Why You Should Thank a Lineman
1. Lineworkers developed America
The lineworker profession dates back to 1840 with the invention of the telegraph. To increase long-distance communication, lines were originally installed on trees and later poles were built. In 1870, linemen built poles for lines with the invention of the telephone. In 1891 The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers formed. The IBEW is one of the 10 biggest unions in the nation with more than 700,000 members. At its highest, the union had more than 1 million members. The 1900s brought more electrical enhancements making line workers an important job although, the industry lacked training and the safety equipment it needed and the job quickly became very dangerous.
2. Our society is dependent on linemen
According to Edison International, there are 170 million wood poles and 9 million miles of wire in service across the United States. Flash floods, rain, wind, snow take a toll on our electrical poles. Utility poles need to be maintained every 25 years.
3. Linemen run toward the storm
As most evacuate for storms, linemen come from all over the united states to repair damages after natural disasters. After the immediate danger from the storm has passed, linemen start assessing damages, making repairs, and doing their best to restore power for everyone affected.
4. One of the most dangerous jobs
Numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put electrical lineworkers among the top ten most dangerous jobs in the United States. Linemen risk falls, electric shocks, burns, and other injuries while on the job every day. When the lineworker job was born in the 1800’s, safety equipment, training, and testing standards have revolutionized the job. Linemen are now required to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) on the line. Even with enhanced safety protocol linework is still ranks in the top 10 most dangerous careers.
Common protective items include:
- Rubber gloves
- Rubber sleeves
- Flame Resistant (FR) and/or Arc Flash protective clothing. Learn the difference between AR and FR clothing?
- Bucket liners
- Harnesses and fall protection
- Climbing belts
- Hot line tools
- Grounding cables
These items are required to meet the highest safety standards in the industry.
5. Linemen are dedicated
Linework is physically and mentally taxing. Work needs to get done no matter the weather conditions or the time day or night. Climbing poles and restoring power is no easy task, especially while looking out for your safety and your crew members. Linemen work long hours with minimal days off and It takes dedication and hard work. We talk about essential workers often these days and we continue to overlook the men and women who keep us connected and respond when no one else wants to. Every lineman deserves our thanks and recognition for the hard work they do every day.