Linemen put their lives on the line

Published 9:06 pm Monday, June 3, 2019

Even when the sun is high in the sky, the linemen of Troy Utilities and all across America are still putting their lives on the line.

“Electricity is unforgiving,” said Brian Chandler, manager of Troy Utilities. “It’s always hunting a path to ground, whether that’s through a pole, a bird, a squirrel or a human being. Electricity takes all paths to ground.”

The City of Troy celebrated lineman Monday as part of Alabama Linemen Appreciation Day, providing lunch to the crews and recognizing the work they do.

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Working as an electrical lineman is considered one of the top 10 deadliest jobs in America, Chandler said.

“About 99 percent of the time, the lines they are working on are still energized,” Chandler said. “That’s 12,470 volts of power that they put hands on almost every day, for hours a day.”

Of course, the city provides all the gear to keep linemen as safe as possible from rubber gloves to insulated bucket trucks. There are no minor accidents when working with power lines, Chandler said.

“An electrical shock or burn is devastating to the human body,” Chandler said. “Most people are killed, but if they do survive, they usually use one or multiple limbs. Not only does the shock damage or stop the heart, there is significant tissue damage that is very difficult to recover from. Safety is something we stress on a daily basis.”

Chandler said it can be easy to forget the linemen that are out working every day though when the weather is good and the lights are on.

“They’re out there in all weathers, temperatures, weekends, holidays – whenever there’s a need, they’re out there working,” Chandler said. “A lot of the situations they’re out in are similar to first responders, so there’s always danger.”