Author: Ronald J. Schenk, CUSP

Our mission is to advocate for safety and health in the powerline construction and maintenance industry by: Researching and developing, safety, training and health standards Educating, training and assessing skills Defining best practices Auditing programs and advising management Advising regulatory agencies
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Evaluating Crew Supervisors

Do your crew supervisors know what they should know about effectively managing a group of lineworkers to construct and maintain high-voltage power line systems? Often we find out the answer to this question too late. We made too many assumptions early on and the crew supervisor has now failed – possibly in a big way. If we had only realized what this supervisor didn’t know before he took on all these responsibilities, maybe we could have prevented these problems. Sound familiar? We hire people and promote our folks into supervisory positions with the best of intentions. When companies grow,...

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Effective Customer Relationships for Crew Leaders

In iP’s earlier installments of the Supervisory Series (April 2011, June 2011, August 2011, October 2011 and December 2011), we discussed the importance of career development for lineworkers targeted for supervisory responsibilities. We also discussed the supervisory skills required to be effective as a crew leader or foreman, including a full article on human behavior and communication skills. Installments 4 and 5 dealt with crew best practices and safety management, respectively. In this installment, we will discuss the foreman’s role in customer relationships. The Operations Department has...

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T&D Safety Management for Crew Leaders

In iP’s earlier installments of the Supervisory Series (April 2011, June 2011, August 2011 and October 2011), we discussed the importance of career development for lineworkers targeted for supervisory responsibilities. We also considered the supervisory skills required to be effective as a crew leader or foreman, including a full article on human behavior and communication skills. In the last issue we dealt with the concept of crew best practices. In this installment, we will focus more on crew practices, specifically those concerning crew safety management. Safety Attitudes and the Corporate...

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T&D Best Practices for Crew Leaders

In iP’s earlier installments of the Supervisory Series (April 2011, June 2011 and August 2011), we discussed the importance of career development for lineworkers targeted for supervisory responsibilities. We also discussed the supervisory skills required to be effective as a crew leader or foreman, including a full article on human behavior and communication skills. In this installment, we will discuss a concept of fieldwork known as best practices. As you will see, it is not enough that the foreman be effective as a personnel supervisor. It is just as important to understand the work practices...

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Human Behavior and Communication Skills for Crew Leaders

In iP’s earlier installments of the Supervisory Series (April 2011 and June 2011), we discussed the importance of career development for lineworkers targeted for supervisory responsibilities, as well as the supervisory skills required to be effective as a crew leader or foreman. In this installment, we will discuss one additional set of supervisory skills that are possibly the most critical for the new supervisor: human behavior and communication. Human BehaviorWhy do people do what they do? Is human behavior predictable? Human behavior, and people in general, are so complex; could there be...

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Supervisory Skills for Crew Leaders

In iP’s first installment of the Supervisory Series (April 2011), we discussed how many organizations react when they are in sudden need of a crew foreman. Most have no career development plans for their lineworkers and have not taken the time to adequately prepare qualified crew members to move into a supervisory position. A quick decision is made out of desperation to promote the best employee we can find at the moment. Unfortunately, with good intentions, we often set up our best employees to fail this way because they have not been properly prepared for their new responsibilities.   The...

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Crew Foreman Needed: Who Do We Pick?

It happens all too often. We need a foreman as soon as possible. The crew leader position is vacant for any number of reasons – often suddenly – and we need someone now. A powerline crew can possibly continue to work minus a groundman, helper or apprentice. Depending on the crew configuration and work assignments, we may even get by a few days without a lineman. But to be without a foreman is usually grounds for shutting down the crew. If we’re lucky, maybe an operations manager can fill in temporarily, but the crew foreman’s position must be filled sooner rather than later. Limited...

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