, and burns. Be cautious when working with electricity always check the electricity to see if it’s grounded so if someone accidentally touches the hot wire, it has a less possibility to kill them. Some ways to save someone getting shocked is to shut all the power off, or run at the person, and tackle them to get them unstuck from the wire. When a short, or lightning occurs, energy flows to the ground,always wear the protective gear o that it can protect them from electrical shock, injury, and death. Some things that could be hazards to workers, or just people who work for themselves that plug-in tools improperly and can ground circuits that may become energized.

A broken wire, or plug-in extension cord. Some of the most frequently violated OSHA standards. To prevent any electrical hazards, have the power tools check for shortages, or problems. Have the right tool for the job also check that the tool is insulated. Some ways of electrical hazards happen is that the wire is insulated and the insulation falls off or gets worn out in that area and it gets very hot that it starts to ground with foreign materials and it can’t send the electricity to the hot wire and causes whatever it is touching the cord to shock him or herself and get injured so that’s why it is always good to check for things like that. Many linemen have a lot of dangers that most normal electricians have, and linemen have more when it comes to working in storms and blizzards, but they also make a lot of money being out there fixing poles. Some of the dangers to linemen are high-voltage contact, working at heights, worked in confined areas, challenging weather conditions, work-safety, welding, cutting, and burning. Depending on their career experience, line workers tend to be divided into one of three groups: beginners, survivors and “cowboys”.

The beginners, usually in their twenties, might be enrolled in a job where people learn things for the program, or are recent graduates of a training school. The survivors have gained wisdom with age. They’re usually fifty or older, and often have leadership roles. Trouble seems to find the “cowboys”. They tend to be climbers, usually in their thirties and forties, and too often they tune out safety talks because they think they will be fine, or they are under tight deadline pressure to do more with less. No one understands the amazing force of nature more than a lineman working in the harsh winter conditions. Just like a fireman running into a burning house and people running out, a lineman is called out into serious winter storms and other very dangerous situations like extreme cold when others are advise to stay inside.

To help keep the lineman safe, in the winter season with a cold weather briefing. In the truck, inspections are mandatory because everything needs to be able to withstand the weather conditions, always have chains on the truck, have the tires aired up, have the brakes checked, have the antifreeze checked, batteries are full, defrosters are all in good shape, other things are looked over in the warmer months. When a lineman goes out in the colder months they are always supposed to have a first aid kit on them at all times, but they need supplies such as food, water, jumper cables, flares, trail mix, etc.

Type of clothing lineman wear, and other things that they wear, for starters they usually wear fleece to keep the lineman warm when it’s cold, but for linemen, throwing on extra layers of clothing, or jackets is nice. Nowadays many people have the latest high-tech clothing isn’t as simple as it sounds. OSHA’s new standards require employers to ensure employees are warm and safe as much as possible. Lineworkers always make safety a top priority, especially when working in potentially dangerous conditions. Linemen are a special breed of men. Potential danger in every corner and a bolt of electricity in every wire linemen are very brave people because one shock of that electricity, or a mistake can lead a lot of other people into danger. The women who choose to marry a wonderful linemen are mostly independent and run the house by themselves. Linemen are always moving to where they need to work because not every power lines are going to need fixed in one county.

Linemen work isn’t always dangerous, but when traveling to where they need to work could be vehicle accidents and other types of problems like tire falls off or if engines blows up and a lot of other things could happen. When linemen work in the big cities they run into risks of being shot, or if someone is driving and doesn’t see where their going and hits the bucket or truck their in and the linemen is in the bucket and it pushed into the power line, that would not be a good day for anybody.

A lot of energy sources that include electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic, chemical, thermal, or many other equiptment other in equipment and machines can be hazardous to workers. During the servicing of the equipment there always can be problems, the unexpected startup or release of stored energy can end up in various injury or death to workers. The workers servicing the equipment and maintaining machines may be severely injured or killed if hazardous energy is not controlled properly. Injuries resulting from the failure to control hazardous electricity during maintenance activities can be serious or fatal! Injuries might consist of electrocution, burns, crushing, cutting, lacerating, amputating, or fracturing body parts, and others. Not being aware and taking control of hazardous energy accounts for nearly 10 percent of the serious accidents in many industries.

Proper lockout/tagout (LOTO) practices and procedures safeguard workers from hazardous electricity releases. All employees who are allowed to the lockout machines or equipment and perform the service and maintenance operations need to be certified in recognition of applicable hazardous electricity sources in the workplace, the type and velocity of energy found in or on the job. There are many methods of isolating and/or controlling the electricity. Anyone who had ever climbed a power pole or opened a switch has experience an knows safety. All linemen wear rubber gloves to protect from burns and electricity, hard hats and steel-toed boots.

