Training involves more than just learning how to handle a product. This issue of Utility Products brings you an informative feature article by contributing editor Paul Hull, "Understanding: There's more to training than learning how to hold a hammer." Hull addresses how training is not simply a course to handle tools and equipment; utilities are service businesses, and managing customers is an equally important aspect of training. Tool or equipment training can be made more interesting if the students understand why the equipment was bought and why it will replace similar tools. And, learning how to deal with customers and coworkers is an ongoing part of training for all levels of utility employees.
Another feature article is "Reducing the Risk: Fiberglass Crossarms Used to Combat Utility Pole Fires," by Amber Reed. The risk of pole top fires is one of the most dangerous issues the utility industry faces. And, the risk of fire can depend on the type of material used in the pole's construction. Reed discusses how some utility companies have added fiberglass crossarms to their electric transmission and distribution infrastructure to reduce the risk.
And you won't want to miss our "Storm Damage POWER PICS" online photo contest winners. Utility Products' readers submitted pictures of storm damage, and our first and second place winners are showcased.
This issue also brings you several great product focus articles. In Mike Outmesguine's article, "Electronic Testing Hand Tools Make Utility Worker's Jobs Easier, Faster," how electronic test equipment is as important as hand tools is addressed. Electronics that were formerly hard to use, bulky and fragile have evolved to become much more indispensable on the job site. Outmesguine reviews the time domain reflectometer and how it has transformed into a hand-held, automated tool that makes workers' jobs safer and easier.
In "Digitize Safety for a Foolproof System" by Alina Libkind, how more utilities are practicing digital safety management is presented. Libkind outlines how, from fall protection and sling inspections to lockout/tagout and switching procedures, technology is improving ways to manage safety and compliance.
Another great article, "Which One of These Ground Sets Failed" by Matt Dell, discusses how selecting the correct equipment for the job and keeping groundsets maintained and in safe working order is critical. Lines can become energized by lightning, human error, static electricity, induced voltage and backfeed, and the proper equipment selection and care of groundsets is necessary to ensure safe working conditions in the field.
As the electric utility industry has evolved, tools have improved to make work safer and more cost efficient. In the article, "Employee Driven Innovations Through Outside-the-Box Thinking," how the Hot Line Base Plate facilitates construction, restoration and maintenance on energized transmission lines is addressed. Advantages are presented that include reduction in outage time, overall reduced cost and enhanced process.
And Dale Mickle's article, "Screener Crusher Processor Attachment Turns Heads on Windmill Farm," reviews how The Morse Group, an electrical contracting company, uncovered an opportunity to save time and reduce costs during a construction project that involved installation of direct-burial, high-voltage underground cables. Because of last-minute changes, the company discovered an unexpected way to backfill while separating the good soil from the rock with the hydraulically-driven ALLU line of screener crusher processor attachments-completing the job on schedule and to everyone's satisfaction.