Can you imagine working a job that requires you to lift heavy equipment and perform detailed tasks near deadly high voltage? Now imagine doing this 40 feet in the air, and sometimes, in extreme weather. This is the life of a lineman.
These brave individuals answer when called – and they do so to ensure that you are provided with safe, reliable electric service. But how do they stay safe when working in these conditions? Boone REMC linemen are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at all times when on the job to keep them safe.
Fire resistant (FR) clothing: While our linemen do everything possible to prevent them, unexpected fires can happen. Fires typically occur with an arc flash – an explosion that results from a low-impedance connection to a ground phase in an electrical system. FR clothing will self-extinguish, thus limiting injury due to burn.
Insulated gloves and sleeves: Linemen must wear insulated rubber gloves and sleeves when working on any type of electrical line. They provide protection against electrical shock and burn, and are tested at 30,000 volts. Protective gloves, usually made of leather, are worn over the insulated gloves to protect the rubber from punctures and cuts.
Hard hat: Insulated hard hats protect linemen from blows and falling objects.
Composite toe boots: These heavy-duty boots are typically 16 inches tall and designed with extra support in mind. The height of the boot protects linemen from gouges, and serrated heels provide a better grip when climbing poles. The composite toe provides sturdier support and protects from objects that could potentially pierce the feet.
Safety glasses and face shields: Linemen must wear protective glasses, whether working on electrical lines or clearing rights-of-way. Glasses and face shields protect them from loose debris and other hazards.
The next time you see linemen, be sure to say thank you for the work they do to keep the lights on.