Apprentices learn the correct way to do the work. These safety values and skills are absorbed as hundreds of long hours are utilized when working alongside journeymen, linemen in storms, on night calls, and in overdoing maintenance and late night assignments. When linemen top out as journeymen, they are trained, skilled and knowledgeable to do their work safely. They know the right way to perform each and every job. Linemen are physically fit and mentally tough, too. They spend their days in all types of conditions, from extreme heat to sleet and snow, and from hot dry pavement to wet and slippery mud. If push comes to shove, they can hoist a 50-kVA tub with a couple of men and a set of blocks. The question remains: Why do men and women in the line trade still get hurt and unfortunately even killed? Reflecting on anyones career and incidents that I had witnessed as a journeyman lineman, a supervisor and safety professional for a Midwestern utility, many found a pattern. I discovered a space between what we know is right and the choice we sometimes make.

Unfortunately, these choices sometimes lead to mistakes, incidents and injuries. The following are five keys to managing the space between to ensure him and her coworkers go home safe each day. While back my mentor told me a story, that one of his buddys was in the air drilling holes to frame a pole. A strong wind blew wood chips right into his face. Although he called for eye protection, which was in the truck bin, he continued drilling, using his hand as a shield instead. The crew spent the rest of the afternoon in the emergency room flushing his eyes. My mentor said that linemen know anything, it’s how to improvise, which can be both a strength and a weakness. Improvising with tools, or stopping short of using the right tool for the job, leads to incidents and injury. It’s just a matter of time.

A lot of linemen work around high-voltage lines, dangerous heights and extreme hazards, yet sometimes fall into the trap of thinking they’re immune to injury. By taking shortcuts, however, linemen can put their lives on the line. Following the basic safety rules will help linemen protect themselves and their co-workers in the field and make the line trade a safer occupation for everyone. Journeymen, linemen are workers who build and maintain electrical power systems. They always do all the work from the point of generation (power plants) all the way to the customer’s meter. The lines may be on overhead structures all the way up to 300′ or in underground vaults or trenches. They may be in rural and metropolitan areas.

Linemen also do work on traffic signals and street lights. The work is varied and exciting. The duties of an outside lineman are to work on the telephone poles and power lines. Tasks that they do within each of the duties are included in the job interviews if they are performed by at least 10 percent of the journeymen surveyed. Tasks are described as daily, weekly, monthly, or occasionally based upon the responses of a majority of journeymen in the field. Linemen are always busy with work. Strong individuals with there schooling the have linemen always climbing poles in certain times and half to stand on top of the pole. Then climb back down the pole. They have a lot of differents types of practices they run threw so that they are in shape and prepared for the worst. When they cann’t climb they use the bucket trucks. When the need to climb because the pole is to tall they climb because they never know whether or not that the pole is secure. Worn out and busted telephone poles are beat to crap they examine the pole and make sure that they can climb or use the bucket. They always have everything they need to make sure they do the best job so everyone has power. Anytime you are curious of how linemen work or what kind of gear or equipment they use look up lineman and I’m sure that they have a lot of things to choose from. Linemen who works on outside requires toughness and grit.

Climbing even the highest power pole outside on a windy day can be a little scary to the lineman. Outside electrical towers and poles during any seasons and weather is required to get the job done. At times power lines fail or fall over or somebody hits them or become inoperable due to bad weather and storms. This is when the outside electrical industry performs critical duties. To get power back on for everyone in the nearby houses. The lineman profession had began in the 1870s, with the telegraph invention. Power lines used to be hung on trees and then eventually power poles, to allow longer distance communication Lineman were able to help hang telephone poles across our nation and states after states lineman were putting poles up and every road linemen worked on. It is shocking to imagine the thousands of telephone poles that exist and the number of big trees that have been cut down to make those poles. There are altogether 180 million wood utility poles in service in the US.

As the use of electricity increased in the early 1900s, more linemen were needed to connect communities to the growing power grid. As a profession, the industry was considered to be highly dangerous, as there were limited opportunities for training. As the demand for electricity increased through the 1930s to the 2000s linemen were known to travel from city to city, working long hours making good money, and returning home between jobs. With time, the safety and demands on the job began to evolve. Grew to be a much bigger thing than it has been since the 1970s.

Career options also include specialization in areas like nuclear and hydro power, alternative energy sources, and possibly research into new power supply concepts. This is a potentially fascinating professional role in the advancement of the technology field that demands bigger, better, and more efficient power supplies dominates the energy market. Linemen work in a recession-proof industry. As long as the current electrical system exists, there will be a need for linemen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the industry will grow by 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, which is an average growth rate.

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The evolution of linemen has drastically changed through years and years of new equipment and technology to make stuff run faster run longer and easier but not always easier. Linemen have a lot of obstacles to work with in there line of duty.

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