Being a lineman is a hard, dangerous job. The vast majority of the work occurs outside, in the extreme heat of summer, and freezing cold of winter. Working on electric lines requires climbing tall poles, or using the booms on utility trucks to reach the lines. Dealing with heights is not the greatest danger as most city power lines have over 7,200 volts flowing through them. Due to the high voltage, it only takes a split second loss of concentration to be injured or electrocuted which unfortunately happens each year to linemen across the United States.
Because of this possibility, HES linemen are required by OSHA to perform an annual training exercise called “Pole top rescue”. This exercise simulates a lineman having an electrical contact injury and becoming unconscious at the top of a pole. The exercise begins with a 150 lb. dummy secured to the top of a pole by a safety harness. Each lineman is required to climb the pole using only spikes attached to their boots, and a safety harness that goes around the pole. Once they reach the dummy, they are required to secure a rope around the dummy’s chest, loop the rope over a cross arm, then lower the dummy to the ground. They then have to descend the pole, obtain the AED (automated external defibrillator) from the truck, attach the leads to the dummy’s chest, then deliver shocks if instructed, and perform CPR. All of this has to be done as quickly as possible, as an injured lineman’s life may hang in the balance.
HES linemen take pride in their profession and the essential job they perform. Anytime the power goes off to even one customer, they respond quickly, knowing the importance electricity plays in the lives of our customers. But this dedication to keeping the power on also requires extreme diligence to perform the work safely. HES is proud of its linemen, and the important work they do each day to keep the city of Hopkinsville and its citizens supplied with the safe, reliable and affordable electricity. If you know a lineman, or a lineman’s family member, next time you see them, take a minute to thank them for the work they do to keep the power on!