What do safety rules mean to the organization? To the worker? Does having a safety rule mean it has to be followed 100 percent of the time, part of the time or not at all? Most employers and employees would say 100 percent of the time. So why do safety rules and actual work practices not match up every single time? Is the rule not known or not understood, does it not fit the application or has it always been done that way?
No matter what time of year you are operating your utility truck, there are always best practices to follow for safe setup, operation and transportation. Particularly in colder weather when temperatures drop below freezing and stay there for an extended period of time, there are some specific things you need to keep in mind in order to keep your truck running and your crews productive.
Alliant Energy (AE) management and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union personnel began looking at the 100 percent fall protection issue about four years ago. AE is comprised of two utilities: Wisconsin Power and Light (WPL) and Iowa Power and Light (IPL). Union workers are represented by five IBEW locals. Internal statistics regarding falls during climbs on wood poles showed numbers in the teens over the last few years and a trend of near misses and minor injuries.
All-terrain vehicles, also known as ATVs, have a long-standing reputation for being unsafe and dangerous for riders and passengers. Operational injury statistics are staggering, averaging well over a half-million injuries in the U.S. since 2004. Although many injuries are linked to recreational use, ATVs in the workplace are expanding in a variety of industries, thus increasing the risk of job-related injury.
Many questions arise in the minds of electrical workers when the discussion turns to safely operating high-voltage, gang-operated disconnect switches while standing on the ground. These questions often include:
• Should the steel operating rod connecting the switch handle to the switch have an insulator (insulated insert)?
• Should the switch handle and operating rod be grounded to a ground rod?
• Should I wear rated rubber gloves?
• Should I be standing on a ground mat?
Rubber insulating line hose (RILH) is a portable safety device designed to cover exposed energized power lines and protect workers from incidental contact. Insulating line hose comes in various configurations and shapes. Its purpose is to completely cover line or equipment to which it is applied.
A tree falls through a 7.2 kV, single-phase, overhead lateral, taking the tree, the phase conductor and common neutral to the ground. The electric utility sends a crew of qualified electrical workers to the site to re-install the overhead conductors.
The crew first goes to the upstream protective device (the cutout) protecting the lateral; let’s say it is Switch #1234. The crew will most likely find the cutout door open and the fuse blown. If the utility has a system operator on duty, the designated employee (normally the lead worker of the crew) will request permission from the system operator to open the upstream cutout, if it is not already open, and request a clearance from Switch #1234 to the end of the line.
Although insulated tools are designed and tested to protect the electrical worker, dirt and other contaminants can greatly reduce the protection of live-line tools. Following is an overview of care to keep your equipment in good working condition.
As we are in the midst of summer storm season, many hazards are encountered during storm restoration. One hazard that randomly reveals itself is a fall due to a wooden pole breaking under the lineman’s weight. Of course, “good” wooden poles don’t break; the area of concern is the wooden pole that has reached the end of its life cycle due to decay. But how do you know if a pole is safe to climb?
With the summer upon us, one concern that always seems to sneak up on workers during high heat periods are heat-related illnesses. Working in a hot, humid environment can be difficult or even fatal if you ignore the signs and symptoms of heat-related disorders.