On Monday, April 8, National Lineman Appreciation Day, your electric cooperative honors the employees who keep the lights on. You see them stationed in the sky, in the partial enclosure of a truck’s bucket, working diligently to maintain lines and restore power after a storm. What may not be evident from the ground, though, is all the equipment a lineworker needs to do his or her job safely. A lineman’s personal protective equipment includes:
- Fire-resistant clothing that self-extinguishes, limiting injuries from burns.
- Insulated rubber gloves, often worn with a pair of leather gloves over them to prevent punctures to the rubber beneath.
- Insulated hard hats worn at all times for protection from falling objects.
- Steel-toe boots that prevent gouges.
- Safety goggles that protect against loose debris and other hazards when working on electric lines and rights-of-way.
Linemen also may wear equipment belts, tool pouches, safety straps and other equipment. Those additional items usually weigh about 50 pounds altogether, a heavy burden while negotiating hazardous conditions 40 feet in the air, surrounded by dangerously high voltage.
A less obvious component of the lineworker’s experience is all the time and training that goes into preparing for the job. Classroom training programs last a few months, followed by intensive, yearslong apprenticeships that continue training on the job, ensuring that journeyman linemen are ultimately experts at what they do.
Next time you see a lineworker, be sure to thank him or her for their time and dedication in honing this vital skill, along with their selfless application of it in service to our community. Our lives would be pretty dim without them!